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December 2011, Vol. 36

How to find the right systems management tool for the job

One of the most pervasive shifts in IT has been the transition from hardware mastery to systems management. The demands of deploying and setting up a server have been dwarfed by the need to understand and control that server and its computing resources. Server virtualization and remote management have been two huge factors in this transition. Administrators simply can’t see their computing resources in the traditional sense — and even then, virtualization obscures the relationship between hardware and workloads. This new focus raises the stakes for systems management. Organizations must set realistic goals, use practical criteria to select new tools and demonstrate diligence when changing established tool sets. There are a range of systems management tools, from simple and limited point tools all the way up to sophisticated frameworks that can ride roughshod over enterprise-scale environments. But selecting the right tool often starts with setting appropriate goals. Systems management initiatives that encounter roadblocks — or ...

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