Managing a virtualized environment can be as challenging as an equivalent physical environment. Many of the same tasks still need to be performed. Some tasks at the physical level get reduced. But in many instances, there are the same number, or more instances, of OS images. Let's examine core management tasks performed in the data center and how Dell partners with industry-leading vendors to help customers with those tasks.

Systems Management Tasks

One way to think of management is by breaking the complete solution into its component parts. Every enterprise-class solution consists of at least three components: the physical server, the OS, and the application. And each of these components has four core management tasks performed against them: deployment, monitoring, optimizing, and maintaining.

If we stack these components and tasks, it might look like this:

VMware Management - The Dell TechCenter

  • Deploy – Installation of the server, OS, or application.
  • Monitor – Alerting and monitoring tasks. Are the server, OS, and application alive and healthy?
  • Optimize – Are virtual machines (VMs) running where they should? Are the server, OS, and application at capacity?
  • Maintain – Patch management, BIOS updates, inventory, backup, recovery, etc.


This stack represents the life cycle of all enterprise-class solutions. They must be deployed, monitored, optimized, and maintained. Deployment is typically a one-time operation. The other three are in a constant circular relationship. You monitor the solution for failure or performance; then optimize for better performance, maintain BIOS, firmware, or patches to keep the performance; and then start the cycle all over again.

Dell offers solutions in this stack and partners with industry leading vendors for other solutions in this stack. There is some level of overlap, so let's examine which product works best for each piece of the total solution.

Deploy

Dell and its partners offer many different solutions for deployment or provisioning of servers and solutions. Typically, deployment of a solution is thought of as a one-time process. In the virtualized environment, VMs may be redeployed many times throughout the day because of changing workload or environmental conditions.

Deployment tools offered from Dell

Monitor

Monitoring is critical to the success of any enterprise-class solution. "You can't manage what you don't measure," is a typical mantra often cited. It is true for these solutions as well. You must have the proper tools to measure, then baseline that measurement, and constantly monitor any differences in your baseline. Only then can you know if any changes to the solution are affecting your baseline positively or negatively.

You must also be able to monitor for any problems in the solution. You don't want your first alert of a problem to be the CEO saying that they can't access their e-mail.

Hardware-based tools:

Baseboard Managment Controller (BMC)
Dell Remote Access Controller (DRAC)

Software-based tools:

Dell OpenManage Server Administrator
Dell IT Assistant
Dell OpenManage Management Station Application (OMSA)
Microsoft MOM

Multi-vendor integration:

CA Unicenter
HP OpenView
IBM Tivoli Enterprise Console (TEC)
Symantec?

Optimize

PlateSpin
Vizioncore

Maintain

Dell OpenManage Subscription Service
Altiris Patch Management Solution
Microsoft SMS - MOM
Dell IT Assistant
Symantec

We've written a script to help with the automated installation of ESX patches.

Systems Management Deployment Guides/White Papers

Installing Dell OpenManage in a VMware ESX Server Software Environment
This document describes the supported OMSA versions, necessary steps to install and configure OMSA, and IT Assistant to manage VMware ESX servers.

Configuring Dell OpenManage IT Assistant 8.0 to Monitor SNMP Traps Generated by VMware ESX Server
This paper talks about configuring Dell™ OpenManage™ IT Assistant Version 8.0 to recognize and monitor SNMP traps generated by VMware ESX Server software by integrating VMware SNMP MIBs with IT Assistant.

Proactive Maintenance and Adaptive Power Management using Dell OpenManage Systems Management for VMware DRS Clusters
By Balasubramanian Chandrasekaran, Puneet Dhawan – Dec 2006

Dell Virtualization Solutions Engineering describes how administrators can combine the Dell OpenManage Systems Management suite with the cluster resources of VMware Infrastructure 3 to achieve proactive maintenance that enhances service continuity and adaptive power utilization that further drives down power and cooling costs.

Implementing Fault-tolerance through Dell OpenManage and the VMware Software Development Kit
By Dave Jaffe, Ph.D and Todd Muirhead – March 2005

For server consolidation, fault tolerance, and ease of administration, many enterprises have moved all or part of their data center applications onto virtual machines using VMware ESX Server running on multiple Dell servers.