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Where the Cloud Touches Down: Simplifying Data Center Infrastructure Management

Thursday, July 25, 2013
10:00 AM PT/1:00 PM ET

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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A Network Computing Webinar:
SDN First Steps

Thursday, August 8, 2013
11:00 AM PT / 2:00 PM ET

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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Desktop Virtualization Drives Security, Not Just Dollar Savings

Thin is back in, and you can thank server virtualization. We all know what happened last time IT tried to make business desktops smaller, leaner, and easier to manage: Users balked at being told they couldn't install their pet applications. IT realized that a data center-based operating system rendered on a diskless thin client yielded only marginal cost and manageability improvements. And security groups never took up the cause of terminal services because they worried about the implications of an attacker gaining access to the central server. But now, virtualization on the server side has paved the way for broader acceptance throughout the business. Today's virtual desktop infrastructure, or VDI, might not make your end users any happier than yesterday's thin clients did, but IT and information security pros are paying attention, and liking what they see.

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In a VDI, server memory is divvied up among individual virtual machines, bringing significant manageability and security benefits. This is a new paradigm in desktop computing--secure, mobile, and platform independent. Clients are "thin" in the sense that the operating system isn't tied to hardware but centrally stored. A compact, specialized desktop hypervisor is the sole interaction point between client and network.

All the big names in server virtualization have desktop offerings. VMware provided the push that got VDI into IT's consciousness. Citrix Systems, long a leader in terminal services, acquired XenSource last year, and Microsoft announced in March that it would buy VDI vendor Kidaro. At present, virtual desktops need Windows licenses just like their fat kin, so Microsoft is in a win-win situation. And not all your applications will be supported in a virtual environment--AutoDesk, for example, doesn't recommend using ProductStream or Vault virtually--but most mainstream apps will run fine. As a bonus, with virtual desktop infrastructure, you can strictly manage licensing and ensure that any given application is accessed only when and by whom it's meant to be used. Support for legacy systems that need nonstandard operating systems will be eased.

Not to be outdone, hardware vendors are moving in with offerings geared to VDI. Architecturally, VDI shifts the repository of user desktops to a central server or servers and requires a large, fast storage system--most likely, a storage area network. For users to take advantage of the latest and greatest hardware-assisted virtualization, systems equipped with CPUs optimized for hypervisors will provide the best performance. Intel is supporting VDI in a big way with its vPro and Virtualization Technology-embedded CPUs, and so is Advanced Micro Devices.


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