EMC Promotes Smarter Server Management

Smarts Server Manager aims to help IT administrators better manage virtual data centers

EMC has launched a tool that provides automated root-cause analysis for virtual infrastructures.

Smarts Server Manager, launched this week, aims to help IT administrators better manage virtualised data centers with a more complete drill-down into why change and other management problems happen, so they can be circumvented in the future, says EMC.

In a recent survey of IT managers regarding virtual machine management, the No. 1 problem that continues to crop up is isolating the root cause of problems throughout a complicated, far-flung virtualised infrastructure.

Smarts Server Manager is designed to complement the company’s current set of VMware management tools. This automation process enables companies to discover what IT resources they have, check for IT compliance to policies, isolate root-cause problems, and immediately fix any issues.

“We’re using all the instrumentation that [VMware] VirtualCenter provides, and that customers already have, to deploy their [ESX hypervisor] environment,” said Bob Quillin, EMC’s senior director of product marketing, resource management.

Asked what makes its tool stand out from competing products, from say, CA, BMC, IBM or Hewlett Packard, the company said a “rich degree of automated analytics,” andd. “It’s the ability to collect a large amount of information without having the customer write a rule or provide any intellect on their own”.

Smarts Server Manager increases IT operations’ insight and control across mixed infrastructure environments, Quillan said. SSM also provides automated discovery and business-impact assessment of VMware ESX servers, and all other virtual machines and applications within the system.

Specifically, Smarts enables customers to identify root cause issues across physical and virtual domains by extending EMC’s Smarts Root Cause Analysis and Codebook Correlation technology to the virtual server environment. Using a behavioral model, Smarts is able to understand the relationships between virtual servers, physical servers and the network and distinguish how symptoms are propagated.

Smarts Server Manager also monitors the “health” of Microsoft Cluster Services and Veritas Cluster Servers; helps IT operations identify when key application or service processes are unavailable; and integrates with server hardware monitoring suites from IBM, Dell, and Sun to identify when servers are operating in a degraded state.

“Customers worldwide are effectively leveraging VMware-based virtualised servers to increase server utilisation and decrease hardware costs,” said Bob Laliberte, storage analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group. “But the dynamic nature of these environments creates significant challenges for those trying to manage them.

“Because VMware can rapidly move applications from one server to another to balance workloads, trying to manage VMs via manual methods is not sustainable, especially in large environments. Customers need solutions that automatically identify and isolate the location of virtual machines, as well as determine their relationships to other infrastructure elements and IT services. Only then can management happen in an automated fashion.”

Smarts Server Manager, available now in the UK, is priced based on discovery and availability management per domain, as well as the number of devices being managed in each domain.