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Sun Jumps Into System Management With Ops Center

Instead of offering virtualization and system management as separate products, the company sees them as part of the same thing in its emerging xVM product line.

Sun Microsystems on Tuesday issued its data center software, Ops Center, as its first installment of an xVM suite of virtualization and system management products.

Instead of offering virtualization and system management as separate products, Sun sees them as part of the same thing in its emerging xVM product line. Ops Center, furthermore, is browser based, meaning data center administrators can activate their Ops Center management console from a remote location, explained Oren Teich, director of product management.

Ops Center can discover all x86 and Sun UltraSparc servers by scanning the network, even if the server is not running.

It can provision a bare metal server with the Linux or Solaris operating system from the console. Ops Center can supply a Linux server with the desired RPMs or Linux modules packaged in the standard format established by Red Hat. It can update the BIOS routines in firmware on an x86 or UltraSparc server, giving the server an updated system image and completing a task automatically that sometimes takes a human administrator several hours to do manually.

"Sun has a standard way of provisioning a secure UltraSparc or x86 server," said Teich in an interview. The Ops Center user is aided by a pop up wizard the prompts the administrator to chose a server profile and helps with the provisioning steps. Once running, the server operating systems can be patched or updated remotely.

In the user interface, Sun has departed from other system management vendors by referring to "Gear" instead of "Assets." It also uses the phrase "Teams" to refer to groups of users with shared privilege levels.

The management console is designed around asynchronous operation, so that automated tasks get carried out in background as use of the console continues or at a later time if the target system isn't immediately available. "That way you don't sit and wait if you're updating 1,000 servers," Teich said.

In addition to getting real servers up and running, Ops Center can be used to commission virtual machines and assign them resources.

"Sun xVM Ops Center is the next milestone in delivering on our Sun xVM virtualization strategy," said Steve Wilson, VP of xVM products, in a prepared statement Tuesday.

Supported subscriptions for Ops Center are priced at $100 to $350 a year per managed server, depending on level of support sought.

Sun has released the source code for Ops Center as open source, donated to the community under the GPL license.

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