Monday, March 23, 2009

Unified computing is so easy - 6 easy steps

With all of the chatter now about "Unified Computing" - as well as all of the skeptics thinking it's blue-sky future, I wanted to outline how incredibly simple it really can be. Even I can do it :)

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
  1. Defines resources –Identify available individual building-block resources which include pools of blades, internal switches, external switches, disks/LUNs, and OS images.
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. Assigns HA policies – Specify specific failover blades or shared pools, before or after building/booting the server
  5. Defines DR policies – Entire server environment configurations (or subsets) can be defined and instantiated either on-demand, on-schedule, or any other reason.
  6. (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.
The beauty of defining the server and its infrastructure in software is the ability to re-create it on demand, from a true "bare metal", wire-once environment.

Any engineer would appreciate how elegant a solution -- and set of user instructions -- this is.

No comments: