New Apps Let Servers Mind Themselves

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Print this article Print

Opsware and SWsoft help companies expand data center automation.

Enhanced server management software from Opsware Inc. and SWsoft Inc. is designed to help businesses push the automation of certain IT tasks, such as patching and provisioning, deeper into their data centers, resulting in reduced costs and increased efficiencies.

Opsware, of Sunnyvale, Calif., this week will unveil an upgrade to its namesake data center automation software, Version 4.5, which includes a tool kit that lets users extend automation to systems management tasks not already bundled with the software. The kit, called Extension Builder, is a package of APIs, development documentation and reference codes that helps users build custom modules to automate processes such as virtual server management and custom workflows, integrate Opsware with management systems, and generate reports, officials said.

Opsware customer Lenny Monsour said the open interfaces already available in Opsware enabled him to extend automation capabilities to his company's homegrown FlowTrack operations support system. But, Monsour said, Extension Builder will make updating those connections easier.

Opsware recently extended the reach of its server management software into remote branches with Opsware Satellite. Click here to read more.

Having Opsware System automatically input asset management data into FlowTrack, for instance, is a big improvement over the old method of transferring data, said Monsour, general manager of application hosting and management at Inflow Inc., a Thornton, Colo., IT outsourcing company.

"From an efficiency standpoint, we don't have people manually [inputting the data anymore]," Monsour said. "From a quality standpoint, I'm very confident that the information going into the system is accurate."

In addition, Opsware System 4.5's Satellite feature lets users centrally manage remote servers, which Monsour said he'll use when he brings up 40 servers in the company's Atlanta data center.

For its part, SWsoft last week rolled out Virtuozzo 2.6, which can dynamically partition a physical server into thousands of virtual machines. Among its 50 new features, Virtuozzo 2.6 lets virtual servers be rebooted automatically, rather than during periodic checks. The new Vzcache tool lets users create templates of common files, which can be automatically shared among virtual servers, said officials in Herndon, Va.

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