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IBM Systems and TechnologyWhite PaperIBM Systems DirectorOptimized and simplified management of IT infrastructures
2 IBM Systems Director – Optimized and simplified management of IT infrastructures The priority foradministrators is toprovide IT resourcesand services when andwhere they’re needed.The question is, how?
Systems and Technology 3Contents Three key issues confront IT administrators: 4 Productivity: the leading concern of administrators • Productivity –Disparate and poorly integrated management 7 Cost control: doing more with less tools, a lack of visibility and insight that can enable proactive management, an inability to effectively manage pools of 9 Maintaining service levels: the core task of management resources and complex, labor-intensive management processes 11 A flexible management platform that evolves combine to prevent managers from being as responsive and with the business effective as they could be. • Cost control – Server sprawl, siloed and inflexible systems 11 Bringing it all together and poor utilization contribute to infrastructure costs. The complexity and inefficiency of management also drive up operational costs.For most IT managers today, “overstretched” is an under- • Service level requirements – The same issues that hurtstatement. They are practically drowning in work, putting productivity and drive up costs also impact service levels.in long hours performing mundane, repetitive tasks across Managers are challenged to find ways to meet the expecta-disparate platforms. With so much effort going into just tions of their stakeholders faster, better and more simply.keeping things running, it should come as no surprise thattoday, 66 percent of IT budgets are allocated to maintenance.1 It’s not easy to get past these challenges, with stagnant budgets and a steady stream of new demands, like the increasing useThe typical infrastructure is overly complex, poorly integrated of analytics or the rapid rollout of new products and services.and underutilized. It’s almost impossible to know precisely Fortunately, there is a way to ease the load on administrators,what the status of all systems is at any given time. Diverse one that addresses key management issues from productivityplatforms mean multiple, overlapping management tools and improvement to meeting service level requirements – whileprocesses, which hurt productivity. Deploying resources to also increasing business agility. It’s about a smarter approachmeet service demands can be complicated and inefficient, to computing built around an optimized, centrally managed,which drives cost up. The effective operation of such an highly automated infrastructure. It’s a way to provide IT thatenvironment is difficult at best. adapts to the business, rather than forcing the business to adapt to the infrastructure.
4 IBM Systems Director – Optimized and simplified management of IT infrastructuresWith such an approach, the business has the flexibility to multiple layers of management platforms and tools, enablingeasily deploy and manage both physical and virtual infra- faster and more flexible deployment of new applications andstructures – servers, storage, networks, applications – using workloads. A fully integrated solution, Systems Director cansystems tuned for their workloads to ensure peak perform- reduce the cost of administration by as much as 35 percent 2ance and efficiency. A well-managed, flexible and robust while simplifying tasks and improving service levels.infrastructure can make critical applications and informationmore available, reducing both planned downtime and The Systems Director story is centered on the daily life of theunexpected outages, and increasing service levels. It also IT manager. This IT professional is under constant pressure toforms the basis for the deployment of cloud services, which do more with less, be more responsive, increase performancefurther enhance business agility and IT effectiveness. and deliver IT services more reliably. Productivity, cost and service levels – these are the real-world management issues thatManagement is the backbone of this infrastructure, enabling Systems Director was built to handle. To illustrate how thiseffective and efficient administration of all IT resources powerful management platform can address these constantin a centralized, coordinated way. Virtualization is its founda- challenges, we’ll look at IBM Systems Director from severaltion, enabling systems that can be treated as flexible resource different angles.pools that make it simpler and faster to get the right resourcesin place to serve the needs of the business. Yet, without Productivity: the leading concernrobust management, virtualization cannot fully deliver on of administratorsthis promise. Management is what allows the data center to The immediate priority for administrators has always beenbe optimized. to ensure adequate capacity and provide IT resources and services when and where they’re needed, efficiently andThe IBM Systems Software management portfolio is the reliably. The question is, how? In a typical data center,integrating force, spanning the data center to bring visibility, administrators spend a lot of valuable time and humanautomation and control to the infrastructure. The cornerstone resources on routine operations. Again and again they haveof the portfolio is IBM Systems Director, which provides a told us that productivity is their leading issue.unified, “single pane of glass” platform for the managementof the entire heterogeneous infrastructure – multiple server There are many interconnected issues that impact productivity.platforms from x86 to IBM POWER® and mainframe, as The sheer volume of work, its reliance on human interven-well as storage and networking. Systems Director eliminates tion, the complexity of the management tasks, not knowing what’s going on – and most especially the inefficiency of the management tools – all combine to make it difficult to get the job done.
