Innovation and Openness in Data Center Management

For the future-ready enterprise, IT organizations need a way to bridge between current infrastructure and future investments in order to connect, innovate and grow. Unified management and automation are crucial to bridge that gap, to increase data center efficiency, and to provide the agility and flexibility to keep up with an unpredictable future.

Today we are proud to announce the launch of Active System Manager (ASM) 8.1.  This release is a milestone on our journey as we continue to deliver on our promise of an increasingly open and extensible automation platform.  In ASM 7.5, we first introduced the concept of enabling comprehensive infrastructure and workload automation tasks all from a single unified console. In ASM 7.6 and 8.0 we built on this strong foundation to deliver service mobility, comprehensive firmware and lifecycle management, and wizard-drive automation for initial configuration and onboarding, plus many other features – all while retaining the intuitive and service-centric approach that is the hallmark of ASM.

With ASM 8.1, we continue to expand the functionality and the openness of the platform by releasing the Application Programming Interface (API) that enables the full capability of the system to be accessed programmatically by customers and partners alike.  While the possibilities for integration are practically endless, a few key examples include service catalogs, multi-cloud portals, service desk software, monitoring software, and reporting and analytic software, to name just a few.

You can view the Dell4Enterprise blog post announcing ASM 8.1 here. For all the details on ASM 8.1, please read below.

 

New Features in ASM 8.1

For details on the ASM APIs, as well as additional functionality based on customer feedback, please see below.

  • Published REST APIs enable integration into existing management tools and process.  As mentioned above, with 8.1 we have released our APIs – enabling applications and scripts to directly interface with ASM’s key features and functions. We have also included sample code, demonstrating some of the key ASM workflows such as service template deployment. For more details, see the ASM REST API Reference Guide.
     
  • Configure and provision a Dell PowerEdge FX2 chassis in a few clicks. With enhanced discovery and initial configuration provided through wizard-driven automation of the server, chassis, and IOA network components, you can configure and provision an FX2 system in just a few clicks. To discover how simple it is to onboard a new chassis see our video series.
     
  • Analyze Dell PowerEdge 13G server performance. By using iDRAC with Lifecycle Controller and ASM, you can view and analyze the overall system, CPU, IO, and memory performance data and store it for a full year. 

  

 

  • Easily deploy, manage, and scale IT services. With ASM 8.1, you now have the ability to add workload networks to a running service.  This capability is in addition to existing features like scaling resources up and down and decommissioning services.
     
  • Simplify RAID configuration and configure granular BIOS settings. With advanced settings in the server section of our service templates, users can easily import settings from a server or a configuration file, create multiple volumes, and configure all the available BIOS settings.
     
  • Support for additional 13th generation PowerEdge servers, as well as other compatibility list additions. For full details see the full 8.1 compatibility matrix.
     
  • Template sharing and file attachments.  In 8.1 we have introduced the ability to import and export templates.  When running ASM at multiple sites, master templates can be created at one site and shared with all the others.  Template file attachments enable easy template documentation to ensure instructions and guidance for using the template are included when moving from one site to another.
     
  • Easy installation and in-place upgrades.  ASM is delivered as a virtual appliance that runs on either VMware ESXi or Microsoft Hyper-V. To discover how easy it is to install, see our ASM getting started video series.  In addition, customers can seamlessly update to new versions of Active System Manager without having to do a full appliance replacement.  This reduces risk and downtime when doing a software upgrade.
     
  • Switch firmware baselines and compliance updates.  In addition to servers, custom firmware bundles can now be uploaded for switch firmware and used to ensure updated compliance. Compliance reports have also been simplified to demonstrate which component is causing a service to be non-compliant. Below you can see an example of a firmware compliance report.

  • Enhanced Error reporting and logging.  More robust logging has been added to service deployments and is easily accessible from the service view.  In addition, easy access to logs by components has been surfaced in the ASM user interface to aid in troubleshooting failures.

 

Summary

With all these new capabilities, ASM brings profound speed, simplicity, and openness to the management of today's complex IT environments, allowing you to:

  • Accelerate growth & innovation with fast and responsive IT automation
     
  • Optimize IT operations by simplifying and unifying enterprise systems management
     
  • Increase agility with an open and heterogeneous architecture

 

In a vivid example of the speed and ease of use that ASM delivers, ASM 8.1 lets you deploy a new IT service from a template in just 6 steps and as little as 25 seconds of hands-on administrator time!

And for a head-to-head comparison and details on how ASM is faster, easier, and more flexible than a Cisco solution, view the recently released Principle Technologies Whitepaper.

  

Dell Active System Manager accelerates innovation with fast IT automation, reduces risks by unifying enterprise systems management, and future-proofs your environment with an open and extensible architecture.

And in case you were wondering or have been following along, in the footsteps of the previous releases that were code-named Brubeck and Coltrane, this one was called Dorsey.  The jazz tradition is characterized by creativity and innovation … and so is ASM.