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IBM’s Tivoli brand has quietly built momentum in managing storage, security, distributed systems and mainframes, aided by last summer’s acquisition of Candle Corp. The move has resulted in a 25 percent revenue increase for Tivoli in IBM’s fourth fiscal quarter. eWEEK Senior Editor Paula Musich spoke recently with Tivoli General Manager Al Zollar about what’s fueling Tivoli’s drive and where IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., plans to take it this year.

Did Candle products account for the lion’s share of Tivoli’s gains in systems management?

Yes. We’re really thrilled with how smoothly the integration has gone with [Candle’s] Omegamon technology. Those products had a very strong reputation among our customers for years. We increased the investment in support, and customers in the market are responding. We are getting renewed energy in this product line.

How far along are the integration efforts with the Candle software, and how important is that integration to customers?

They are substantially complete. Back-office integration is important to customers to have a single set of terms and business practices to deal with. More significantly, customers are interested in what we’ve done to bring together the software on the zSeries platform and in the distributed space.

You came in after the acquisition was completed, and the integration efforts were already under way. Was it tough?

The GM is only one individual. We have a very strong team that’s done the work to make Candle activities successful. We call our [integration] process “Blue Washing.” We went through 40 million lines of code to make sure the panels say “IBM,” do things with natural language support and localization, and so on. It is a herculean effort, and we pulled it off without a hitch.

Tivoli security software revenue was another story. Its revenue grew 9 percent in the fourth quarter after a big 47 percent gain in the third. What happened?

The goal we have is to beat the industry growth rate. Across security, we feel very comfortable with the growth rates. [Except for] a difficult second quarter, the past seven quarters were strong, double-digit growth for Tivoli.

Tivoli has been a big part of the on-demand push, but it hasn’t weighed in much on the industry’s ITSM (IT services management) discussion. Where does ITSM fit in the whole on-demand initiative, and what is Tivoli doing to help move IT in that direction?

Challenges facing our customers on Sarbanes-Oxley compliance are exposing weaknesses in the fundamental IT processes that support service delivery. We have award-winning business process modeling technology in our WebSphere business portfolio. Being able to apply that capability to things like availability management, change and configuration management, and information lifecycle management is a level of value we can create for our clients our competitors can’t match. We’ll have more to say about that in 2005.

With regard to ITIL [IT Infrastructure Library], when you look at service-oriented architectures, you end up with composite applications that for the largest enterprises include a zSeries and distributed [servers] and a DMZ layer out to myriad devices. These composite applications have technology towers at each layer that have had their own tools and processes. That made it hard for customers to do end-to-end availability management. Some customers are taking up ITIL; others, Six Sigma; and they are using this to approach the broad problem of how to have IT process integration.

There is a growing recognition in the market of the requirement for automated discovery and the mapping of infrastructure components to business services. Along with that is the development of a common CMDB (configuration management database). What is Tivoli doing with respect to a CMDB?

We think there’s a lot of hype in the market over a CMDB. It reminds me of the hype around a single enterprise directory. Metadirectories are what clients have been implementing. Tying a CMDB to a single application area may be valuable at some level, but it doesn’t solve the customer’s ultimate problem of mapping the integrated data across multiple data stores. We think the CMDB will be a federation. It is driven by the customer’s need to understand how the problem determination process is working. Are they at best practice in terms of labor, cost and cycle time? This is what we’re focusing on.

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