Mastering Systems Management in the Cloud

Michael Vizard

One of the challenges that IT organizations face is that as the applications, servers and virtual machine environments proliferate, so too do the provisioning tools that need to be mastered.

This not only consumes time in terms of learning how to use these tools, it adds costs. What's becoming apparent is that IT organizations are going to need a manager for all the tools that manage provisioning.

One company trying to step into that space is Univa, which makes a Reliance master provisioning tool that can not only integrate multiple provisioning tools, but also manage the contention between different applications trying to access the same underlying system resources by invoking policies that allow IT organizations to set priorities.

The Univa systems management framework essentially acts as a broker between various provisioning tools. Once connected, these various provisioning tools can be linked to policies managed by Univa in order to, for example, make sure that processor utilization rates never fall below 60 percent before another system is provisioned. Here's a look at how the company describes its flow:

Univa Reliance

Reliance, which is being shown this week at Oracle OpenWorld to showcase how Oracle ERP applications can be run in the cloud, traces its roots back to grid computing. A lot of the systems management issues that IT organizations are likely to encounter as they embrace cloud computing have already been tackled in grid computing deployments. But as grid computing has been largely confined to university settings, a lot of that hard-won systems management knowledge has not been widely distributed.

It is still early days when it comes to cloud computing, but it's already become clear that processes of all types are going to span multiple types of systems that are going to be federated across multiple clouds. The challenge is going to be finding a way to manage that.

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