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Server Specs: Open source systems management group tackles interoperability

Mark Fontecchio
Open source systems management group tackles big boys, interoperability
Six small systems management vendors banded together this week to encourage open source system management projects. The group plans to announce a dozen more members in the next few weeks.

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The Open Management Consortium already has six different projects from founding members, such as Qlusters Inc., Emu Software and Symbiot. Its goal is to offer open source system management projects that can cooperate with one another and lessen the grip that IBM, Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) and others have on systems management software.

"This was just to get the initial announcement out to build the foundation," said William Hurley, chief technology officer at Qlusters. "One thing we're really trying to do is take on this task from the perspective of the experience of the open source project managers we have involved."

Hurley said the goal is to allow data center managers to piece together their system management like a puzzle, with different open source products tackling different tasks. This is in contrast to comprehensive and proprietary system management software, such as IBM's Tivoli or HP's OpenView, though Hurley said they're not closing the door to those companies if they feel they can contribute to the consortium.

Mark Hinkle, vice president of strategy and business development for Emu Software, used the analogy of a decathlon to describe the consortium.

"There are very skilled athletes who are really good at the decathlon, but they're not the best at each event," he said. "I want to get athletes who specialize and are the best at each event. I think that's advantageous, that you can have someone in each area that is really good at it."

The founding companies are:

  • St. Paul, Minn.-based Ayamon LLC. -- its tool is called Nagios, which monitors a server network.
  • Cary, N.C.-based Emu Software is offering NetDirector, which allows you to manage networked servers from a Web browser.
  • Palo Alto, Calif.-based Qlusters has OpenQRM, a program that automates responses to failures in the x86 data-center.
  • Austin, Texas-based Symbiot offers OpenSIMS, which manages security infrastructure.
  • OpenCountry, from Belmont, Calif., sponsors Webmin a Web-based interface for Unix system administration
  • Annapolis, Md.-based Zenoss Inc. offers monitoring software.

    IBM rolls out Batch-on-Grid
    IBM today unveiled a software program to automatically shift processing demand in a grid computing environment, allowing systems to move workloads to machines with greater capacity to help decrease the time of large computing projects.

    The program, called Batch-on-Grid, is designed to schedule various tasks in the data center in the time and place that best suits the network. The software is based on the old concept of batch computing, which automates jobs so that computing resources aren't wasted or overloaded.

    The software manages batch workloads across grid, mainframe and distributed computing environments, and consists of new versions of IBM Tivoli Workload Scheduler 8.3, which provides a single point of control for managing batch workloads in mainframe and distributed environments.

    Sun employee returns to bang eco-drum
    Sun Microsystems Inc. appointed David Douglas as vice president of the company's Eco-Responsibility Initiative, which aims to promote eco-friendly practices in computing.

    Douglas, who previously worked at Sun in various engineering and technology management positions, returns from BEA Systems, an application infrastructure software company in San Jose, Calif.

    At Sun, Douglas will focus on enhancements to products that involve energy efficiency, cooling and product recycling, as well as improving efficiency in the company's daily operations. He will report to Greg Papadopoulos, Sun's chief technology officer and executive vice president of research and development.

    Sun has spent a lot of resources on its eco-responsibility initiative lately, raising awareness across the industry about the issue of energy consumption in the data center -- developing server energy metrics, hosting conferences with the Environmental Protection Agency and touting the energy efficiency of multi-core processing.

    Unisys upgrades ES7000 server line, adds to failover product
    Unisys has announced an upgrade to its ES7000 server line, as well as offering a new product for failover to protect business information.

    The ES7000/one can accommodate between four and 32 processors, and be configured for Intel Xeon MP and Itanium 2 processors at the same time. It supports Windows and Linux environments, including Red Hat and Novell SuSE distributions.

    One notable feature is that customers can buy servers with active and inactive processors. If they need to increase their workload, they can pay for an electronic key from Unisys and activate any number of inactive chips they want.

    The Blue Bell, Pa..-based company's failover product, SafeGuard Duplex, is an addition to the SafeGuard 30m that it released last year, which provides failover and recovery in 30 minutes or less. Duplex does the same thing but without the time guarantee.

    Duplex protects data in Windows, Solaris and Linux, as well as the HP and IBM Unix systems. It also can work with HP, IBM, EMC and Hitachi storage systems.


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