Systems and Technology 5To see why maintaining productivity is such a challenge, Productivity is affected by much more than labor-intensive,consider something as simple as data backup. At B C Jindal inefficient processes. The complexity of management is a majorGroup, a leading Indian business conglomerate, this routine factor. A heterogeneous infrastructure usually means multipleprocess was having far-reaching effects on the business. tools and management processes. A task like making sure allSystems were being taken offline, which hurt availability. servers have the correct operating system patches installed isValuable processing power was being consumed for backup simple in itself, but inefficient if it has to be done manually forwhen it could have been used to run useful workloads. many platforms. Administrators have to locate each machine, check its status, reassign its workload, take it offline, run theFrom the management point of view, though, the biggest issue patch, reboot and check the server, then return it to service.was how much effort it took. Four people were employed to Multiply this by dozens or even hundreds of servers, and in astart, monitor and check the success of each manual backup mixed environment, a separate set of management utilities willfor 30 servers of various kinds, with a full backup requiring as be needed for each platform.much as five hours – a tremendous cost in terms of humancapital, which carries significant implications for the systems IBM Systems Director takes a different approach, providingmanagement and staffing resources. a “single pane of glass” that combines management func- tions for all IT assets into a central console, with automatedNow, a combination of automated IBM Systems Software discovery, monitoring and management of assets and work-data management and IBM System Storage® hardware has loads. A real-time, dashboard view yields insight that helps thereduced the time by half, achieved a 66 percent reduction in administrator allocate resources more effectively and managestorage requirements and made fully automated data backup proactively instead of reactively.part of the business-as-usual daily workflow. B C Jindal hasbeen able to save at least one full-time employee equivalent Rather than burdening IT managers with multiple screens,as a result, freeing its staff to work on more urgent tasks. interfaces and processes from different vendors, SystemsThe infrastructure as a whole is now so easy to operate that Director brings it all together in one place, with one login.Jindal now runs the entire enterprise with a single manager. The same platform, energy and image management tools can be used across the entire heterogeneous IBM infrastructure, from System x ® to IBM POWER and other operating environments like Linux ® on IBM System z.
6 IBM Systems Director – Optimized and simplified management of IT infrastructuresWith a single management layer instead of many, produc- Systems Director makes key management tasks moretivity is increased, the task load is simplified, the need for efficient through automation that makes better use of the ITextensive training is eliminated and the chance for human manager’s time. In a virtualized infrastructure, for instance,error is lessened. The overall benefit is a marked simplifica- provisioning a new workload is a frequently recurring task thattion and streamlining of the management task flow. Systems takes up valuable time. Systems Director allows the processDirector does this through a combination of more effective, to be automated using a library of preconfigured systemconsolidated functionality and usability and extensive images. By reducing manual intervention, the server goesautomation. Together, these can increase staff productivity online sooner and the manager spends less time on the task.by up to 20 percent.3 That means faster time-to-value and greater business agility.The productivity improvements made possible by Systems Using Systems Director, IT resources can be more closelyDirector can have a major impact on the business as a aligned with the business. For example, a line-of-businesswhole. GHY International, a customs brokerage services manager can launch a data analysis and have the capacityprovider based in Winnipeg, Canada, has a lean IT depart- provisioned automatically. With no direct involvement atment with four staff. Those professionals had been spending all, the cost of management goes down and staff productivityover 90 percent of their time on server management and basic rises. And the IT administrator can spend more time onadministration. With a virtualized IBM infrastructure and value-added work, like the deployment of new servers andSystems Director, that workload is now on the order of five resources, new applications, new services and the develop-percent. According to Nigel Fortilage, Vice President of IT ment of strategic projects for the company.and CIO at GHY International, “The effect on productivitywas astounding because it allowed us to concentrate on new The same automated management processes that increaseservices to support GHY’s business strategy. We were able to productivity also help reduce risk. With less humanadd hundreds of thousands of dollars of value to the business intervention and fewer layers of management, there is lessas a result.” chance for error. The image library that makes resource allocation so efficient, for example, also helps to ensure that server deployment is done correctly. Once the configurations are set, there is no need for the manager to intervene.
