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IBM’s new management console drives unified control

IBM’s new management console drives unified control

Your core revenue-generating product may be goods and services, but smart organizations know that’s not enough. ERP, transaction processing, business analytics, storage, networking—the number and complexity of systems required to do business has exploded. The sheer volume of information can be overwhelming, and in a business environment driven by round-the-clock, global operations, the pressure never stops. The market moves fast; your computing platform needs to move even faster. That’s where IBM’s new Systems Director Management Console* (SDMC) comes in. By upgrading from current management tools, companies can streamline operations, speed startup, reduce personnel needs and position the enterprise for future success.

A system is only as good as the tools used to manage it. Until now, the Power Systems* platform has featured good tools, but a lot of them. For BladeCenter* servers and small-tier boxes, clients need the built-in Integrated Virtualization Manager software. For rack-based Power Systems servers, they could choose Systems Director software, but the gold standard has always been IBM’s Hardware Management Console (HMC). A physical appliance used for front-end management tasks like creating or modifying LPARs, one HMC lets administrators manage dozens of servers, monitoring resources, tracking errors and so on using—you guessed it—yet another UI. Meanwhile, IT staff running UNIX* servers have traditionally worked with command-line instructions and/or scripting.

The bevy of interfaces didn’t present a problem back when one type of box could satisfy an enterprise’s computing needs, but today, things are different. Now, IT staffs find themselves juggling mixes of hardware platforms ranging from Power Systems servers to x86 and System z* servers, supporting the underlying physical infrastructure even as they struggle to manage the virtualization layer that rides on top. Somewhere in there, administrators also must find time to deploy new business services and develop new revenue-generating products to move the business forward.

Representing a broad strategic initiative for IBM, SDMC jumps off from HMC, providing a similar physical structure but with augmented disk space and memory. The biggest benefit, however, lies not in the hardware but in the software. SDMC is standardized around IBM’s Systems Director software, with a special-purpose variant of the software designed to manage Power Systems environments. By switching from HMC to SDMC, Power Systems users can toss out the other UIs and handle all of their system-administration needs through one interface that will offer increasing levels of functionality.

“As we get to use SDMC more, several benefits are becoming evident,” says Dick Cosby, system administrator at Electronic Data Processing Services, which has been evaluating a prerelease version. “I find SDMC navigation very consistent, making the Systems Director console much easier to use than HMC. This also makes it easier to find the new features in SDMC, which include more server information and tools than what we’ve been accustomed to. This will make the transition to the SDMC very easy and productive.”

“I find SDMC navigation very consistent, making the Systems Director console much easier to use than HMC.” —Dick Cosby, system administrator, Electronic Data Processing Services

Kristin Lewotsky is a freelance technology writer based in Amherst, N.H.


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