Server Farming

Jul 25 2008   2:20PM GMT

Zimory testing data center resource trading marketplace

Bridget Botelho Profile: Bridget Botelho

Active Directory

Zimory, a spin-off of Deutsche Telekom Laboratories, the research and development unit of Deutsche Telekom AG in Berlin, Germany, is testing a global trading platform to exchange data center resources on-demand via the Internet.

The Zimory Marketplace is basically a data center resource trading platform where users can buy and sell server resources and Virtual Machines (VMs). The company claims to be the first to introduce and operate an international trading platform to exchange data center resources.

The marketplace sounds like a great idea for data centers that experience workload surges  and need extra capacity on-demand, and data centers with underutilized servers can sell or rent their extra capacity to re-coup some power costs.

Zimory software

The Zimory software stack has three levels of operation:

  • Zimory Host is the basic entity of a Zimory infrastructure. It is installed on each server which then becomes a part of a Zimory network of computing resources.
  • Zimory Manager allows the user to oversee and manage an unlimited number of physical and virtual servers with Zimory Host installed and is available in a Zimory network. Zimory Manager ships with a web-based Graphical User Interface (GUI).
  • Zimory Marketplace is the hub of the Zimory network and collects information about all available server resources and their status.

Servers having Zimory Host or Zimory Manager installed reside behind the Firewall within the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) of a data center, while Zimory Marketplace is located outside of the DMZ. All three of them interact with each other via standard HTTP.

Installing and using ZimoryZimory marketplace

To create a network of Zimory-enabled servers, the data center administrator downloads and burns the freely available Zimory Live CD image to boot each of the servers which is supposed to advertise their resources within the Zimory infrastructure. The administrator could also use a network bootable live image (also freely available) from Zimory. Both approaches will automatically turn a virtual server into a Zimory-enabled server. The installation process is almost identical for Zimory Manager.

Inside of Zimory Manager, the administrator can configure the available data center resources for direct online outsourcing and trading on Zimory Marketplace, and define limites to the available resources, as well as a pricing scheme (flat fee or pay-per-use).

For instance, the administrator can specify a particular group of Zimory-enabled servers or just parts of such a server for sale to third parties on Zimory Marketplace. Another option would be to rent remaining resources of a server with, say, less than 10% utilization.

Zimory in action

Before a workload peak occurs, systems in Zimory are running fine and the additional systems for load balancing are stored as VMs in Zimory Manager.

When an expected or unexpected load peak occurs, the IT administrator clicks on to Zimory Marketplace through Zimory Manager and searches for appropriate server resources. After finding those resources, she starts the VMs for load-balancing from within Zimory Manager.

The software applications contained in the newly deployed VMs will connect to the load-balancer of the core systems and start to take over parts of the workload. After the peak is finished the system will shut down the VMs automatically.

Of course, this can also be automated. An administrator can pre-define the thresholds for when the load is to be taken over by servers on the Zimory Marketplace.

The company plans to start beta testing soon and invites interested sellers, and purchasers, of virtualised capacity to register their interest on the Zimory website.

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