Running on Automatic
- By Peter Varhol
One of the important reasons for considering virtualization in your data center is server consolidation. You want to be able to swap virtual machines (VMs) with specific server loads in and out of the hardware as needed. On the surface, it seems like a very flexible way to take advantage of all those servers.
In practice, however, this can be difficult work. VMs are typically bound to the I/O characteristics and addresses of specific hardware boxes, so moving them to a free box on an ad hoc basis requires some manual effort. Clients need to know where to find their servers, and enterprise apps have to be able to locate their databases. The reality of the perceived flexibility is often less than you'd expect.
Scalent Systems' Scalent Virtual Operating Environment (V/OE) effectively automates the virtual data center to address this gap. Its focus is flexibility in repurposing servers. For example, Scalent V/OE automatically adjusts network connectivity and storage access. The server maintains the same addressing and connectivity even as you move the software stack from machine to machine.
Scalent V/OE repurposes existing machines on the fly for automatic failover, and doesn't require manual intervention. You can bring up a failed server on new hardware using the same network and storage access and addressing.
There's enormous flexibility in being able to move VMs seamlessly between servers. For example, in business continuity situations, you can move critical apps from damaged servers and onto boxes that are less critical at the moment.
Scalent V/OE consists of three components -- the Scalent Controller, Scalent Console and a number of Scalent Agents. The Controller manages the physical and virtual hardware, software and network configurations. It installs on a standard Linux distribution and x86 physical server.
If you're wondering how you can achieve the promised flexibility in a VM environment without a lot of manual effort, it's worthwhile to look at the Scalent V/OE.
Peter Varhol is the executive editor,
reviews of Redmond magazine and has more than 20 years of experience as a software
developer, software product manager and technology writer. He has graduate degrees
in computer science and mathematics, and has taught both subjects at the university