Tuesday 21 April 2009

Benelux Tivoli User Group - DAY 1

Last week (16th and 17th of april) the 2-day taking spring edition of the “Tivoli User Group Netherlands” (Tivoli User Group Nederland, www.tggn.nl) took place in the Antwerp conference center “Elzenveld”, sponsored by IS4U. Well, because TGGN has expanded to Belgian and Luxembourg since the start of 2009 the half-yearly meeting is now called “Benelux Tivoli User Group” … which was the most significant announcement of Chairman Derk Yntema during the welcome.

Before starting with the usual parallel sessions, as “Director of Strategy for IBM Tivoli Software Brand” Don O’Tool gave a nice presentation about the strategy IBM would follow concerning the Tivoli-branded products. Next to improving and extending the current Tivoli-product basis, “green”-thinking really starts to play a major role.

The next IBM-representative, Steve Anderson, came up with a relatively short presentation about services and support where the following items were the most important ones: the differences between a standard and premium support contract, the different possibilities available for requesting support (ESR, Chat,…). And last but not least, IBM-support people now do have the possibility to log in remotely to the customers site to examine a problem in real life which saves the customer of gathering the bunch of data needed when creating an ESR.

As mentioned earlier, the program was based on three tracks: “Green”, “Employee Life Cycle Management” and “Virtualization”. As an IS4U-employee, mainly involved in TIM/TAM-projects, I decided to attend the second track.

Peter Volckaert, technical Tivoli Security sales specialist, did open with a presentation about the new “Tivoli Security Policy Manager” (http://www-01.ibm.com/software/tivoli/products/security-policy-mgr/) offering “security as a service”. Using Policy Manager, dynamical fine-grained authorization towards applications and web services becomes easy manageable. In fact, the software supports the full policy lifecycle management: author, transform, enforce, monitor. To address the client’s needs, Policy manager comes in two offerings:

1. Security Policy Manager for Application Entitlements: Application owners can externalize authorization and audit from their application code.

2. Security Policy Manager for SOA: Application owners can externalize the security policy protecting their web services. Besides, this solution easily integrates with the WebSphere SOA-appliances (Datapower).
Policy Manager is completely based on open-standards making it easily working with third-party software supporting those standards.

Next, in two successive sessions, the asset management tool “Maximo” (http://www-01.ibm.com/software/tivoli/products/maximo-asset-mgmt/) was explained (the user group played a bit around with the agenda). In the earlier years (read: before the acquisition of IBM) MRO’s Maximo was only focusing on not IT-related operational asset management. As more and more assets are touched by technology MRO and IBM came together to address this issue, finally ending in IBM adding Maximo to the Tivoli portfolio. One session was mainly focusing on how to use Maximo within the scope of “Employee Lifecycle Management”, where the other session was more related on how to use it in “managing IT and non-IT Assets”:

1. Employee Lifecycle Management: e.g. streamline the process to follow when an new employee starts working at a company, make sure he/she gets his company car if appropriate, does the user needs a cell phone and order one if necessary, make sure the user does have the necessary accounts created, … Make sure a retiring user hands over all its assets the moment he/she leaves, …

2. Managing IT and non-IT assets: e.g. streamline the processes at a helpdesk, based on the answers given by a user; a solution is given without the intervention of a helpdesk employee.

One important question was: isn’t there a remarkable overlap with ITIM (Identity Manager); the answer was more are less fuzzy.

As a last topic on this first day, Michael Ravelingien gave a very clarifying demo on Encentuate’s single sign-on solution (also strong authentication) (http://www-01.ibm.com/software/tivoli/products/access-mgr-esso/), acquired by IBM somewhere in March 2008. It was pretty astonishing to see what the possibilities of that package are, remember … once up a time with Passlogix (but it could run as standalone application). According to a Gartner report, the support of the latter will continue for another two years (dated 14th of March 2008) while IBM is preparing a migration to Encentuate-based solutions. The tool has the possibility to work in a shared or private workspace within a Windows environment, where there is a performance profit when choosing the first option. The second option is security-wise a better option because of each user has its proper context. Furthermore, RF-badge authentication is supported out of the box, possibility to close user windows when switching from one user session to another … great tool as soon kiosk pc’s (e.g. hospitals) are appearing into the picture!

We ended up our first day with a dinner in the restaurant, sitting next to Steve Anderson … really a nice guy!