Toward Broad-Spectrum Autonomic Management

Edmund Smith, Paul Anderson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The fields of autonomics and system configuration share a common goal in decreasing the cost of ownership of large fabrics. In this paper we present a combined vision in which the technical advances of autonomics and the usability
advances of system configuration are merged. We present some early system configuration research that forms the first steps toward this vision. Computer fabrics are becoming ever more complex and ever more central to the operation of organisations. The cost of a single fabric failure can easily dwarf the cost of employing its administrators [1] but, as for software developers before them [2], IT managers are discovering that simply adding more people to a complex problem does not necessarily provide better results.
Autonomics has as its origin the attempt to improve the robustness of an infrastructure by enabling the fabric itself to respond to changes in its environment [3]. But how can we be sure that the large-scale properties of the fabric will be maintained as it attempts to heal itself? Allowing the fabric to modify itself and evolve its own solutions will make management more difficult, not less, unless the power of administrators to understand and control their fabric is not also increased.
The authors? background is not in autonomics, but in system configuration [4], the study of correctly, accurately and scalably building and maintaining computer fabrics. In this paper we present our vision of an autonomic fabric, a fabric which can recover from many errors without human intervention, yet never be beyond the control or understanding of its administrators. This, we believe, will be a fabric which is affordable, both in terms of the effort needed to maintain it and in terms of its support for critical applications.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of ICN 2007, The Sixth International Conference on Networking
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2007


  • autonomics, aspects


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