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Data Center Automation Critical for Managing Virtual Servers
In a recently released report, Pragmatic Approaches To Server Virtualization (Forrester Research, Inc., June 19, 2006), data center automation is cited as a key recommendation for bringing down the cost of managing large numbers of physical and virtual servers.

Opsware Inc. provides an application-level data center automation solution spanning servers, network and applications. By automating labor-intensive management chores such as provisioning, change management, patching and updating, Opsware enables seamless management of virtual and physical servers to help ensure a higher level of consistency, quality and security across the entire data center infrastructure.

With the introduction of virtualization, enterprises are under pressure to manage a significantly larger number of servers. While virtualization decreases hardware costs, it creates a staggering increase in virtual server instances, each of which has the same maintenance requirements as a physical server. With more servers to manage, IT operating costs quickly escalate and the entire infrastructure becomes more complex and difficult to manage.

To leverage the efficiencies of virtualization, Forrester highlights data center automation as "a critical means by which firms can bring down the cost of managing large numbers of physical or virtual servers by automating many repetitive or error-prone tasks." Forrester's report makes the important point that, "Rather than investing in point products for software distribution or patching, firms should be considering an integrated approach to configuration management."

Opsware provides an integrated solution for data center automation. To effectively manage virtual environments, enterprises must automate the full lifecycle of the software stack including provisioning, patching and configuration management. Furthermore, Opsware's IT Automation software manages virtual servers in the same manner as physical servers, thereby ensuring the same policies are applied, configurations are consistent and patches are up-to-date.

"Virtualization and data center automation are highly complementary. When deployed together, they can provide significantly greater savings on both hardware and software management costs," said Tim Howes, CTO at Opsware Inc. "Data center automation is must-have technology for any customer deploying virtualization at scale; it provides the ability to manage virtual machines in the same manner as physical servers without adding incremental cost."

Additional findings from the Forrester report include:

-- The removal of many barriers to server growth (like cost and real estate) leads many firms to fear a boom in the number of new virtual machines they'll have to manage.

-- Almost 60% of respondents are already using server virtualization in some context and the most popular environments for server virtualization are mostly infrastructure applications.

The Forrester report was based on a survey of over 50 IT Leaders across North America.

Published Wednesday, August 30, 2006 10:16 AM by David Marshall
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