In its push to offer more information and services to its clients over the Internet, American Century Investments is implementing a host of Tivoli Systems' IT Management tools to streamline the management of its technology infrastructure. As with all financial services firms looking to move to the Web, American Century has spent much of the last two years integrating disparate databases and applications and it needed a set of tools that would allow them an efficient means of monitoring their many servers and mainframes.
"We are moving fast and furious, as well as other companies, to the Internet, and we needed a way to manage our distributed systems," says Paul Somogye, systems programming manager. "After looking at a number of companies, we think Tivoli is really the best of breed."
The firm has installed various Tivoli modules over the past couple of months that monitor their desktops and servers, which span from UNIX running on Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard and IBM's AIX to Windows NT.
Tivoli's event management console allows the firm's support staff to get a bird's-eye view of the entire IT infrastructure from a single view. American Century is planning to extend the management console to its OS390 environment over the next year. The console, which extracts data from Tivoli Distributed Monitoring and Tivoli NetView, will alert a support person of a problem, either by e-mail or page dependent on severity, so that the situation can be remedied before it affects the entire system.
"Everything that happens to our systems-up and down status, memory utilization, CPU utilization-is funneled to this one console," Somogye explains. "For example, if our database catalogs are getting full, it will alert the necessary support personnel so they can take a proactive action rather than waiting for an enduser to call. I can't put a quantitative number on it, but we have already seen great benefits from it."The NetView product is especially important to a firm increasing its online services because it monitors the Internet communication lines, including hubs and routers. As Somogye puts it, "NetView is like a map on a powergrid. We know how the network infrastructure is tied together and operating at all times."
The firm is also using Tivoli's software distribution module to distribute code changes to any number of desktops with the click of a button. Somogye says American Century has no plans to use this function for its Unix and NT server farms because those required far more attention and specialized support. Feeding the software distribution piece is Tivoli Inventory which automates the tracking of company-wide IT assets.
As American Century is relying on the Tivoli suite to become a 24 x 7 shop, most of the software has been installed on IBM AIX servers running HASMP (high availability systems management processing), a fault-tolerant solution that will switch processing to one server if another fails, Somogye says.
American Century has relied on the expertise of Merriview Data Systems, a consulting group headquartered in Overland Park, Kan., for the installation. Julie Cockman, marketing manager at Merriview, could not be reached by press time.With about $92 billion in assets under management, American Century is the fifth-largest mutual fund complex.