Opsware Inc. this week will reach beyond the data center to extend its brand of server provisioning and change management to remote application servers.
Opsware Satellite works with an enhanced version of Opsware System Version 4.1 to deliver more effective management to remote servers in branch offices or other remote locations.
"Remote servers are not managed effectively," said Raj Gossain, senior director of product marketing for the Sunnyvale, Calif., company. "They dont get regular patches or the latest service packs from Microsoft, or it costs a lot to manage them because administrators have to travel to perform updates and reprovisioning."
The same operating system and server provisioning, configuration management, software patching and auditing, and network configuration functions can be performed on remote servers that the main Opsware System software performs in the data center. But the optional extension is designed to work over slow-speed links and encrypts traffic between the main Opsware servers in the data center and Opsware Satellite servers in remote offices.
"There are often as many remote servers as centralized servers. Theyre adding basic capabilities to allow them to offer server configuration management for decentralized servers in an efficient way that uses an appropriate amount of network bandwidth," said Donna Scott, vice president and analyst with Gartner Inc. in Virginia Beach, Va.
The efficiency gains for service providers with Opsware Satellite are potentially large. Electronic Data Systems Corp., which bought Opswares former managed services business and uses Opsware on a large scale, expects to use Satellite for as many as 160,000 distributed servers, according to Larry Lozon, vice president of hosting services at EDS, in Plano, Texas.
"In a service provider model, one thing that comes up is the need to span multiple IP network architectures. With Opsware Satellite in place, it gives efficient means for addressing server automation," Lozon said.
Opsware added such features as bandwidth throttling, checkpoint restart and software caching, and it can route commands to servers local to it.
It can work with static network address translation and private IP address spaces.
"Every command and payload sent over remote links is encrypted and has an audit trail," said Gossain.
The software, which runs on Linux, is due this summer.
(Editors note: This story has been updated to include comments by EDS Lozon.)