Egenera is rolling out the next generation of its PAN Manager software that can virtualize hundreds of data center systems and manage them as a single pool of resources.
The goal of PAN (processing area network) Manager 5.0 is to create a more flexible data center environment that offers easier and less costly management and greater failover protection, according to Susan Davis, vice president of marketing for the Marlborough, Mass., company.
The software can automatically manage a wide range of platforms—from Intel- and Advanced Micro Devices-based systems, Linux, Windows and Solaris environments, 32- and 64-bit platforms—based on policies put in place by the user, Davis said.
"Having a system that does all that for you is something customers have been asking for," she said.
The PAN Manager works with Egeneras pBlade modules and a high-speed fabric. Through its virtualization capabilities, the software can help users consolidate the number of systems and reduce the complexity in their data centers through easier management and provisioning, Davis said.
Version 5 is the first major update of the software since December 2004.
"Were virtualizing groups of servers, all the storage and all the networking that keeps these things together," she said.
Vendors of virtualization technology are looking to expand the capabilities beyond simply servers and to all data center resources, aiming to create a flexible pool that can be provisioned and allocated quickly and automatically.
VMware, of Palo Alto, Calif., on June 5 introduced Virtual Infrastructure 3, which encompasses not only servers but storage and interconnected device as well.
New and enhanced features in Version 5.0 include BladeFarms, which extends the reach of the software to include virtualizing multiple Egenera EX systems.
The result is that any server can now fail over to any of the Processing Blades within the BladeFarm. Named Pools enable users to combine a variety of different Processing Blades within a single system or BladeFarm, from 32- and 64-bit to two- and four-socket systems to AMD and Intel servers.
Customers can then draw from the pool the necessary compute capabilities needed for particular workloads or as failover protection.
"Its a way of managing diverse architectures in a very simple manner," Davis said.
Warm pBlades are powered-up systems that are paused in a "warm" state until PAN Manager 5.0 activates it, which helps cutting failover time in half, she said.
In addition, PAN Manager offers greater reliability features—including monitoring and reporting on disk performance, and monitors each internal connection—and support for virtual tape for high-performance backup.
The need comes as more customers are running mission-critical applications, such as large databases, on the Egenera platform.
The software is available immediately, shipping with Egenera EX systems, which were introduced in January 2006.