IBM's new management software will let you centralise, schedule and manage batch jobs and application processing across multiple platforms, including grid systems.

IBM Tivoli Workload Scheduler for Virtualised Data Centers does workload scheduling across a network's resources and comprises two components: master scheduler software and agents. The master program runs on a zSeries mainframe or an AIX workstation and will manage batch jobs across multiple platforms, using distributed agent software. The agents can reside on a variety of vendors' platforms, such as Solaris or Windows.

The software requires customers to set up a grid-like infrastructure, which IBM says they can do by identifying the resources used by jobs and installing the software agents, so the master scheduler can incorporate the resources in its actions. "With this product, once the enterprise is virtualised, admins can take batch jobs and dynamically route them to any free machine," said marketing manager Mark Morneault.

He adds that the software could also let network managers schedule batch jobs and put unused resources to work at any time i.e. at night. But today many companies maintain operations round the clock and can't always commit computing power to batch jobs, without affecting business-critical applications, Morneault says.

Historically, workload management software from vendors such as HP, IBM and Platform Computing lets network administrators reallocate CPU and memory resources to applications based on processing requirements as well as limit the number of high-end machines needed to support applications. But the software also had its limitations; it typically could only perform its application resource-sharing tasks on one physical box.

A typical large enterprise deployment - one with 60 to 100 distributed servers - would cost between $200,000 and $300,000. Version 8.2 of the software is available now.