The importance of systems management in the datacenter should not be underestimated. As deployment of all types and sizes of servers has continued unabated, IT organizations can no longer afford the manpower and resource expense of simply trusting that the vast server farm will operate efficiently without human intervention. While UNIX and mainframe operations have recognized this for some time, for many x86-based server installations, it is only recently that corporate realities have mandated the same degree of operational efficiency and efficacy for all IT servers.
In many organizations the sheer number of x86 servers exceeds that of other platforms, yet expectations for systems management are often not commensurate. Organizations that have begun to address the manageability and cost considerations of x86 deployments have likely come to realize that while there are many vendors of x86 server hardware, uniform systems management is a less developed craft in this market segment.
The need to remain competitive in todays marketplace has led organizations to demand greater flexibility in IT service delivery. In particular, virtualization of underutilized server assets is a method by which to improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of server investments, yet most system management approaches have remained bifurcated between the physical and virtual worlds.
In this paper, we examine the importance of ITs ability to deliver dynamic services that are closely aligned with business needs while maximizing the cost-effectiveness of all IT resources. We also review how IBM is advancing the Systems Management discipline in the x86 environment to be consistent with its other hardware platforms. With the total systems management experience, IBM has positioned itself to address the need for holistic Systems Management of x86-based servers as well as their virtualized brethren within the larger context of the data center.
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