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Scali Manage 5 Offers to Tame Linux Cluster Proliferation

Many Clusters, One Interface

  • January 24, 2006
  • By Brian Proffitt

As Linux cluster use in the datacenter grows with each passing day, a unique problem has begun to develop, the kind of problem most people like to have: there seems to be just too many Linux clusters out there.

Well, perhaps not too many. Still, according to Scali, Linux cluster use has grown to the point that cluster users need a whole new kind of cluster management software, such as Scali's new Manage 5, released today.

Scali's primary business is software for cluster and storage management, so one can hardly blame them for raising this issue. According to Rick Friedman, Scali's director of marketing, the problem of cluster proliferation came about because until recently, cluster deployment has been driven up through organizations from the technical user community. This, as opposed to corporate IT managers driving clusters down into the company from above.

For instance, one group of engineers would get together in the corporate cafeteria and point out all the extra servers they had lying about. One of them decides to build a cluster, and pretty soon, they have one up and running.

This alone presented Scali with a good opportunity, since they could gear themselves to give these new clusters the management software they needed. Now, however, the problem is that within a given organization, multiple clusters are showing up with multiple departments and groups--and sometimes the departments don't even know the other clusters exist. This is led to corporate IT staffs to begin examining their cluster capabilities from the top down and, Friedman says, they want to know how to combine all of this cluster technology into one cohesive force.

Enter Manage 5, which Scali says will provide a single-point interface for 1,000+ nodes, across heterogeneous cluster environments.

Friedman described the key aspects of the new software in a prebrief with LinuxPlanet. Besides the sheer number of nodes that can be managed, Manage 5 will also comply with more standards, both on a messaging and cluster management level. These standards include XML, WBEM, and OpenSSL, as well as the Common Information Model of cluster management.

One new feature in this release will be image-based deployment management, where formerly Scali only used RPM-based management tools. Now users can opt for either, which Friedman indicated was a string customer demand. These deployment methods can be used across homogeneous and heterogeneous environments for initial deployment and patch management. Besides single-point controls, data collection has also been aggregated, so users can see their entire cluster system literally in a single glance and be able to drill down to problem areas on any given machine within multi-node clusters.

Along with all of these sysadmin features geared to make multi-cluster management easier, Friedman also described the implementation of job-oriented features that he says no other product has. These job features will allow application users to identify troublespots in their application runs. <

If, for example, an application is using very little CPU resources, but the network is slammed, then this can be identified and adjustments made to increase bandwidth. This toolset will allow the non-admin users who are focused on getting their apps running smoothly a set of data that they can use to solve bottlenecks.

Scali has made significant advances in multi-cluster management within this release of Manage which is available now.For more information, visit the Scali Manage product site.

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