Arthur Cole spoke with Earl Hines, director of marketing, uXcomm.
Cole: Multi-system device management in today's data centers has met with only marginal success thus far. Is there a way out of this mess?
Hines: Since the advent of the distributed computing model, vendors have offered technologies ranging from simple point products to entire enterprise frameworks to address the various multi-device systems management challenges IT professionals encounter. These offerings rarely solve the entire problem because they are expensive to purchase, difficult to implement, and do not incorporate the full range of features and functions to meet the systems management requirements today's organizations face. Now, with low-cost information appliances creeping their way into the data center, the only way to truly address today's heterogeneous IT challenge is to enable systems management capabilities at the device level. IT professionals should be able to simply take these appliances out of the box and plug them into their existing management environments with no manual integration required.
A new approach to systems management is emerging that enables this level of integration. Service-Oriented Management Architectures (SOMA) enable device manufacturers to build network management appliances, agents and proxy agents that are extremely flexible and capable of evolving as customer needs evolve. SOMA implementations unify different systems management features and products into a common management environment that spans all device and system types. SOMA-based management products offer greater flexibility and more cost-effective implementation than any enterprise framework can achieve.
Cole: Will the next generation of management systems allow for customization without losing effectiveness?
Hines: Yes. Just as a service-oriented architecture (SOA) makes it possible to easily interconnect legacy applications regardless of the underlying hardware or operating system, information appliances built using a SOMA approach can be customized to meet the needs of the data center now and into the future. Our SOMA-based products enable instant management of any network-connected device and integration with any legacy or proprietary management environment. The key ingredient in a SOMA is the Management Services Bus, which provides a common communication infrastructure in which all management applications are converted and deployed as run-time services. uXcomm delivers the world's only Management Services Bus within the company's flagship product, XManage. The XManage platform is a proven, modular systems management platform that enables any system builder to quickly and easily deploy "out-of-box" management solutions while still maintaining full customization capability.
Cole: How will virtualization affect the management infrastructure?
Hines: As organizations utilize virtualization technologies from companies like VMware and XenSource to consolidate hardware, and improve server utilization and reduce downtime, IT professionals are finding that these advances add even more complexities to what is already the largest problem in the data center: managing multi-vendor hardware, including servers, storage and networking equipment within rigid, inflexible systems management frameworks. For users to truly realize the benefits of virtualization, it is critical that system builders embed management capabilities that support both physical and virtual environments in an integrated way. The XManage platform makes it possible for systems builders to offer integrated systems management for any application, service or device whether they are physical or virtual. As a result, manufacturers can offer flexibility that no monolithic framework or point solution could ever deliver and truly unite all data center technologies within one common management infrastructure.