IBM expands self-healing server plan

The computing behemoth accelerates its effort to make money from its "Eliza" plan to let servers manage themselves, adding the technology into its Global Services division.

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Stephen Shankland
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IBM has accelerated its effort to make money from its "Eliza" plan to let servers manage themselves, adding the technology into its Global Services division.

With the new service, IBM will help customers figure out their computing performance goals, such as response time, then install and configure the appropriate software and hardware to meet the goals, said Irving Wladawsky-Berger, vice president of strategy and technology for IBM's server group.

The services are an extension of the Eliza initiative IBM announced in April, when it vowed to spend billions of dollars on a plan to make servers able to adjust to changing workloads instead of requiring constant human supervision and intervention.

The services won't come cheap, however, with a price between $100,000 and $1 million, depending on how much customization is required and how many systems are involved, said Mike Errity, the IBM Global Services executive in charge of Eliza offerings.

Eventually, the IBM services will become standard products, Wladawsky-Berger said.

"As always happens, first we solve the customer matter as a service, then over time, we'll be able to prototype the technologies and make them part of our software," he said.

Sun Microsystems, one of IBM's chief rivals, argues that IBM's overall approach is flawed for customers while acknowledging it's profitable for Big Blue. IBM thrives on complexity instead of working to create simpler, easier to manage systems, Sun says.

To plan and develop Eliza, IBM is working with software companies BMC Software and Candle, hardware companies Cisco Systems and Nortel Networks, and IBM customers Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank and Terra Lycos.