IBM announced Infrastructure Management Assessment Services, a new portfolio of services that help customers design a blueprint for simplifying and increasing the efficiency and reliability of their IT operations. Based on IBM's decade of expertise operating hundreds of data centers worldwide, the services help customers develop a framework for their IT operations based on open industry standards that can allow many labor-intensive data center operations to be automated.

To achieve such efficiencies, the services help customers define the technical and business requirements designed to enable improvements in server, storage and network utilization, standardize their computing environment and assess their security needs using automation software and processes perfected by IBM. The assessment services also help customers prepare their IT environments to incorporate such emerging capabilities as automated provisioning, autonomic computing and business systems monitoring.

Since many corporate IT operations remain underutilized, IBM is aggressively pursuing the emerging market opportunity for IT automation tools and services that work to boost the efficiency of corporate IT systems.

"Customers that manage their own data centers have a huge opportunity to re- claim money spent manually directing the hundreds or thousands of computer systems in their enterprise," said Dev Mukherjee, vice president of e-business on demand strategy, IBM Global Services. "By designing an IT framework based on industry standards and proven business processes, customers can substantially increase the efficiency and utilization of their existing IT resources.

"Just as enterprise resource planning and six sigma made company manufacturing and supply chains more efficient and flexible, applying more discipline to a corporate data center can bring similar benefits to a company's overall IT operations," added Mukherjee.

IBM experts provide a detailed assessment of a customer's IT operations, such as helping them map out the steps necessary to automate their existing multi-platform data center; improving the utilization level of servers, storage, networking systems and other IT assets; integrating new resources and managing back office processes to help avoid peak activity periods.

The design of the IT management framework results in a blueprint of specific disciplines that govern the unique characteristics of each customer's data center. IBM experts work with the customer to develop this customized operating plan, which focuses on the key areas most critical in efficiently managing a data center, including:

  • Systems Management: Ongoing operational health checks using proven methods for monitoring system availability across multi-platform IT hardware, software and network resources.
  • Asset Management: Systematic, multi-vendor asset management through consolidated assessment and tracking of hardware and software assets to managing even complex monitoring and usage environments.
  • Change Management: Processes that help decrease risk of IT system downtime.
  • Service Management: Interlock of test, migration and production schedules for smooth integration and transition of new technologies into an existing data center environment.
  • Security Management: Assessment of security strategies, policies, and protocols for deploying security techniques.

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