It's the approach that HP (w/Matrix Orchestration Environment plugins), IBM (Open Fabric Environment) and Cisco (Unified Computing System or UCS) have entered into recently, and where firms like Egenera (with PAN Manager software and the Dell PAN System) have been selling for some time. The beauty of infrastructure orchestration is that it abstracts-away all of the "plumbing" of the Server such as I/O, networking and storage connectivity -- which makes it an absolutely *ideal* complement to virtualization. So this technical approach is gaining greater installed-base every day.
Taking the conversation from "cool stuff here" to "it's in real use in the real world", I thought I'd give some examples of users of Egenera's PAN Manager software in the Healthcare industry:
Cambridge Health Alliance:
Cambridge Health Alliance chose PAN Manager to manage the infrastructure for their ambulatory product suite, in a strategic initiative to automate its ambulatory-care environment. Over five years, the Alliance expects to save $2 million, including $1 million in initial capital costs. Equally significant, the software is reducing system administration requirements—enabling Alliance IT professionals to focus on activities that add real value to the user community. I like this part: “If we’d purchased any other platform to support the... applications, we would have had to hire more system administrators. The simplicity and automation of the Egenera system take the place of two people.” Chief Information Officer, Cambridge Health AllianceEmory Heathcare:
Emory Healthcare moved mission-critical applications from proprietary UNIX® and mainframe platforms to a virtualized infrastructure based on industry-standard servers and PAN Manager software. Benefits included improvements in system administration, TCO, utilization, and provisioning time. A system administrator can configure and allocate a virtual -- or physical -- server in minutes. In addition, multiple operating systems and OS images can be run on a single server, enabling IT to create test systems on servers otherwise used for failover. PAN Manager security facilities also help ensure that patient records are preserved in accordance with government mandates.Metavante Healthcare:
With annual growth of 35 to 40 percent, Metavante Healthcare Payment Solutions needed to upgrade data center infrastructure just to keep pace. The company chose PAN Manager as an Infrastructure Orchestration approach for its unique virtualization capabilities. PAN Manager had quantifiable improvements in availability, performance, flexibility, management, and cost savings. Again, I live for this: “I was looking for a system designed from the ground up to overcome the limitations of standard servers… We didn’t see an architecture like Egenera’s from anyone else.” Vice President and CTO, Metavante Healthcare Payment SolutionsSCBIT (Schanghai Center for Bioinformation Technology):
SCBIT chose PAN Manager infrastructure orchestration for its ability to simplify consolidation, virtualization and management; to reduce application time-to-market for applications; and to lower data center costs. PAN Manager provided the flexible allocation and repurposing that SCBIT required: The agency can run any of its 10+ applications on any server at any time. PAN Manager also enables SCBIT to make every application highly available at virtually no cost and provides a unique N+1 approach to disaster recovery. Their evalutation also showed performance advantages of running Oracle 10g on servers with PAN Manager, versus traditional systems. Cool.
Overall, it's nice to see that this technology has major footing already. My belief is that as Virtualization becomes more pervasive, and as data center technologies become more complex, we'll see this infrastructure orchestration approach begin to displace "traditional" approaches for IT Management. It's simple, elegant, runs on standard x86 boxes, and provides broader reliability than typical clustering solutions.
Keep your ears open. for more.