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29 October 2007  
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Home - Market - Article

30 Minute Interview

A problem of plenty

The commoditization of servers has resulted in a multitude of server boxes being brought into the data center environment and this, in turn, has created manageability problems. Novell's Systems & Resource Management (SRM) Business Unit focuses upon providing solutions to manage, simplify and control mixed-source environments. Joseph Wagner, General Manager, SRM, Novell talks to Abhinav Singh about the challenges of mixed-resource environments and how the SRM division is helping solve them.

Joseph Wagner

On Novell’s SRM division

Novell has a dual strategy towards enterprises—one that primarily focuses on enterprise Linux and the other on enterprise management services. Our SRM division comes under [the umbrella of] enterprise management services. Novell’s fundamental approach towards enterprise management services has been driven by the fact that enterprises across the world have selected a mixed source environment, which combines a proprietary, and an open source environment. A mixed source environment brings about challenges in interoperability, which need to be addressed so that systems work efficiently. We wish to address this issue with the ZENworks family of products.

The challenges of a mixed source environment

In a large enterprise customer’s environment there are 10 to 15 Operating Systems (OS) from different vendors and most traditional proprietary environments have their own distinct management environment, which has to be managed independently. Now the key challenge here is that the two OSs do not talk to each other and this results in a lot of complexity in an IT set-up, which is challenging to solve. Then there is the challenge of provisioning workloads to different heterogeneous OSs from a single management system, which needs to be addressed to ensure higher efficiency. The recent commoditization of OSs and servers and the fact that multiple server boxes are being brought into the data center environment have created manageability problems. There has also been a move towards virtualization which is not only bringing about the virtualization of the operating stack but that of the network and application resources which includes applications, servers, storage and network resources. This also generates manageability challenges in an IT environment.

SRM to the rescue

We see a huge market opportunity in this space both in India and abroad as mixed IT environments are on the rise. We have played an important role in designing a number of products and solutions in this space. We have integrated the famous Xen-based virtualization with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10, so that it can increase server utilization by consolidating physical servers and applications, in the process lowering hardware, maintenance, electrical costs and increasing business continuity and system uptime by migrating disparate workloads onto virtual machines without interruption. It also plays an important role in leveraging excess data center capacity and improving response times by balancing computing loads across data center resources at peak times and also in redeploying physical server resources which can help in migrating server workloads to virtual farms and release physical resources and redeploy them for other uses. One can also reassign physical resources to a different virtual machine on a single physical server besides providing application portability and flexibility across hardware platforms.

Novell’s ZENworks Configuration Management is a solution that eases the desktop management of Microsoft Windows operating systems, including Vista, for customers who need streamlined management in their Microsoft and Novell environments. With native integration for both Microsoft Active Directory and Novell eDirectory, the software enables real-time, identity-based systems management that speeds service delivery and ensure accurate desktop configuration. It has been built with the Novell Desktop-to-Data Center Management blueprint for delivering ITIL-based services, which helps in the bringing about IT efficiency and increasing user productivity.

Then we have the Novell ZENworks Orchestrator, which provides a set of integrated ITIL-based services that orchestrate IT management and business processes across diverse server and client platforms. The solution helps in automatically enforcing policies; managing, maintaining and deploying IT resources based on user and resource identities. As a result one can align IT to business processes and control costs while minimizing risk.

We have Novell ZENworks Linux Management, which makes it easy to extend Linux within an existing environment. It uses Policy-Driven Automation to deploy, manage and maintain Linux resources. Advanced policies help in controlling workstation and server settings as well as certain applications. The solution helps in the centralized control across Linux software configurations—from servers to workstations. Amongst the suite of solutions there is also the ZENworks Virtual Machine Management that helps administrators, IT operators and job developers improve and expand the performance of the data center by automating provisioning and by using virtual machines as resources in a data center computing environment. Better-managed virtual machines are instrumental in controlling associated data center costs by addressing several typical issues such as cooling, space, power usage and efficient hardware usage.

Who’s using these solutions?

We have global customers in the form of Fairchild Semiconductor, ITV, JohnsonDiversey, and National Health Service. We do have some customers in India but as we have signed non-disclosure agreements with them we cannot share their names.


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