Automating Server Management

 
 
By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2004-06-14
 
 
 
As more enterprises address changing IT demands by linking and managing multiple servers as a single resource, many are challenged by the increasing need to monitor, provision and deploy computer hardware.

But help could be on the way in the form of management software suites from RLX Technologies Inc., IBM and startup UXComm Inc., each of which is developing software that automates many of those tasks.

Officials at these companies said such advances can save customers time while reducing costs and the number of staff needed to keep their data centers running.

RLX this week will unveil the 6G version of its Control Tower software, which adds modules to automate several server management tasks.

The Automation Policy Manager module, for instance, can detect a problem in a server and, according to predefined rules, take action to correct it, said company officials in The Woodlands, Texas.

Control Tower 6Gs Automated Sparing Manager can dynamically provision spare servers with new network and storage connections to take over when an active server fails. The new Workload Inspector module extends the management capabilities beyond the servers, monitoring network services such as TCP, HTTP and LDAP performance. Control Tower 6G will be available next month.

Click here for a review of RLX HPC Cluster Manager.

Chicago-based 7ticks IT Consulting Inc. has been using Control Tower 6G for about a month, after nine months with the earlier-generation product. The company handles 15 to 20 percent of the electronic trading that goes through the Chicago Board of Trade, said CEO Dan Stivers.

RLXs combination of server hardware and management software has enabled 7ticks to do with 30 employees what competitors need 100 people to accomplish, Stivers said.

"We automate the hell out of everything," Stivers said. "Basically, we have no need to go to the data center, unless we have to change something physically. You can run quite a large data center remotely, from anywhere in the world, as long as you have a good Internet connection."

For its part, IBM at the end of the month will release Tivoli Provisioning Manager 2.1, which will enable IT administrators to manage not only servers but also storage products from IBM and other vendors, said officials at IBMs Tivoli division in Austin, Texas.

In addition, Provisioning Manager 2.1 will be integrated with Tivoli Monitoring and Tivoli Event Correlation offerings, they said.

Read more here about IBM expanding Tivolis on-demand capabilities.

Tivoli Provisioning Manager already is linked to Intelligent Orchestrator, the centerpiece of the divisions plans to enable as much virtualization of the data center as possible. Orchestrator is described by officials as the brains of the operation that retrieves information from the other software products and then sends back orders to those products.

IBM also will incorporate Provisioning Manager into its Virtualization Engine. Due in August, the engine is a combination of software designed to simplify the IT infrastructure.

Meanwhile, UXComm, of Beaverton, Ore., this week will unveil its flagship product, AutonomIQ for Utility Management, targeted at data centers running blade and 1U (1.75-inch) servers.

The suite includes what the company calls an Intelligent Agent Architecture, where agents perform such tasks as provisioning, resource virtualization and protocol mediation.

Check out eWEEK.coms Infrastructure Center at http://infrastructure.eweek.com for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.

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