Today  we are officially announcing the launch of Active System Manager 8.2 , the latest release of Dell’s unified management and automation solution.  Here are the exciting new features of this release

Infrastructure visibility

With this release, IT teams have even more visibility into the status and health of their IT infrastructure and services, giving them easy access to the critical information they need to maintain business continuity.

  • A new user interface improves on ASM’s already intuitive navigation and comprehensive dashboard view of IT resources
  • A port view capability provides visual mapping of physical to virtual infrastructure and clear notification of connectivity issues for faster root cause identification and resolution.
  • Expanded infrastructure and service-level health monitoring gives IT administrators an aggregated view into service-level health, helping them to be proactive in dealing component failures that could impact running services

Openness and flexibility
Continuing to expand on ASM’s open and extensible architecture, in addition to published API’s, ASM 8.2 includes an Application Software Developer Kit (SDK) and some new additions to the ASM compatibility list broadening the scope of infrastructure and applications that can take advantage of ASM’s powerful automation capabilities.

  • ASM’s SDK and service templates make it simple for IT organizations to create and deploy complex applications using readily available open source Puppet modules.
  • Thousands of application resource modules are available on puppet forge and users can create their own Puppet-based application modules independently and import them into ASM templates for fast, automated deployment
    • The ASM compatibility list continues to grow giving customers the ability to manage even more of their IT resources with ASM.  ASM 8.2 includes support of new hardware including:
      • Servers: Dell PowerEdge C6320
      • Adapters: Intel M-10GB X520-k DP
      • Storage: Dell SC9000, Dell PS6610
      • Software: vSAN 6.1 on Dell PowerEdge R730xd

 

Deeper integration with VMware environments
Building on ASM’s existing integrations with VMware vCenter and vRealize Orchestrator, starting with release 8.2, ASM will be adding increasing capabilities for VMware Virtual SAN

  • ASM 8.2 includes support for VMware Virtual SAN 6.1 for our recently announced VSAN-ready nodes based on the Dell PowerEdge RX730XD, which will dramatically reduce the number of steps required to take to get a cluster up and running and to maintain consistent firmware levels.
  • ASM’s integration with VMware vCenter, vRealize and now Virtual SAN, creates a full-featured and highly optimized private and hybrid cloud platform with end-to-end automation capabilities
  • ASM 8.2 adds support for discovery and lifecycle management of pre-existing infrastructure (on the ASM compatibility list) in VMWare ESXi environments
  • Customers with existing VMware ESXi clusters can now bring the powerful automation and management capabilities of ASM into their IT environment.

 

Detail on ASM 8.2 features and benefits

New user interface 

An IT administrator’s window into their IT resources needs to be easy to use and deliver the valuable information needed to keep things up and running. ASM 8.2 has a new user interface that does just that.

  • Streamlined and simplified with even more intuitive navigation
  • Seamlessly layered flows that delivery the right content at the right time
  • A centralized view of IT resources that provides meaningful information that helps users make the right decisions

ASM port view 


The new graphical port view enables visual mapping of physical and virtual infrastructure and clear notification of connectivity issues


  • When network connectivity issues arise, IT teams typically spend a considerable amount of time doing hit and miss trouble shooting to get to the root of the issue, often times experiencing outages and failed services.
  • The new ASM port view enables visual mapping of physical to virtual infrastructure and clear notification of connectivity issues.
  • Graphical representation of network layout allows for quick trouble shooting to pinpoint the source of network communications issues, helping IT teams maintain business continuity and deliver more consistent, reliable IT services
  • Port View assists in clarification of network communications found in various fabrics including but not limited to MAC addresses, WWNs, NIC Partitions, VLAN identification, etc.

Infrastructure and IT service-level monitoring

To maintain business continuity, it’s imperative that the underlying technology that supports the business operates smoothly without interruption.The pressure on IT teams to keep IT resources and services up and running is an ever increasing challenge. 

  • ASM 8.2 provides expanded infrastructure health monitoring for chassis, servers, IO modules, storage devices and networking devices.
  • Once a collection of infrastructure (server, storage, switches) is deployed for a particular workload, IT administrators can get an aggregated view into service-level health.

ASM monitors the service as a whole. If there’s an issue with one of the components in the service, the service health status will go into a warning state giving administrators the ability to deal with issues quickly and keep services running.

Application-level Software Development Kit (SDK) 

  • With the 8.2 release, we continue to expand the openness and extensibility of ASM, broadening its scope and capabilities with even more flexibility for customers and partners.
  • ASM 8.2 includes a new application-level Software Development Kit (SDK)
  • ASM’s SDK and service templates make it simple for IT organizations to create and deploy complex applications using readily available open source Puppet modules.
  • Puppet Modules are reusable, sharable units of Puppet code. You can use modules to extend Puppet across your infrastructure by automating tasks such as setting up a database, web server, or mail server.
  • Thousands of application resource modules are available on puppet forge which is a repository of puppet modules written by the open source community
  • You can create your own Puppet-based application modules independently and import them into ASM templates
  • An IT administrator can use the ASM application SDK along with puppet modules to enable multiple applications to be better controlled and sequenced at the application level of the template and service
  • A hardware resource Module SDK is also planned for a future ASM release to enable a plug-in framework to add support for new hardware elements as plug-ins as needed, without the need to wait for the next release of ASM for support.

 

Expanded compatibility list
The ASM compatibility list continues to grow giving customers the ability to automate and manage even more of their IT resources with ASM.

ASM 8.2 includes support of new hardware including:

  • Servers: Dell PowerEdge C6320
  • Adapters: Intel M-10GB X520-k DP
  • Storage: Dell SC9000, Dell PS6610
  • Software: vSAN 6.1 on Dell PowerEdge R730xd

Learn more about ASM's Hardware Compatibility List

ASM support for VMware Virtual SAN run ready node

  • Beginning with release 8.2, ASM will be adding increasing support for VMware Virtual SAN environments. 
  • ASM 8.2 includes support for VMware Virtual SAN 6.1 for our recently announced VSAN-ready nodes based on the Dell PowerEdge RX730XD . This will dramatically reduce the number of steps customers have to take to get a cluster up and running and to ensure consistent firmware updates and consistency.
  • Dell Active System Manager’s integration with VMware vCenter, vRealize and now Virtual SAN, creates a full-featured and highly optimized private and hybrid cloud platform with end-to-end automation capabilities
  • Full support for VMware Virtual SAN 6.2 will be available in a subsequent release of ASM
     

Support for pre-existing VMware ESXi clusters

  • Customers with existing VMware ESXi clusters can now bring the powerful automation and management capabilities of ASM into their IT environment.
  • ASM now supports discovery and lifecycle management of pre-existing infrastructure (on the ASM compatibility list) in VMWare ESXi environments
  • This includes support for importing existing ESXi hosts and clusters as ASM resources, and the ability to consume and use them without requiring ASM to have originally provisioned them, adding ASM’s powerful automation capabilities to a customer’s existing VMware environment.
  • IT teams also get access to key ASM features including infrastructure level health and firmware updates that can be leveraged in their existing IT environment..
  • For customers with existing VMware ESXi clusters, ASM can add instant value to deploying, monitoring the health and doing firmware updates... typically time-consuming tasks...


PXE-free environmental support

  • Support of bare metal OS deployment using iDRAC BootToNetworkISO allows for Dell server provisioning without requiring the use of PXE.
  • Creating the best deployment and configuration experience without having to deploy PXE
  • Leveraging iDRAC with LifeCycle Controller
  • Use auto provisioning setting in BIOS for easy discovery