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Where the Cloud Touches Down: Simplifying Data Center Infrastructure Management

Thursday, July 25, 2013
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In most data centers, DCIM rests on a shaky foundation of manual record keeping and scattered documentation. OpManager replaces data center documentation with a single repository for data, QRCodes for asset tracking, accurate 3D mapping of asset locations, and a configuration management database (CMDB). In this webcast, sponsored by ManageEngine, you will see how a real-world datacenter mapping stored in racktables gets imported into OpManager, which then provides a 3D visualization of where assets actually are. You'll also see how the QR Code generator helps you make the link between real assets and the monitoring world, and how the layered CMDB provides a single point of view for all your configuration data.

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Thursday, August 8, 2013
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This webinar will help attendees understand the overall concept of SDN and its benefits, describe the different conceptual approaches to SDN, and examine the various technologies, both proprietary and open source, that are emerging. It will also help users decide whether SDN makes sense in their environment, and outline the first steps IT can take for testing SDN technologies.

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Upgrades from Zyrion, Arkeia Address Hybrid Cloud Monitoring, Backup

In a move intended to make it easier for users to create hybrid cloud environments from multiple vendors, Zyrion has announced that its Traverse monitoring software now supports the Citrix CloudStack platform. The tool lets users replicate the CloudStack cloud hierarchy, as well as monitor the health of the application and its resource usage.

While the software had already supported other environments such as VMware and Amazon Web Services (AWS), one of its larger customers had a requirement for CloudStack support, according to Zyrion CEO Vikas Agarwal. The Zyrion software gives users a unified view of the network and enables them to allocate resources to the cloud environment; support for CloudStack means users can do this across multiple public and private clouds, he says. The software, which monitors the performance of the cloud, works by providing a service-oriented view of the entire infrastructure, rather than of the various components that make up the service. When one component is having problems, the software correlates the IT infrastructure with business services and notifies the user which business services could be affected, he says.

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CloudStack enables a hybrid cloud environment with multiple cloud products, including private cloud products such as VMware and Xen, and public cloud products such as AWS. Citrix CloudStack allows a management framework to span all these hybrid clouds, rather than locking down an enterprise to a single vendor, says Agarwal. "The whole reasoning behind CloudStack is that, instead of just being logged into VMware or Xen or AWS or Rackspace, they can pick and choose," he says. Typically, Zyrion finds itself competing with one of the "big four" network monitoring companies--Hewlett-Packard, BMC Software, CA and IBM, he says. More recently, the company has been competing with Nimsoft, he adds.

"The new support for Citrix CloudStack is really a natural example of the extensibility of Zyrion's service container concept--which, as it turns out, is very natively supportive of the mosaic environment that internal and, to some degree, even external cloud interdependencies can create," says Dennis Drogseth, VP of Enterprise Management Associates, a Portsmouth, N.H., consultancy.

The product, which has been in trial, is available now for a starting price of $100,000. It runs on Linux or Windows on standard Intel hardware. While it also runs on the Oracle Sun Solaris operating system, the company doesn't have very many customers for that, says Agarwal.

Arkeia Upgrades Network Backup Suite

Arkeia Software has announced version 10 of its Network Backup Suite product for cloud-based backups. The new version is particularly intended for organizations starting their first backups through a feature called "seed and feed" that implements a hybrid cloud backup and can also be used for disaster recovery.

The seed-and-feed feature means a user could back up a 6-Tbyte array, mail it to its off-site location in another state, and get it there in 24 hours, says Brad Kelley, senior Linux administrator at Security Inspection, which manages servers for companies. "We have a big, fast connection, but that much data would take literally a week" because using all the bandwidth on the connection would interfere with server performance, he says. "Nobody wants to wait that long." The incremental backups take much less time because they use deduplication to reduce the amount of data that needs to be transferred, he says. The feature also aids disaster recovery efforts by enabling server restoration in 24 hours, he adds.

Shipping a 10-Tbyte thumb drive overnight is the equivalent of a temporary 1-Gbps transmission speed, notes Arkeia CEO Bill Evans. He added that the product is a good alternative for companies with fairly small volumes of data and a decent amount of bandwidth. While cloud seeding is available from some other vendors, other enterprise backup applications do not offer these capabilities, he says.

Joseph Martins, managing director of Data Mobility Group, a Milford, N.H., consultancy, says Arkeia's ability to begin performing incremental backups while the bulk of the client's data is en route to the off-site location via removable media is definitely interesting. However, it's unclear how much it matters to prospective users, he says.

The product is offered as an appliance and software or as a virtual appliance. It will be shipping in the next few weeks. Another new feature in this version is a movement away from agent-based pricing to source-based licensing, says Evans. Network Backup Suite is available on either a perpetual licensing or a subscription basis, with an unlimited number of file agents, hot backup agents, hypervisor hosts and virtual machines, and an unlimited storage target volume.

Perpetual pricing starts at $2,500 for the first terabyte and, depending on how many terabytes, down to as low as $1,250 per terabyte. The change in licensing will save Kelley's company "a little bit of money," he says.

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