By Francis Chu  |  Posted 2004-04-12 Print this article Print

Amphus Inc.s ManageSite Universal Edition 2.0 provides Wintel shops with an inexpensive, easy-to-deploy system for server provisioning, monitoring and remote management. eWEEK Labs tests showed that ManageSite would be a good choice for taking care of system management and server automation tasks in small and midsize data centers and server farms.

Version 2.0 of ManageSite was released last month with a simple pricing scheme: $399 per node. A node is any x86-based server or a server blade that ManageSite supports. Unlike other solutions, Amphus doesnt charge by the number of CPUs in the nodes it manages, nor is there an additional fee for the ManageSite server license.

However, ManageSites support is limited to x86 servers and a handful of server blades from a few vendors. The earlier versions of ManageSite support any x86 server compatible with IPMI (Intelligent Platform Management Interface) and server blades from vendors such as Hitachi Ltd., Nexcom International Co. Ltd., and Tatung Science and Technology Inc. ManageSite Universal Edition 2.0 supports non-IPMI-compatible systems as well.

Although we were disappointed that the software supports few blade servers natively, ManageSite can be a good choice for IT managers buying these blade servers or looking for an inexpensive solution to manage a large number of x86 server systems.

The IPMI standard provides out-of-band and lights-out (the ability to manage a server during a power failure) remote management of x86 server systems.

A new version, IPMI 2.0, provides better authentication capabilities and new encryption algorithms, as well as better interface support. Vendors including Dell Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co., Intel Corp. and NEC Corp. announced their support of IPMI Version 2.0 last month.

ManageSite has some catching up to do with its IPMI support, since it supports only the prior version, IPMI 1.5. Amphus plans to support IPMI 2.0 in future editions of ManageSite, according to company officials.

ManageSite competes with other enterprise server automation applications, such as Veritas Software Corp.s OpForce. Although OpForce is significantly more expensive, it offers dynamic resource allocation capabilities that ManageSite doesnt. In addition, because OpForce supports non-Intel x86 servers, such as Sun Microsystems Inc.s SPARC and IBMs PowerPC, it is more suitable for heterogeneous environments.

In tests, we found ManageSite easy to deploy. We set up a Windows 2000 server with Internet Information Services and SMTP installed, and Amphus provided the rest, including a database for inventory tracking and maintaining user configurations, as well as alerts logging.

ManageSite provides bare-metal server provisioning, health and performance monitoring, and remote lights-out management (via IPMI). ManageSite supports Microsoft Corp.s Windows and Red Hat Inc.s Red Hat Linux operating environments.

ManageSite can be installed on an x86 server system with the minimum of a 700MHz Pentium III processor, 512MB of memory and 70MB of disk space. We installed ManageSite on a Dell PowerEdge 2550 server with dual Pentium III processors and 1GB of memory. In tests, we provisioned and managed a Tatung blade system without a hitch using the Web-based interface.

For larger sites, we recommend running the system on a Gigabit Ethernet network to optimize multithread provisioning performance.

Technical Analyst Francis Chu can be reached at francis_chu@ziffdavis.com.

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