Wednesday, November 11, 2009

IBM Redbooks rock

Many of my former IBM colleagues/friends like to bring up the fact that I'm rarely nice to IBM on this blog. They're right, but it's because I hold IBM up to high standards. When they don't deliver, I make it a point to voice my opinion. For example, I have no idea what the brains trust in the IBM Tivoli Security group over in Austin have been doing for the past few years but your products have stagnated. And the new ones you bring out aren't particularly exciting. It's disappointing to say this, but IBM are losing ground (falling behind if you listen to Forrester) in the Identity & Access Management stakes to Oracle and CA. Wake up product management team!

One of the BEST things out of IBM however, are their Redbooks. These are essentially step-by-step guides for implementing IBM technology with lots of background information thrown in and fictitious "real-world" scenarios. Not many people realise IBM publishes these books but they're great if you're doing anything with IBM software or hardware (and in many cases, even when you're not).

I'm bringing this up because I noticed they released the latest Identity Management Design Guide, which leverages Tivoli Identity Manager 5.1 a few days ago (the one I co-authored 2 iterations back was for version 4.5.1). It's a little thicker (i.e. it has more pages) than the version of the book I was involved with, but in looking through this latest version one thing stood out: I still recognise most of the content, especially the parts I wrote. It's nice to see the content is being leveraged in subsequent versions. What that means is that the materials produced with each iteration are solid and practical, which is true for pretty much all the Redbooks that get released.

In short, Redbooks are a great resource for:
1) People who want to learn about an IBM product or a subject area.
2) People who want to implement the relevant IBM product.
3) Competitors who want to take a detailed peek at an IBM product ;-)

I'm sorry IBMers, but I couldn't resist taking a stab at IBM Tivoli Security. The Redbooks however, remain one of the best things out of IBM. They are infinitely better than those marketing data sheets we've all wasted time reading.


Unknown said...

IBM documentation is the best I've seen during my entire career (30+ years).

Deborah Volk said...

I agree with you, IBM Redbooks are excellent. I mentioned the Design Guide to several folks and even as a starting point, it's quite good.

Stephen Swann said...

I still see it as an ambition of mine to get the opportunity to be involved in the authoring of a redbook.

The redbooks are great - pity the IBM website makes it difficult to find them :-)

Ian said...


IBM don't exactly do search very well on any of their websites.

As far as authoring a Redbook goes, keep an eye on the list of upcoming residencies -

I'm sure you already knew that. Just putting it here for anyone else that may come along and read this.