Tripwire and IBM: Articulating the on-demand future

In order to scale and manage IT infrastructure reliably without breaking the bank, industry is seeking ways to use the power of computers and automation to create leverage in IT management so that existing staff can manage larger amounts of infrastructure. This goal is at the heart of IBM's e-Business On Demand initiative, which creates the means to harness the power of computers to create a "self-managing" and "self-healing" infrastructure.

W. Wyatt Starnes brings vision and more than 25 years of well-honed tactical experience to Tripwire where he is

Founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer. Tripwire appeared on Deloitte & Touche's Technology Fast 500, was highlighted on Computerworld's Top 100 Emerging Companies to Watch in 2002, and ranked #20 on Inc. Magazines, Inc. 500.


Market Profile

Tripwire and IBM: Helping to change the world
The world is changing, and technology is driving the change faster than ever. The scale and complexity of the world's IT infrastructure continues to grow at a rapid pace. With this growth, the task of managing and maintaining that infrastructure becomes ever more difficult. Simultaneously, the world's reliance on IT is increasing just as rapidly, driving the demand for higher levels of security and availability.

In order to scale and manage IT infrastructure reliably without breaking the bank, industry is seeking ways to use the power of computers and automation to create leverage in IT management so that existing staff can manage larger amounts of infrastructure. This goal is at the heart of IBM's e-Business On Demand initiative, which creates the means to harness the power of computers to create a "self-managing" and "self-healing" infrastructure.

A key requirement for managing secure, reliable infrastructure is the capability of assessing and maintaining the integrity of the elements of that infrastructure – keeping it in a "known good state." For over a decade, Tripwire software has been used to assure and manage the integrity of critical data assets around the world, so when we heard about IBM's e-Business On Demand strategy, we were intrigued and wanted to figure out how to get involved. This strategy seeks to deliver quantum benefits to IT users by providing self-managing environment capable of analyzing, acting, and optimizing based on their current state ("as-is") versus a desired state ("as specified").

Why did we find the e-Business On Demand strategy so intriguing? Our integrity assurance products provide instrumentation of critical aspects of IT infrastructure, including data files and applications on computer systems, configuration data on network devices, and other important system data. This instrumentation provides ongoing, essential data about the current state of each element being measured – a capability we consider to be critical for creating a "self-aware" computing environment and helping to create closed-loop IT processes.

As we began to explore IBM's strategy, we faced the same questions that many software companies face in this situation:

  • Does this help me solve my customers' problems in a better way?
  • Is this the right place to invest my company's precious resources?
  • If I start this, how do I work with IBM in an effective way – both from the technology and marketing perspectives?
  • How do I make sure my company's goals are met, while supporting IBM's goals?

The IBM PartnerWorld for Developers program provided a manageable way to get the information we needed to answer these questions. The program provides guidance, access, and information to help software vendors tap into the resources, programs, and expertise of IBM as well as supplying examples of how other companies have engaged effectively with IBM in the past.

As we looked deeper, we found several aspects of the e-Business On Demand strategy that were beneficial to us. First of all, IBM is looking beyond their own walls to create partnerships with companies that have something to contribute. Second, they are seeking to establish a standards-based, open framework, which will not only allow us to integrate cleanly with their framework, but will also allow us to "discover" the capabilities of other vendors and technologies in the framework to extend our own solution capabilities. Third, IBM is providing opportunities for interaction with their own people as well as other technology vendors through events like developerWorks Live! and regional partner events.

IBM describes the e-Business On Demand framework using the analogy of a human body, which is capable of sensing its condition and making adjustments on its own when something is wrong. IBM's Tivoli software serves as the "brain" of the autonomic computing system. Based on events and information from across the infrastructure and the business rules that govern its behavior, Tivoli software can then determine the appropriate action that should be taken and issue instructions to the various components of the enterprise computing "body."

In this model, Tripwire fulfills a role similar to the five senses, by providing detailed information about the state of the system as it changes over time. This provides the information necessary to know when something is wrong, determine what corrective action is needed, and verify that the adjustments were made appropriately. In addition, Tripwire can receive instructions back from the brain and take action to help correct things in the environment (like rolling back a file to a known, good state).

By aggregating, normalizing, and analyzing the input from Tripwire and other "sensors," Tivoli is able to coordinate activities of system elements across the infrastructure. This allows many types of optimizations, responses, and corrective actions to occur with or without administrator intervention. In addition, because Tivoli facilitates information sharing through its open framework, each component of the framework can access the same data simultaneously to provide a uniform context for decisions and analysis.

In the last year, Tripwire has participated in the IBM Ready For Tivoli application validation program, which provided us with a way to have our software evaluated by IBM to ensure that we follow their standards for applications that integrate into their framework. In return, we were able to use the IBM Ready For Tivoli mark on our products which gave our customers the ability to know, at a glance, that our software would integrate with their other technology investments.

To make sure we keep in synch with other companies' efforts, information exchange is crucial, so we'll continue to tap into the IBM PartnerWorld for Developers community and programs , not only to learn about what others are doing, but to share our experiences and expertise so others can learn from us, as well.

The bottom line? We will continue to focus on advancing the state of the art in integrity assurance and integrity management solutions, providing increased visibility and control to IT professionals. In concert with other technology providers, we will provide the essential capabilities necessary to realize a dynamic, self-managing (as well as self-configuring, self-healing, self-optimizing and self-protecting) environment that learns as it operates.

In working with IBM, and through our efforts to support heterogeneous, open standards, we will continue to explore ways to increase the prevalence of its integrity assurance technology throughout IT infrastructure. In addition, Tripwire will work with IBM and other partners to create products and enabling technology to allow our products to provide greater value when used in an open e-Business On Demand computing framework. As all of this comes together, the result will be environments that are more manageable, more stable, and more secure and an IT industry that can sleep well at night knowing that everything is under control


Copyright 2003, Tripwire. Reprinted with permission. Tripwire customers include Global 3000 companies, e-business corporations, and key public sector organizations such as Intuit, AT&T, Ernst & Young and the U.S. House of Representatives. At developerWorksLive! IBM's technical developer conference held in New Orleans, April 9-12, Starnes will highlight Tripwire's integrity assurance technology and discuss the importance of supporting heterogeneous environments and open standards. Developers can register for developerWorks Live! by going to: http://www-3.ibm.com/events/ibmdeveloperworkslive/ or by calling 1-800-628-5219.

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