At Egenera, we've been in this business since 2001, terming this technology "Infrastructure Orchestration."
When I asked my SEs how to describe using PAN Manager with the Dell PAN system to abstract data center infrastructure in software, they gave me back a surprisingly simple set of instructions. Not technical acronyms or jargon. I personally watched (and participated in) getting a compute environment, complete with high-availability fail-over and DR, up-and-running in under 15 minutes. And the cool part is that it included both native OSs, as well as VMs.
Using our GUI, the Administrator then
- Defines resources –Identify available individual building-block resources which include pools of blades, internal switches, external switches, disks/LUNs, and OS images.
- Organizes resources – Define logical groupings & access privileges for different pools and/or allocations as-needed by the business. Each group and its resources are distinct and secure from the others.
- Builds profiles and servers – Assign physical blades; assign network connectivity; assign disks (each LUN is presented as a SCSI device); assign an OS (which could a native OS, as well as a VM host OS like VMware ESX); finally, boot the server profile
- Assigns HA policies – Specify specific failover blades or shared pools, before or after building/booting the server
- Defines DR policies – Entire server environment configurations (or subsets) can be defined and instantiated either on-demand, on-schedule, or any other reason.
- (Optional) Reassigns servers – As simple as point/click/reboot. More than one server profile can be assigned to each blade. Change can be triggered via schedule or other commands.
Any engineer would appreciate how elegant a solution -- and set of user instructions -- this is.