Just as it said it would back in October, Sun Microsystems Inc. is releasing version 1.0 of its “new” xVM Ops Center management suite, which is really a merger of its Sun N1 System Manager (N1SM) and Sun Connection configuration management software packages that have been brought under the auspices of Sun’s nascent virtualization brand.
Nevertheless, xVM Ops Center Director of Marketing Oren Teich claims there’s more to Sun’s new management bundle than branding. There’s a nice new Web user interface, of course; but perhaps more to the point, xVM Ops Center can manage a far greater number of operating system instances than its prior incarnation. To wit: N1SM maxed out in the 100- to 250-node range; Sun Connection gave up around 500; but Teich claims xVM Ops Center is able to manage around 5,000 running OS instances.
“That’s a lot bigger than any of our customers have calls for using,” Teich said. That includes the Texas Advanced Computing Center, whose 3,936-node Sun-based supercomputer will be managed by xVM Ops Center.
That surge in scalability stems from a redesign of xVM Ops Center’s network architecture. Taking its cues from the Web feed format Really Simple Syndication (RSS) we all use to read frequently updated content like blogs or news, xVM Ops Center shuns the old model of a central management server regularly polling its charges and instead adopts a subscription model where agents take the initiative to report up to the mother ship — the satellite server — via distributed proxies.
“The agents talk to proxies, and the proxies talk to the satellite servers,” Teich said, not the other way around.
Sun’s xVM Ops Center agents also mimic RSS in its use of XML over HTTP. This approach, Teich said, helps Ops Center “avoid having to punch holes all over your firewalls, which has always been a nightmare.”
But as impressive as this 5,000 number may be, you’ll have to wait until the second quarter of 2008 and version 2.0 for Sun xVM to actually be able to manage xVM, the Xen-based hypervisor. “Version 1.0 doesn’t include Xen management; that’s because we don’t have it yet,” Teich said. For now, xVM Ops Center is limited to managing physical machines running Linux or Solaris [Windows support is forthcoming, although no date has been specified]. For tasks within a virtual environment, “customers today would probably use VMware [VirtualCenter].” That’s OK, though, because for now, about 75% of Sun’s “many hundreds of customers” for N1SM and Sun Connection are still running in a physical environment.
Sun has released pricing for xVM Ops Center: $10,000 for the central satellite server and $100 to $350 per managed instance, or guest.