COMMON: IBM invests big in eLiza R&D for iSeries

NEW ORLEANS--IBM says 25% of the eServer research and development budget will be used to fund Project eLiza, a concept being used by the company to develop self-managing computers. The project will incorporate IBM's entire line of eServers, including the iSeries.

At a press briefing during Spring COMMON Conference and Expo here Tuesday, IBM executives offered an overview of how eLiza would be incorporated into the iSeries.

According to David Peter, project executive for the iSeries, the goal of Project eLiza is to give businesses the ability to manage systems and technology infrastructures that are hundreds of times more complex than those in existence today. The eLiza project was announced last month by IBM.

According to Peter, the project consists of six major initiatives, including the self-management of storage, performance and service. "A lot of this we're already doing in the iSeries," he said. "Now, it's just a matter of taking that next logical step and expanding on what we already have."

eLiza, a term dubbed by Irving Wladlawsky-Berger, vice president of eServer Technology and Strategy, began as a project in the mid-1960s to develop seamless communication between people and machines. The name eLiza also harkens back to the "Deep Blue" project, when IBM estimated that its chess-playing supercomputer had the transaction capacity of a lizard brain. Self-managing servers look beyond transactions towards prediction and decision-making capabilities.

IBM predicts that in five years, given the rapid proliferation of technology and the growing shortage of trained systems administrators, the majority of corporations will not be able to manage their systems using the current computing technologies.

Currently, the iSeries features several eLiza-type capabilities, including Intelligent Resource Director, which automatically allocates resources for multiple jobs according to demand; and eServer clustering, which updates software and manages workloads across massive clusters with a single operation.

Peter said that there's a push to complete this project within five years and that he expects to have the first of a series of technologies available sometime by the end of this year or early next year.

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