Systems and Technology 7Cost control: doing more with less Focusing only on technology to reduce costs, however, is onlyAfter productivity, the second major concern for IT a partial solution; it must be managed well to deliver savings.managers is a clear mandate to meet capacity and performance The United Kingdom’s City and County Healthcare Groupdemands without increasing spending. Many budgets learned this lesson with its old infrastructure, which spreadremain at 2005 levels,4 while other firms are pulling back on servers among a small number of branch offices, all connectedspending. Forrester Research projections show decreases in to central systems at the head office. It was relatively low costoperating expenditures of 36 percent, and capital expenditures from an infrastructure standpoint, but it had a very highof 32 percent.5 management overhead. A consolidated, cloud-based data center was established with IBM Systems Director running on allAt the same time, service level requirements are increasing. servers. Achieving a single view and a centralized, remote pointAccording to IDC,6 in 2011 the amount of information of control has made the group administrators’ tasks far easier,created and replicated will exceed 1.8 zettabytes – 1.8 trillion allowing them to be more proactive, responsive and efficient,gigabytes – a nine-fold increase in just five years. Between 2007 while still being cost-effective.and 2010, digital data grew tenfold, and 90 percent of thatinformation is unstructured – requiring significant effort to Knowing precisely which assets are likely to be impacted byunderstand and analyze. These factors are driving a vicious a new business initiative can also allow the administrator tocycle in the data center. Inflexible IT is unable to respond to plan ahead rather than manage reactively. By knowing itsthe new demands, requiring more investment and more server true requirements at all times thanks to close monitoringsprawl. Costs – for equipment, power and cooling – soar, and with Systems Director, B C Jindal has been able to leveragemanagement becomes more complex. virtualization to upgrade its infrastructure in exact step with business demands. The new infrastructure is so well utilizedWith many companies not allowing IT spending to grow, that the company has been able to reduce the number ofadministrators are looking for ways to ensure adequate servers it needs to buy – thus reducing its predicted capitalcapacity and deliver services within the limits of strict budget expenditure by 50 percent.constraints. A smarter computing infrastructure addressesthese issues by making better use of IT assets and through thecost savings made possible by more effective management.Reducing the time and effort spent on administration yieldsconsiderable operational cost savings, while improvingflexibility, availability and utilization allows capital spendingto be deferred or even avoided entirely.
8 IBM Systems Director – Optimized and simplified management of IT infrastructuresAnother way that companies are cutting costs is by physically By providing greater visibility and insight into asset use,reducing the size of the infrastructure. Fewer servers mean along with the ability to easily build resource pools toless capital cost, lower license fees and less power and cooling. support dynamic workloads, Systems Director allowsIt also means less maintenance and management to begin administrators to manage IT resource utilization far morewith, which allows staff to engage in more productive activities. effectively. The result is a more streamlined, less costlyAdding Systems Director to the mix cuts the cost of admin- and less complex infrastructure.istration still further. Systems Director’s ability to manage across platforms fromCodornÍu, Spain’s leading producer of sparkling wine, had a blade to mainframe, as well as storage and networking, hasmix of servers and miscellaneous storage systems that was important implications for increasing the cost-effectivenessvulnerable to outages and manually managed at a very high of IT. Knowing where workloads are running and how they’recost. Introducing new services and applications was slow and performing by monitoring through the Systems Directorrequired the purchase of more servers, which then had to be console can help improve service and utilization. With theconfigured and deployed. A cloud infrastructure managed by insight provided by Systems Director, workloads can be shiftedIBM