Art Wittmann

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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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Dell Buys EqualLogic

For a long time now, the editors at Network Computing have liked EqualLogic. Its products are easy to manage and perform extremely well, turning in some great performance numbers in our labs. The genius if the EqualLogic design is that as you grow your storage pool, you grow the compute power by adding controllers. It isn't the only company to take this approach, but it's done one of the better jobs on implementation. This building block approach fits right into Dell's strategy for utility computing announced a few years ago. While Dell had talked about its building block approach, this is one of the few recent signs that the strategy is alive and well. One thing that's served to resurrect it is the relatively difficult process of configuring VMware to use SANs for both OS image and data storage.

As EMC had probably hoped from the outset, virtualization has spurred more interest in SANs from small and midsize enterprises as well as the big boys. But somewhat ironically, it's not trivial to get VMware set up to use a SAN for all its storage need (something that's a must have if VMotion is on the agenda.) As a result, system vendors are working to more closely couple their storage and server offerings.

Sun, for example, recently moved its storage division into its system group. Along with that, John Fowler, Sun's EVP who manages the group tell me that one of his strategies for returning the haughty double digit growth rates of a couple years ago is to beef up Sun's channel distribution. It seems the that increasingly sophisticated needs of the mid market is drawing a lot of attention.

My guess is that Dell may do better here than Sun with this part of the middle market, and that the EqualLogic purchase will turn out to be a good one. Dell now owns about the best iSCSI SAN products, and its straightforward server designs will similarly appeal. If the company can achieve good integration and make the combined platform turnkey for virtualization, it'll be hard to beat.

One wonders what this all means for Dell's relationship with EMC, which calls for building some of EMC's lower end iSCSI systems, ones which are not as good as EqualLogic's.

Art Wittmann is a freelance journalist and writer with 30 years of experience in IT and IT journalism. Wittmann specializes in IT infrastructure, cloud computing and data center issues. Email him at Follow him on twitter @artwittmann

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