A new breed of management systems has arisen that promise to manage data across physical, virtual and cloud environments. One of them is FastScale, which uses a unique "logical server" approach to simplify the management process. Arthur Cole spoke with Jerry McLeod, the company's vice president of marketing and business development, about how it works.
Cole: As more and more data starts traversing physical, virtual and cloud infrastructures, what are the chief management issues that IT executives will have to confront?
McLeod: There are many issues when moving between infrastructures. FastScale is focused on building logical servers so IT people can design what they want built and later decide the type of infrastructure where it is deployed. This solves the movement of application stacks between the various deployment locations and types. Part of the logical server design is assigning where any necessary data is located. Therefore, regardless of where the software is running, the data can remain intact in a single and secure location.
Cole:The logical server is a key component of your newest Composer Suite system. How exactly is it used to manage these kinds of mixed architectures?
McLeod: A logical server contains the necessary components and actions to build a completely functional software stack. This includes the operating system, third-party applications, homegrown applications, configuration scripts, monitoring tools and agents and environmental configuration data. One on the key actions defined in the logical server is the option to "blueprint." When a logical server has been designed with blueprinting, during the software build, the FastScale software automatically analyzes the complete software stack and includes in the build only the required components. The resulting build is very lightweight. For example, a build of Apache on Red Hat is only about 30MB. Logical servers are the design of a software stack or recipe. The actual build is not done until a target destination for the running software is chosen. Once chosen, a unique software stack is built for the target. The target could be a physical server, a virtual server or an AMI for Amazon, or a virtual machine can be automatically built to be deployed to a virtual infrastructure.
Cole: Are we in danger of layering too much management on the data center? Most enterprises already use vendor-supplied management for their physical and virtual layers, and cloud providers offer their own management stacks. Do you see management integration becoming a problem?
McLeod: There are many diverse and separate tools for managing software in the data center today. This is a problem. There is no centralized location for all the software components. There is no single, traceable methodology for building servers. There is no flexibility to move between tools and builds. FastScale Composer Suite solves these problems. There is a single database for Linux and Windows with all the components and knowledge (logical server) to enable IT professionals to easily and dynamically build, manage, optimize and deploy any application stack for physical, virtual or cloud infrastructure.