IBM Readies Director Updates, Partner SDK

IBM is readying two upcoming releases of its IBM Director systems management tool for Intel platforms, as well as a toolkit to enable third-parties to integrate their own tools with Director.

Version 4.22 of Director, which ships free with IBM eServers, will roll out in the next three weeks. The update from version 4.21, which shipped last August, adds support for 64-bit versions of Windows, as well as for VMware ESX 2.51 and GSX, and for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.0. The primary purpose of the 4.22 update is to make certain that the latest hardware and operating systems are supported, a company spokeswoman says.

That release will be followed in June or July with a software developers kit – dubbed the Express SDK -- to enable third-party tool vendors to integrate their products with Director, according to Rob Sauerwalt, IBM global brand manager for software and services. Altiris will be one of the first IBM partners to take advantage of the SDK, he adds.

Finally, in September, Big Blue plans to deliver Director version 5.1, which will represent a major change from previous versions, the company says. The idea is to improve Director along lines that better suit customers’ preferences and usage patterns.

“We’ve made some dramatic shifts in the way we view our systems management products based on customer input,” Sauerwalt says.

In early 2004, IBM officials went to customers to find out how they were using Director. About 30 percent of eServer customers had implemented all or part of Director to that point, though that has subsequently grown to 35 percent. “Seventy-percent [are] using Director to monitor the health of their hardware, [and] the second most-used feature [50 percent of users] was bare metal deployment,” Sauerwalt says.

Though Sauerwalt would not disclose most features coming in version 5.1, he does acknowledge that, in addition to the Java-based management console that comes as part of Director, 5.1 will also include an extension to enable users to use Director from within Microsoft Operations Manager. “Having a common management interface is very, very beneficial,” he adds.

Version 5.1 will also improve the integration between server, storage, and network provisioning and management so users can manage the entire infrastructure – not just servers but also storage and networks – from a single console. Users will be able to configure storage and networking at the same time they configure servers, with the same process, according to a company statement.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.