SUSE Manager Management Pack for System Center announced

by Shijaz Abdulla on 10.06.2012 at 02:34

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On May 21, at the Open Source Business Conference 2012 at San Francisco, Microsoft announced a new beta management pack that integrates SUSE Manager with the Microsoft System Center 2012. The product will allow IT departments to manage Windows and Linux environments as one. 

The integration between the two management systems will maintain compliance in Linux server environments, particularly in keeping Linux systems patched and updated, said Fabio Cunha, Microsoft solutions technology evangelist, who gave a demo of the new technology at the conference.

Interoperability is also essential in cloud computing environments where servers, storage, networking and software are managed as one complete IT resource, said Sandy Gupta, general manager of the Microsoft Open Solutions Group, which manages Microsoft’s relationships with the open-source community.

The cloud “needs to be adaptable to heterogeneous environments where virtualization is done on multiple hypervisors and operating systems,” said Gupta, in a keynote address at the conference

Additional details about the System Center and SUSE Manager integration can be found in this blog post on the SUSE Website.

Retail giant Target runs on Microsoft Hyper-V and System Center

by Shijaz Abdulla on 25.02.2012 at 16:47

Listen to technology leaders from Target, a US retailing company with over 1750 stores throughout the country, on how Microsoft Virtualization and Management technologies help them remotely manage IT environments in each store, save millions of dollars in operating cost, and provide a delightful customer experience.

"It reduces our operating expense by millions of dollars a year through power savings, break/fix maintenance savings, and avoided capital refresh." – Brad Thompson, Director – Infrastructure Engineering, Target

Target runs over 15,000 virtual machines on over 3600 Hyper-V hosts.

Partners: Earn up to 30% incentive with Microsoft solutions

by Shijaz Abdulla on 20.10.2011 at 18:19

The Solution Incentives reward partners for driving sales of specific Microsoft solutions, chosen for their growth and market potential. The program creates opportunities for partners to build new sustainable revenue streams and increase their value to customers.

What partner types can participate?
Solution incentives are customer segment and partner-type agnostic. Partners need to meet eligibility requirements and each opportunity being registered needs to meet the eligibility criteria described in the Program Guide, to be eligible for incentives.

What if the Solution Partner also transacts the order?
Whether the Partner is only advising the customer, or advising and transacting, there will be no difference in the solution incentives calculation and payment.

For more information, check out the following documents:

Management and Virtualization

Windows 7

Application Platform (Microsoft SQL Server)

Microsoft Lync

New to PSX? Check out the PSX resources here.

The Bigger Picture: Virtualization + Management

by Shijaz Abdulla on 01.11.2010 at 00:52

“Virtualization without management is more dangerous than not using virtualization in the first place.”
– Tom Bittman, Gartner VP & Analyst

So you realized that you need to virtualize. The idea of being able to run multiple workloads on a smaller number of boxes sounded interesting to you. You saw how virtualization can save you many a buck in hardware maintenance, energy, cooling, rack space, and were fascinated by it.

Server consolidation – now that’s a term you liked to hear. Sounds like its going to simplify things up, doesn’t it? The idea of putting more eggs in one basket. Yes, it reduces cost, but how are you going to ensure that these baskets are strong enough to hold your eggs and that they wont break under pressure?

So you let the ‘Hypervisor wars’ begin – Hyper-V, VMware, you decided and chose your weapon. “What next?” you say. Well, the battle has not yet begun. Today, the hypervisor is more like a commodity, whatever you choose, it will let you virtualize – the art and science of creating a thin layer that abstracts operating system environments from the underlying hardware.

Some hypervisors provide more features than the others. The choice is simple. What matters to you is (1) which of these hypervisor features do you really need for your business, and (2) is the feature that you get worth the cost and complexity that particular hypervisor brings with it?

I am of the view that any technology you implement should contribute to the business of your organization. If it does not support the business, then that technology is useless to your organization. If you, for example, chose VMware to virtualize your (otherwise primarily Microsoft) datacenter just because it offers ‘memory overcommit’, a feature which you will probably never use in the first place, (because is not recommended for production), then you know exactly what I’m talking about.

You could go online and spend hours scouring pages and pages of information comparing hypervisors from Microsoft and VMware, but what you’re looking at is basically a piece of code between 1.7 and 3.6 GB in size.