Systems Director has cut administration costs in half and to the most suitable platform and assets reallocated remotely,allowed the company to shrink its data center by 70 percent – even automatically if required. That optimizes the use of ITwhile increasing the availability of critical SAP systems and assets and allows the data center to be smaller, which producesdata. CodornÍu was actually able to both improve service levels a cascade of cost savings – less cost for power, floor space,and cut costs without making compromises. cooling and server licensing.Managing virtualized systems as a cloud allows administrators Systems Director also allows direct reduction of energy useto add scale without adding complexity. It reverses the vicious through hardware control. Using IBM Systems Director Activecycle of server sprawl, creating a virtuous cycle that allows Energy Manager, managers can monitor the power consump-the business to effectively double its capacity for IT service tion and temperature of individual system components – andon a flat budget by dynamically adjusting workloads among even control them. CPU performance and power consumptionall available resources. Systems Director is the key to this can be “capped,” for example, to reduce current draw. Activekind of improvement. IBM Systems Director makes it simpler Energy Manager can also identify temperature and powerto deploy, manage and maintain virtualized assets – servers, usage issues, allowing administrators to proactively addressstorage and networks – so a new physical infrastructure does them to reduce cooling requirements and improve reliability.not have to be purchased to meet increasing service demands. New York utility Consolidated Edison is putting this capability to good use by teaming with IBM to help its customers build more energy-efficient data centers. By identifying energy issues using Active Energy Manager and leveraging virtualization technology to reduce power consumption, some customers are seeing savings of 40 percent or more.
Systems and Technology 9Maintaining service levels: the core task How can I become more How can I effectively How can I meet serviceof management efﬁcient in performing manage resources level agreements withThe one thing that IT managers must stay focused on above basic management and deployed in the Cloud? limited resources? maintenance tasks?all else is delivery of services. Productivity and resource How do I visualize health How do I rapidly install,constraints are very real concerns, but keeping the systems How can I proactively and status? conﬁgure, deploy and manage, troubleshoot provision resources?online, protected and performing is the fundamental goal and maintain?of all that the administrator does.In the current competitive environment, corporate leadersare pushing for increased business agility, and it’s up to Server Increasing AgilityIT managers to enable it in addition to all of their other tasks.Administrators have to maintain the infrastructure, but Storage Network Consolidate Manage Automate Optimize Resources Workloads Processes Deliverythey can’t let that get in the way of meeting service levelrequirements.As shown in Figure 1, even with a smarter computinginfrastructure, management challenges remain. Administratorsstill need to provide service as reliably and cost-effectively as What workloads are How can I improve running and how are How can I reduce mistakes? resource utilization?possible. The difference is that they now need to do it more they performing?flexibly and efficiently than ever. How energy efﬁcient is my IT? How do I manage server How can I meet service sprawl? level agreements with How can I manageOld management methods – planning weeks or months in limited resources? multiple platforms? What’s attached to my infrastructure?advance, purchasing and installing new servers, and manuallymanaging workloads and processes – simply cannot keep Figure 1: IBM Systems Director creates a vital link between the daily realityup with today’s business needs. Managers now work in an of IT management and the strategic needs of the business. It allows ITenvironment where requirements change minute by minute. professionals to respond to the organization’s need for improved service delivery in a way that conventional management platforms cannot.By linking management tasks together and automating them,Systems Director allows managers to focus on managingworkloads and meeting service level agreements.
