Companies using IBM's Rational and Tivoli product will breathe easier today, thanks to new, integrated versions of nine tools that the company says will facilitate communication and closer collaboration between software development and support teams in the enterprise. What's more, prices will remain where they are, and the updates are free for current subscribers.

According to the company, the integrations are intended to address individual frustration points that it sees being experienced by teams, particularly those of the geographically dispersed variety, and improve efficiency for organizations using both through automation.

One of the four couplings involves Rational ClearQuest, which development teams use to track bugs and changes, and Tivoli Service Request Manager, used by support teams for logging help requests. The integration synchronizes trouble tickets in Service Request Manager with the ClearQuest's bug-fix tracker, reducing human error and adding traceability to service requests. Work orders are automatically kept in sync with ClearQuest, and can even be assigned to individual developers based on the suspect code, if known.

Also paired are Rational Asset Manager and Tivoli Change and Configuration Management Database, helping organizations deal with pre- and post-deployment issues. While Asset Manager keeps track of all the elements that go into development, such as servers, Web services and other components, it also now keeps people on the Tivoli side informed about the latest versions of everything.

Rational Test Lab Manager is now integrated with Tivoli's Provisioning Manager and Application Dependency and Discovery Manager apps, which keeps the test lab in sync with what's going on in the real-world production environment, and vice-versa. Each continuously gathers information on the other in real time, reports changes and can even create server and workstation images that can be provisioned to systems for deployment.

Finally there's Rational Performance Tester and Tivoli Composite Application Manager. This integration allows IT systems to peer inside performance-testing data and compare it with performance data from users. Discrepancies can be addressed by feeding the discovery details back to the lab's function and performance test cases for further analysis.

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I am Technical Editor of the [url=http://www.crn.com]CRN Test Center[/url], a kind of computer-centric "Consumer Reports" for retailers and VARs ([url=http://crn.com]www.crn.com[/url]). I bought my first computer in 1980, an Atari 800. In addition to adventure games like Zork, I also played with the hardware, dabbling with ROM dumps and mods to the 810 disk drive. That's also where I learned BASIC programming. After 1984, I moved to PCs, clones and NetWare, and then to Apple IIs and Macs until around 1990. In July of that year I got my first job at a publishing company, supporting about 25 Mac users (including the staff of "MacWeek").

Between '06 and '09 I was editor of [URL=http://stpmag.com]ST&P[/URL], a software testing trade magazine. I also wrote a software [URL=http://www.sdtimes.com/content/testqa.aspx]Test & QA [/URL]newsletter, and was chairman of the [url=http://stpcon.com/]Software Test & Performance conference[/url].

More info just in, the following new Rational versions are integrated with the latest versions of the corresponding Tivoli product:
Rational ClearQuest - 7.1.1
Rational Test Lab Manager – 2.0
Rational PerformanceTester – 8.1
Rational Asset Manager – 7.2

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