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Tivoli centers management

Tivoli's new set of systems products allows firms to handle hundreds of thousands of separate electronic devices simultaneously.

IBM systems and network management software unit Tivoli Systems today formally displayed the fruits of a two-year effort to develop a new style of corporate systems administration.

The results--a series of new products called Tivoli Enterprise, formerly code-named Tsunami--are intended to propel the company's network and systems management software into the largest networks of systems and add significant automatic management capabilities through the use of "agent" software technology.

Tivoli has been fighting an often pitched battle with Computer Associates, an enterprise management software competitor that claims its Unicenter suite of tools is the "de facto" standard for the industry. Tivoli executives recently admitted they were losing the battle for the spotlight against CA, but today the company delivered a customer-focused message intended to assuage those confused by the mixed messages in the heated network management software market.

"It's not the classic hype-ware," noted Mark McClain, vice president of marketing for Tivoli. "The software architecture fundamentally changes the nature of large-scale management in the enterprise."

To boost the introduction, Tivoli rolled out a bevy of large customers, including Ford Motor Company and Reuters, to reinforce the notion that the new software--which will ship immediately--is for real.

The so-called Tsunami effort was expected to be delivered this spring, but Tivoli was forced to pull back from its initially rosy launch plans due to the complexities of its new architecture, which, according to company claims, can provide a high degree of automated management for large networks. The difference between current Tivoli software and the announced upgrade revolves around the number of elements that can be managed across a network and the manner in which that administration is done.

With Tivoli Enterprise, the company has delivered a so-called three-tier architecture that includes a server-based back end, a mid-tier gateway to parse management data and operations, and agents that utilize "Tivoli Ready" code that currently ships with equipment from several third parties.

Tivoli executives hinted that the results of a concerted effort to have more third parties--such as operating system software companies and PC makers--include Tivoli code will be announced shortly.

The Tivoli Enterprise tools are available now for the same price structure as the company's previous TME 10 software package--about $75 per client and $2,000 per managed server. Current customers can upgrade to Tivoli Enterprise for free.

Tivoli also formally rolled out help desk-oriented products from the acquisition of Software Artistry late last year.

In conjunction with the launch, Tivoli announced support for other IBM operating systems, such as AS/400 and OS/2. The company also announced that a Year 2000 software module will ship in December so that customers can get a better handle on millennium bug management issues.