Use cases for management/consoles

I think I’ve got a pretty good idea how people use consoles and do management for large centralised servers either UNIX or Mainframe based. What I’m quickly learning is that while I can speculate on how organisations would do management and use consoles for x86 servers, there doesn’t seem to be a concensus, or many clear use cases.

As you’ll see in the coming weeks, Dell have worked with partners to come up with some pretty compelling technologies in the management space, and especially in consoles. I can’t claim to have had anything to do with those. However, we are now on the road to make some pretty important decisions on where we go next, what technologies we use, especially in standards, and how we tie a number of the existing threads and product offerings together.

I worked on a similar decision while at IBM, it turned into a pretty vigorous and fractious debate, but unless things have changed since December, they’ll be implementing the broad outline as part of their Power 7 Server rollout.

Now, I could just get Dell lined up to do the same thing. Only I don’t think that would be right for Dell customers, and specifically around x86 rack and row management, and even probably down at the Small business level, although perversly, the proposal for IBM Power would have a lot on interest for SMB customers, but for a whole different set of reasons.

First thing this morning I got invited to listen to AG Lafley, the P&G CEO who is also a member of the Dell board of Directors. He made some interesting observations about being customer driven, it was a refreshing reminder.

So, rather than develop some “best effort” use cases for server management internally, I’d like your help. Would you be willing to send me a chart or diagram that shows how you manage your servers and how you use consoles? I’d like to know how many servers per consolve, connectivity between console and server(s), speed of connection, location of any firewalls etc. How many people need access to the console and so on. Mostly initially though I’m looking for some schematics that show the console, the servers, connectivity, placement of firewalls, secure zones etc.

Feel free to leave a comment here, I’ll email you directly or you can send any questions or diagrams to mark_cathcart at dell dot com .

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About & Contact

I'm Mark Cathcart, formally a Senior Distinguished Engineer, in Dells Software Group; before that Director of Systems Engineering in the Enterprise Solutions Group at Dell. Prior to that, I was IBM Distinguished Engineer and member of the IBM Academy of Technology. I am a Fellow of the British Computer Society ( I'm an information technology optimist.

I was a member of the Linux Foundation Core Infrastructure Initiative Steering committee. Read more about it here.

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