Novell Puts Platespin Data Center Management Front and Center

Novell claims to be the first and only vendor to provide complete data center management of the entire workload lifecycle, across multiple operating systems, multiple hypervisors, physical and virtual environments.

LAS VEGAS--Novell on Dec. 3 will introduce four new data workload management software packages emanating from its $205 million acquisition of Platespin eight months ago.
Novell claims to be the first and only vendor to provide complete data center management of the entire workload lifecycle, across multiple operating systems, multiple hypervisors, physical and virtual environments.
"Data centers are not homogenous," Richard Whitehead, Novell director of product marketing, told me Dec. 2 at the Gartner Data Center Conference here at the MGM Grand Hotel. "We believe this is the first and most complete data management package of its kind for large enterprises."
"The other thing is, organizations typically don't look at the technology; they look at the service it provides -- whether it's providing Oracle, SAP, or whatever. The key question is: 'What's the business value it's providing to the business?'" Whitehead said.
"So in that context, we're talking about the workloads and packaging them up with the applications and data, and then being able to use what we call 'workload portability' across that infrastructure."
The four Platespin products -- Novell is keeping the original branding for all data center management products -- are:
--Platespin ReCon: Provides an assessment of data center efficiencies on a central console; for example, it can decide which applications would run more efficiently in virtual machines, which ones should remain on a physical server, etc.
--Platespin Migrate: Enables the portability of workloads across differing hardware and software using virtualization.
--Platespin Orchestrate: This used to be called ZenWorks Orchestrate. All ZenWorks products now will be focused on client, or endpoint, management, Whitehead said.
"Orchestrate is much like a conductor in an orchestra; he tells the violins when to play, how loud to play ... same thing here with our Orchestra. It uses a grid model to determine where the resources reside. It tells me if I can set up a VM, tear it down. It can be policy-based, and the product has heuristic capabilities," Whitehead said.
"Heuristic" means that the software can actually learn from its experiences and solve problems on its own, Whitehead said.
"For example, it remembers that on Fridays, there is always a spike in Web activity on the NBA's Web site because people are coming in to see the big Friday night game, and prepares for it. Orchestrate can prepare virtual machines for that spike."
Orchestrate also can take VMs and warehouse them, so as to keep control of VM sprawl. "Just like a fleet of cars, you want to inspect them to make sure they all have four tires, gas in the tank, etc.," Whitehead said.
--Platespin Protect: This backs up both the physical and virtual systems completely -- meaning all the applications, data and operating systems -- in state.
"One of the advantages Platespin has had over the years is 'live migration,' which allows a running workload to move from physical server to another server," Whitehead said. "It's near real-time -- not quite 100 percent real-time -- migration. But it's pretty close, I'd say."
For more information, go here.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he has...