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Four Principles of Autonomic Computing

In IBM's view, autonomic computing systems must follow four principles. They must be

  • Self-configuring: Able to adapt to changes in the system

  • Self-optimizing: Able to improve performance

  • Self-healing: Able to recover from mistakes

  • Self-protecting: Able to anticipate and cure intrusions

Computer systems with self-managing components reduce the cost of owning and operating such systems.


With the ability to dynamically configure itself on the fly, an IT environment can adapt immediately—and with minimal human intervention—to the deployment of new components or changes in the IT environment. Dynamic adaptation helps verify continuous strength and productivity of an e-business infrastructure—often the single determining factor between business growth and chaos.


Self-healing IT environments can detect improper operations proactively (through predictions) or reactively and then initiate corrective action without disrupting system applications. Corrective action could mean that a product alters its own state or influences changes in other elements of the environment. Day-to-day operations don't falter or fail because of events at the component level. The IT environment as a whole becomes more resilient as changes are made to reduce or help eliminate the business impact of failing components.


Self-optimization refers to the ability of the IT environment to efficiently maximize resource allocation and utilization to meet end users' needs with minimal human intervention. In the near term, self-optimization primarily addresses the complexity of managing system performance. In the long term, self-optimizing components may learn from experience and automatically and proactively tune themselves in the context of an overall business objective. Self-optimization verifies optimum quality of service for both system users and their customers.


The goal of self-protecting environments is to provide the right information to the right users at the right time, through actions that grant access based on the user's role and pre-established policies. A self-protecting IT environment can detect hostile or intrusive behavior as it occurs and take autonomous actions to make itself less vulnerable to unauthorized access and use, viruses, denial-of-service attacks, and general failures. The self-protecting capability allows businesses to consistently enforce security and privacy policies, reduce overall security administration costs, and ultimately increase employee productivity and customer satisfaction. Self-protection is also about recognizing and dealing with overload conditions that could jeopardize the integrity of the system.

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