So what does really matter?

What really matters is Management. The ability to manage and monitor every service you offer in your datacenter, end-to-end, physical or virtual. What your users see is not the hypervisor, it is way beyond that – the users see the service that you’re offering. And a robust management tool helps you ensure that services you offer are healthy so that you meet your SLA.

Imagine being able to have to look at one single monitoring dashboard that will proactively alert you of problems on hardware, operating system environments, virtualization layers, apps running on physical servers, and apps running on virtual servers. Imagine being able to look at one interface to discover that your hardware is overheating, or your server power supply is not redundant, and then look at the same interface to discover there is a shortage of disk space on your physical host server or if an application service is stopped. Imagine looking at the very same interface to know that the outbound mail queue on your Exchange Server machine that you virtualized on Hyper-V (or VMware) is building up faster than it should, or discovering that a service on one of your Linux servers virtualized on Hyper-V is failing.

That, my friends, is what I call robust end-to-end management. Microsoft System Center provides you just that. Don’t virtualize without it.

Let’s take one step forward. Let’s say you’re a local bank and you have virtualized your web servers on Hyper-V. You’ve deployed System Center components for managing your gear. Let’s say that you get most hits on your website during the day. During your “peak” operating hours you need 3 machines in a load balancing configuration to handle the load. During “off peak” hours you barely have any traffic, so all you need is one server. In the absence of virtualization or management, you would still leave 3 physical machines running 24/7 to handle the load.

But when you have virtualization with System Center, things are different. System Center Operations Manager is monitoring your servers (physical and virtual) 24/7. You can configure System Center to raise an alert when the number of transactions on your application running on IIS on the first server exceeds a threshold ‘x’, and trigger an event that results in automatically starting the 2nd virtualized web server, and the third, and so on as the number of transactions increase. Similarly, when the number of transactions drop, the additional servers can be powered off automatically, freeing up processor, memory and other resources on the host machine, which can potentially be used by other services that require additional servers to be powered up during ‘off peak’ hours. Hence, you are able to run more servers than the capacity of your Hyper-V host machine by dynamically provisioning and de-provisioning servers and efficiently utilizing your resources. Because your management tool can now see inside your virtual machines. What this means, basically, is that you get ‘more bang for the buck’.

And this is what I’d call a ‘Dynamic Datacenter’. And that’s where we’re taking you with System Center and virtualization. We’re not arguing over who’s got the smallest hypervisor; we’re giving you the much bigger picture and what really matters to you and your datacenter at large.

VMware’s vCenter, on the other hand, does not see “inside” the guest. It cannot monitor the number of connections/sec on your web service, or the length of your Exchange mail queue or the number of transactions on your database. It just sees your VM from a hypervisor perspective and does not know how the application on that VM is performing (or even if it is running). And that’s not sufficient from a service level perspective.

Even if you run VMware, System Center can still work together with it and manage your VMware environment – but of course this is an integration with vCenter. You still have an island of a management tool that you’re joining together with System Center. When it’s an all-Microsoft platform, you definitely have the Microsoft advantage. Everything’s integrated by default and everything works.

Thanks for reading and be sure to subscribe to this blog for more to come.

Multi-server management for Forefront Protection for Exchange

by Shijaz Abdulla on 11.08.2010 at 10:25

You can now manage multiple servers running Forefront Protection for Exchange or SharePoint thanks to the multi-server management Script Kit.

You can download the script kit for free at the Microsoft Download Center, subject to acceptance of license terms.

In addition to the ability to manage multiple Forefront Protection Servers from a single location, this tool provides easily extensible command-line scripts that help enable server discovery, configuration deployment, and integration with existing management technologies. It also offers basic reporting capabilities to detect configuration drift and monitor server statistics.

Configuration Management and Reporting

  • Capture server configuration snapshots and push snapshots to any number of servers
  • Compare configuration of any number of servers or baselines
  • Obtain statistics from one or many servers, including information about infected files, detected malware, server health, and more
  • See summary and/or server detail views

Ease of Use

  • Discover Forefront Protection Servers and export information to a .CSV file
  • Use customizable Windows PowerShell™ scripts to enhance your existing automation