Computing is entering a new era defined by cloud computing, big data analytics, social media and mobility. In building infrastructures to support this new dynamic, IT leaders must seek solutions that maximize choice with flexible architectures built on open standards, enabling IT to leverage innovation at their desired pace.
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To support the evolution to next-generation initiatives, it is important to put the right foundation in place. This means deploying infrastructure management solutions that are open and allow you to use the right tools to fit the specific requirements of your applications and workloads. The following are four characteristics to look for in an open management platform:
1. The power of choice. In managing your servers and converged infrastructure platforms, you don’t want to be limited: You want to have the same level of advanced management capabilities, whether you have rack and/or blade servers. Therefore, you should choose an architectural approach that allows you to manage your systems like a rack server (locally or remotely) or to manage your servers and chassis collectively in a one-to-many fashion. In deploying your servers in a converged infrastructure environment, you want to be able to use the same set of tools across all servers, along with your storage, networking and firewall devices.
2. Centralized management. You can reduce costs and simplify deployments with a converged infrastructure solution that combines servers, storage, networks and management. The solution you choose should have an architecture that enables the widest range of options in server size and density, processors, memory size, storage capacity and type, etc. It should also have a modular architecture that enables simple scalability, so that you can take a building-block approach to evolving your infrastructure. Finally, a converged infrastructure solution should have an integrated management platform that enables you to perform all of your key activities from a centralized location, including monitoring, provisioning, updating and allocating resources from end to end. These management capabilities should extend over the course of the lifecycle of all of your infrastructure components, from discovery through decommissioning.
3. Template-based provisioning. In addition to centralized management, you should make sure that you are using an advanced management platform that automates and simplifies many manual tasks that can bog down IT administrators, particularly as deployments get larger and potentially more complex. For example, one of the key functions for today’s highly virtualized environments should be template-based provisioning, which automates a wide range of tasks, including discovery, inventory, configuration and ongoing management. A solution such as Dell Active System Manager uses a template-based approach to scale or migrate workloads in a predictable, accurate and automated fashion that saves money and improves applications availability.
4. Open and extensible architecture. The management platform should support a multi-vendor, heterogeneous environment utilizing open standards wherever possible. The solution should also support a wide range of management tools, including those that are already familiar to your IT administrators. A major advantage of a converged infrastructure platform such as the Dell PowerEdge is that it is the first such platform to include an agent-free management platform, the Dell Chassis Management Controller. By supporting a choice of rack or blade-style management, Dell makes it easy for customers to adopt this system within their existing management methods and tools. The OpenManage portfolio provides easy integration with a variety of enterprise management platforms, such as VMware vCenter and Microsoft System Center, without compromising management functionality.
One of the challenges with earlier iterations of converged infrastructure solutions is that they did not enable flexibility in deployments and, from many vendors, locked customers into a proprietary management environment that limited choice. The Dell PowerEdge architecture represents a new approach to converged infrastructure that is modular, flexible and open. It not only enables the broadest range of server, storage and network components, but it also provides a sophisticated management platform that offers organizations the power of choice, centralized management, template-based provisioning and an open, extensible architecture.
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