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IBM's mysterious world of autonomic computing unveiled

Through the years, IBM has put the wood behind various "emerging technology" initiatives -- some with greater effect, and others with lesser effect. While "pervasive computing" has yet to set the world on fire, other efforts have had an impact. Notably, Java and Linux received big pushes from Big Blue, to the apparent benefit of the company and its customers.

The latest push is to enable autonomic computing -- something IBM admits is a mystery to many in the development and ISV communities.

Autonomic computing takes its cue from the self-managing traits of the human nervous system. Autonomic software components contain control loops and monitors that allow the software to manage "itself" and its relationship with other components.

eADT recently met with Susan Shuck, director of the PartnerWorld for Developers Program at IBM's Solution Partnership Center in Waltham, Mass. She said that IBM is helping to seed the automonic computing market with a well-coordinated program that includes technical assistance and marketing services.

"We offer technical support, software downloads and go-to-market planning. That's the way we reach out to a lot of people," Shuck said.

IBM partners on hand that day included Web services management start-up Adjoin and security monitor house Ingrian. Representatives of IBM's Tivoli group, which is helping to spearhead IBM's work in this area, were also on hand. Other IBM autonomic partners include InstallShield Software and Tripwire.

Through the history of its efforts to commercialize new technologies, IBM has continually refined its approach to marketing these things -- and observers have lately noted that it the firm has moseyed back into markets that border the Microsoft camp. In fact, IBM's Shuck noted that the Solution Partnership program is a way to reach out to the Small Business Market (SMB). Moreover, she said, the company's efforts around Linux have led it to encounter some potential Linux supporters who have "developed for Microsoft markets only" in the past.

About the Author

Jack Vaughan is former Editor-at-Large at Application Development Trends magazine.

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