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Mission Impossible

By John | December 19, 2007

The IBM ESM Integration Story

Last night, I attended a Tivoli User Group (TUG) meeting in Atlanta. One of the presentations was on IBM’s new Tivoli Service Request Manager product. During the presentation, my mind started to wander, and I wondered  how difficult it must have been for IBM just to get this far in its story.

In the past five years it has acquired at least eight companies in the enterprise systems management space alone. I am not talking about just the coding efforts. I just can’t imagine the cultures, the management, and coordination it must have taken just to be able to show the Powerpoint slide of its integration road map. So, before I tell you the two questions that I posed to the presenter, let’s do a little refresher.

Chart of IBM ESM Related Acquisitions

2003 Think Dynamics Tivoli Provisioning Manager (TPM)
2003 Rational Software IBM Tivoli Composite Application Manager ITCAM
2004 Candle IBM Tivoli Monitoring (ITM)
2004 Cyanea IBM Tivoli Composite Application Manager (ITCAM)
2005 Collation Tivoli Application Dependency Discovery Manager (TADDM)
2006 MicroMuse Tivoli Netcool , IBM Tivoli Network Manager for IP (ITNMIP), Tivoli Business Systems Manager (TBSM)
2006 MRO Software Tivoli Service Request Manager
2007 Cognos TBD

Think Dynamics

The major changes in the traditional Tivoli stack started in 2003 with the acquisition of the privately held Think Dynamics. Think Dynamics provided provisioning and orchestration technology. My uneducated guess is that, by the end of 2007, more than half of the IBM customer base has not fully converted from the old Tivoli Configuration manager product.

Rational Software

In that same year IBM purchased Rational Software. I believe that IBM has had reasonably success with the penetration of its Rational products. HP, however, still has a strong hold in the testing market with the Mercury tools. Rational products have leaked into some of the enterprise systems, products such as IBM Tivoli Composite Applications Monitor (ITCAM), which is primarily used for synthetic transactions and transaction response timings.


Most IBM insiders will tell you that IBM purchased Candle for its Z penetration and residuals. Somewhere along the way, however, it realized that it could gain mammoth savings by shelving its IBM Tivoli Monitoring version 5 upgrade development effort and by just using the Candle product as the new ITM version 6. Very similar to the Think Dynamics customer transition story, it has been difficult for many of IBM’s monitoring customer to make a clean conversion over to the new Candle technology


Cyanea was small three-year-old company that IBM had invested in at an early stage with an 11% holding. Cyanea has been integrated into the ITCAM family of products.


Collation was probably the best per-price acquisition that IBM has made in the last few years. The Collation discovery application will be the linchpin for all the Tivoli products. The new name of the Collation software is called Tivoli Application Dependency Discovery Manager (TADDM). TADDM puts the “C” in IBM’s CCMDB. IBM describes its CCMDB as both discovery and CMDB. In my opinion, you can’t have one without the other. If IBM actually pulls off this massive integration of all these products, it is TADDM that is going to make it sail.


This acquisition will put the final nail in what we Tivoli old timers have called home for the last years. Netview, which actually came from the original HP Openview code base, is finally dead. The new IBM Tivoli Network Manager for IP products is the official replacement for Netview. Now, IBM claims that it is the only vendor that can do the whole layer 2 through 7 stack and that it can do layer 0 as well. Also, IBM says that its go forward strategy for event management and correlation is the Netcool Omnibus product line. What , no more TEC Prolog? Good riddance. IBM is saying that Tivoli Enterprise Console still has a shelf life until circa 2012; however, I am not waiting around. Another area where MicroMuse has made a big impact is the replacement of the Tivoli Business Systems Manager with the Netcool RAD and Impact products. I wasn’t a big fan of TBSM 3.x; the new TBSM 4.x (Netcool) stuff is much better. Also, make sure that you now call it the Tivoli Business Service Manager.