10 IBM Systems Director – Optimized and simplified management of IT infrastructuresThis advanced workload management can radically change an application to crash, or a network traffic bottleneck beinghow IT services are consumed. The Chinese city of Wuxi, caused by a new remote backup initiative. By helping managersfor example, has deployed a shared cloud environment – the understand the impact of resource changes and new work-Wuxi Cloud Center – and opened it up to the 150 companies loads, Systems Director provides insights that allow thesethat occupy the city’s New Town Science and Education issues to be avoided completely,Industrial Park. Each business has, in effect, access to anenterprise-class data center without having to tie up capital Achieving timely insight is also essential to recovery efforts.in hardware. Centralized management of the environment If a manager can be alerted of a server crash anytime, any-is what makes the pay-as-you-use business model work. where, he can respond immediately (and even address the issue remotely through the Systems Director console) to minimizeThe control provided by Systems Director maximizes the impact on the business.the efficient use of the IT infrastructure. Management ofservers, storage and networks becomes automated and Automated monitoring can allow more proactive managementtransparent, allowing the infrastructure to adapt rapidly to and keep systems running. For example, California’s Antelopenew workload demands. This means that resources can be Valley Hospital had always run its data center reactively,deployed more quickly for faster time-to-market, a capability in break-fix mode. A week after installing Systems Director,that benefits China Telecom’s Jiangxi Subsidiary. A shared- administrators were alerted that a RAM module in one of itsservices approach, enabled through automated management, servers was going bad. The part was replaced before it failedhas given the company a more fluid and flexible business and the system stayed online, with absolutely no impact onmodel. Developing a new business application had taken the hospital community.three to four months; now it can be done in two or threedays. Along the way, hardware utilization has gone up by The visibility provided by Systems Director also helps50 percent, allowing the company to make the most of its ensure long-term availability by giving managers the abilityIT investments and avoid additional capital expenses. to plan better for growth. For example, historical workload data can be analyzed to make future predictions about whenThe automated discovery, reporting, monitoring and remote infrastructure assets will approach the limits of their capacity.management features of Systems Director also play an The infrastructure can then be extended proactively ratherimportant role in maintaining quality of service. The typical than reacting to a shortage of resources. This kind of insightIT infrastructure is a complex construct, with many comp- is virtually impossible to achieve without a consolidated viewonents and dependencies. Approximately 60 percent of of systems.infrastructure issues occur because of changes in the environ-ment – such as a system software patch unexpectedly causing
Systems and Technology 11A flexible management platform that IBM is also enhancing the capabilities of its hardwareevolves with the business offerings to complement this smarter approach to computing,The component-based architecture of IBM Systems Director by extending the virtualization technology built into IBMprovides fully integrated monitoring and management of POWER to other IBM platforms, including System x andheterogeneous IBM infrastructure environments, delivered System z, for example. This makes it simpler to deploy athrough the core “single pane of glass” platform and associated consolidated, virtualized infrastructure that is ideally suitedplug-ins that integrate seamlessly with third-party for the workloads it runs.management tools. Bringing it all togetherThe core components include a console and management For IT managers, a smarter approach to computing takes moreserver with intelligent “agents” that allow the automated than an advanced infrastructure. The ability to better managediscovery, monitoring and management of both physical information and systems – to become more productive, saveand virtual resources. Plug-ins such as IBM Systems Director money and drive positive business outcomes – is all-important.VMControl,TM Active Energy Manager, Network Controland Storage Control extend the base functions, providing IBM Systems Director provides the essential bridge betweencapabilities ranging from simplified, automatic virtual image the daily reality of the IT manager and the strategic goalsmanagement to the direct monitoring and control of hardware of the organization. Systems Director brings simplification tocomponents to control energy usage. These capabilities can be IT management, which means faster time-to-value, increasedcomplemented by IBM Tivoli,® which acts as a “manager of productivity and reduced cost. It streamlines management,managers” to extend the benefits of centralized management allowing the business to make the most of its infrastructure –across multivendor environments. reducing complexity, improving performance and responsive- ness, and enabling scalability without compromise.The platform is constantly being updated to improveits effectiveness and usability, and to stay in lockstep with By bringing together virtualization, visibility, control andemerging IT management needs and technologies. automation to yield a new, streamlined and optimized wayIBM Systems Director VMControl, for example, works of doing business, IBM allows smarter computing to drivewith all hypervisors, including the rapidly emerging, open- business transformation – and success on a smarter planet.source KVM, as well as established ones like VMWare ESXi,IBM z/VM® and IBM PowerVM.® Systems Director Find out morereflects the IBM commitment to customer choice, helping To learn more about how IBM Systems Director and otherto promote flexibility. offerings in the IBM Systems Software portfolio can transform IT management, contact your IBM representative or visit us at: ibm.com/systems/software/director ibm.com/systems/software