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Server Specs: Vendors promise CMDB interoperability

Vendors promise CMDB interoperability; Gartner lists its 2006 cool vendors; NEC servers to ship with Active Upgrade

Vendors promise CMDB interoperability

BMC Software Inc., Fujitsu Ltd., Hewlett-Packard Co. and IBM today announced plans to create a new interoperability specification designed to enable customers to federate and access information from multi-vendor IT infrastructures. The companies plan to submit a draft specification to an industry standards organization later this year.

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Working together, the companies promise to develop an industry specification for sharing information between configuration management databases (CMDBs) and other data repositories. As a multi-vendor specification, it will provide companies with greater choice and flexibility in terms of adding new hardware, applications and middleware.

An industry standard for federating and accessing IT information will integrate communication between CMDBs, which hold details related to the components of an IT infrastructure, including information about servers, storage devices, networks, middleware, applications and data. An accurate CMDB can help an IT staff understand the relationships and dependencies among these various components. However, with no standard way for different vendors' CMDBs and other tools to share data, IT information must be collected manually -- a time-consuming and costly process.

The specification is intended to support the procedures that organizations use to manage their IT operations, such as those described by the IT Infrastructure Library, a customizable set of best practices.

Gartner lists its 2006 'cool vendors'

Gartner Inc. recently released its short list of "Cool Vendors in Emerging Technologies" for 2006. Included were Milpitas, Calif.-based Rackable Systems, a provider of rack-optimized servers and chassis that enable densities similar to blade servers but have nontraditional cooling abilities, such as a "chimney" at the center of each cabinet to channel heat out through the top and lessening the need for hot and cold aisles, the company claims.

Another company, Liberty Lake, Wash.-based SprayCool, peddles in-rack cooling that uses a liquid similar to water in its ability to transfer heat but does not conduct electricity and remains environmentally safe, according to the company.

Also listed were two virtualization outfits. Herndon, Va.-based Parallels offers an inexpensive ($49) virtualization product Gartner said is ideal for IT managers wanting to learn more, who need a simple workstation virtual machine environment for testing. Duluth, Ga.-based Invirtus' claims its VM Optimizer software can reduce virtual machine image size by up to 80%., making the often several gigabyte files easier to transport and store.

NEC servers to ship with Active Upgrade

NEC is dressing up up one of its fault-tolerant servers with a management package from Microsoft designed to enable software installs without rebooting. To maintain a secure Windows operating environment it is a regularity to install hot-fix patches and such, but to do so often requires that servers be shut down and brought up for changes to take effect. "Active Upgrade allows system administrators to initiate a 'virtual split' of the FT [fault tolerant] server system from the console to manage and minimize the downtime while installing critical hot-fix operating system patches, service packs, applications and system software," according to NEC. "In addition, server rollback capabilities ensure step-by-step data protection." Express5800/320Ma Fault Tolerant servers, shipping this month at a list price of $30,000, include hardware polishes as well. It comes in three configurations: 3.2, 3.6, or dual-core 2.8GHz Xeon chips, as well as remote management tools and improved I/O.

Avocent inks deal for remote enviro-monitoring

Avocent Corp. recently made an agreement with an independent software vendor that would allow IT managers to be off site but still able to check in on the specifics of their data center's physical environment. Avocent offers DSView 3 software, which is designed to enable remote access control via IP over servers, serial and power devices. The deal links the software to Uptime Devices' SensorHub equipment, which monitors the temperature, humidity, airflow, water, voltage and security in a data center.

Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail: Matt Stansberry, Site Editor

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