MRO Software

The IT service request story over the last ten years could make for a great adventure novel. In 1997 IBM paid $200 million for a company called Software Artistry. These were the boom years for Tivoli. Sales were vertical, champagne was flowing, everyone was feeding off the trough. Even lowly consultants such as myself were driving Cadillac rentals and staying in the Ritz. IBM was selling a great integration story in the late nineties. Between 1996 and the end of 1997, IBM had acquired Tivoli, Unison (Tivoli Workload Scheduler), and Software Artistry. No other company in the enterprise systems space could tout that kind of integration story (sound familiar?). The Peregrine and Remedy replacement business was on fire. Then, the year 2k and the dot-bomb fizzle came. IBM unloaded the Service Desk product to none other than Peregrine Systems for an undisclosed amount of money. Meanwhile, all those poor customers who had to convert from Peregrine’s Service Center to Tivoli’s Service Desk now had to convert back. A few years later, Peregrine bought Remedy, and there was practically only one vendor doing service request management at the enterprise level. Somewhere along the way, Peregrine pulled an Enron and had to unload Remedy on the cheap. The “M” (John Moores, owner of Peregrine) sells Remedy to the B and C in BMC. In 2006, guess who has the best ITIL/CMDB story? Somewhere along the way IBM gets religion and realizes the error of its ways and tries to start an ITIL strategy. It realized that, without Asset, Problem, Change, and Config software, you are stuck with just vapor. In 2006, IBM acquired MRO Software, and in 2007, it is back in the game with ITSRM.


The ironic part of this from an ESM perspective is that Tivoli used to have a product that OEM’d Congnos. It was called Tivoli Decision Support (TDS). TDS took Tivoli’s DM 3.x monitoring data and built cubes using Cognos. It was a nightmare to implement. IBM Tivoli has recently announced the Tivoli Common Reporting product (TCR) for common reporting for all of its Tivoli portfolio. TCR is based on the Eclipse BIRT open source product. I am guessing, however, that this might evolve into a stop gap. Why would IBM pay $5 billion for a company with over 3500 employees and continue to use BIRT as its reporting tool?

My Questions

Now that we have completed the refresher, let me get to my two questions. My first question was really more of a comment: “It looks like you have around two more year to go for complete integration.” The presenter disagreed with me and wanted to say that his demo was proof that I was wrong (see my joke about demo’s… My Views on OSS ESM (Part 4). He went on to say that Gartner said the same thing a year ago and changed its story a few months ago after seeing the demo (see thoughts about this in My Views on OSS ESM (Part 1)). Ok, the demo, sure. So, when I asked him if he could tell me one fortune 5000 comnay that is currently running an integrated solution with TPM, ITM, TADDM, Netcool OmniBus, and ITSRM, he said that he cold name only one company that was running three of the five. I rest my case. So, is IBM’s ESM integration story a mission impossible? For any other company, I would definitely say, “Yes.” But IBM has a lot of resources to make this all happen. If it does make it all happen, it will have the best story in ESM.

Topics: birt, cmdb, eclipse, ibm, itil, monitoring, tivoli | 4 Comments »

4 Responses to “Mission Impossible”

  1. Great IBM Tivoli ESM Recap, quick stab at mapping to DCAB - Adventures in Data Center Automation Says:
    December 19th, 2007 at 3:42 pm

    [...] is the link to his posting – Mission Impossible It’s always fun reading the history behind things [...]

  2. Ryan Shopp Says:
    December 19th, 2007 at 3:45 pm

    Great write-up, thanks for recap and history lesson. Really enjoyed the read. Especially the MRO Software section. So what’s missing from your perspective in their ESM portfolio these days?

  3. John Says:
    December 19th, 2007 at 5:13 pm

    That’s a great question. I think one area Tivoli has been behind is in analytics. I always figured they would have bought Hyperperformix but they recently came out with Tivoli Performance Analytics (TPA). This is an area BMC has traditionally kicked their buts.

  4. People Over Process » links for 2008-01-11 Says:
    January 11th, 2008 at 2:20 am

    [...] Mission Impossible at John M Willis Nice round-up of the last few years of IBM Tivoli buys. Check the section of MRO for The Tale of the Lost Help-desk. (tags: tivoli m&a mro cognos itmanagement ccmdb cmdb rememdy helpdesk) [...]