Analysts have warned that holes in the functionality of IBM's Tivoli Management Environment (TME) systems management applications are preventing Big Blue from overtaking arch rival, Computer Associates (CA).
This is despite the fact that the offering now finally supports IBM's S390 mainframe - albeit it at least six months late (see VNU Newswire, 20 August, 1998), and support is also promised for 3Com's Palmpilots and other non-computing devices.
Although Tivoli refers to the GartnerGroup as saying that its TME product line is functionally richer than its competitors, Tivoli insiders privately acknowledge that it is simply running neck and neck with CA and no better.
And while Tom Scholtz, analyst with the Meta Group, said that although Tivoli appears to be 'marginally ahead of CA' in detailed evaluations, he added that there were important omissions in functionality in the current version of the suite.
"We have numerous unhappy customers and that boils down to unmet expectations. Tivoli needs to do work on security - it's not in PKI or front end authentication. It'll partner. Neither is there any real indication that it will deal with these issues in the near term, even though it would be a very useful extension," he claimed.
Jan Lindelow, Tivoli's chief executive, agreed at the vendor's user group meeting in Lisbon this week. "The analysts are right and, of course, security is important, very important to us, so I think you will see us make announcements about these points later this year."
But customers do not appear entirely satisfied either. Bjarne Wollman, infrastructure manager at Ericsson Radio Systems, said his enterprise uses a number of systems management products, but "ideally, we'd like to pare back to one or at the most two products. The big issue is that I cannot get a view of the data and application. I think CA is ahead on this, and Tivoli is not really giving me a clear idea when it will directly support business processes at the moment."
But the new S390 mainframe products will enable customers to consolidate their management natively on S390, using a Java front end, and offer seamless integration between the distributed computing environment and the mainframe.
New offerings include Performance Reporter, Service Desk, and Server/Gateway support for S/390 V1R3, V2R4 and up. Tivoli Manager has also been given a graphical viewer for administrators to look at both components and applications.
Tivoli also demonstrated TME support for the Palmpilot, but refused to elaborate on delivery dates. At the same time, Lindelow hinted that it will support other platforms, but would not be drawn on when native Linux support would be available.
"We believe the market will be flooded by Sony devices later this year, but I see no commercial demand for Linux - not with my customers," he said, although he later admitted there was a Linux 'version' of TME in Tivoli's labs.
But this is an issue that Tivoli needs to address because the Internet Service Provider (ISP) market, which would be a natural extension to the firm's domination of the telecommunications space, makes extensive use of Linux.
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