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IBM grabs Think Dynamics

By , NetworkWorld.com
May 14, 2003 02:34 PM ET

NetworkWorld.com - IBM Wednesday announced it had closed a deal to acquire Think Dynamics, a Toronto-based maker of automated server provisioning software. Think Dynamics’ technology and staff will immediately be integrated into Big Blue’s management software division Tivoli. The financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

In a conference call Wednesday morning, Tivoli General Manager Robert LeBlanc discussed how Think Dynamics technology will add automated provisioning technology to IBM’s eServer, eSourcing and On-Demand initiatives.

“Think Dynamics policy-based orchestration will help provide that level of automation to change or adapt resources to accommodate the peaks and valleys of the business,” LeBlanc said. “We will provide dynamic sense-and-respond capabilities that will enable customers to link IT and business and align the two in an automated way.”

LeBlanc also detailed Think Dynamics’ used of open standards such as Web services, grid computing and J2EE. He says the software will let customers work with their existing infrastructure while still adding automated provisioning capabilities from IBM. The comment follows news from IBM competitor Computer Associates, which two weeks ago announced its own on-demand initiative, claiming it would be the heterogeneous software provider among proprietary products from companies such as IBM.

Think Dynamics will add another step toward IBM’s utility computing goals, which includes intelligent hardware and automated software that could potentially heal, protect, provision and manage without much human intervention. Think Dynamics’ primary product offering, Think Control Suite, creates a pool of server resources and uses policies to automate provisioning of those resources to meet unexpected demand shifts.

Jasmine Noel, principal at research firm JNoel Associates, says IBM bought Think Dynamics to round out its server virtualization portfolio. The company today has capabilities to virtualize servers, but she says Think Dynamics will add a critical component: dynamic alignment of IT resources with business requirements.

“Truly dynamic solutions must incorporate real-time feedback loops capable of allocating infrastructure on a dynamic basis in response to changing patterns of utilization,” Noel says. “The feedback loop is what Think Dynamics is bringing to the IBM table.”

The policy-based management approach enables customers to define policies and rules based on the specific requirements of their business. The technology could then take automated actions based on business need to re-allocate resources across servers, databases, storage devices, network devices, applications and end users.

Noel goes on to say that Tivoli should be aware of potential pitfalls in distinguishing its current products that provide software distribution, inventory and configuration management from the Think Dynamics technology. Still, the two perform different tasks, and aside from a few server virtualization features there is not much product overlap from this acquisition, she says. Tivoli recently announced its Autonomic Engine software, which enables customers to build automation into their environment based on specific applications and the supporting infrastructure.

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