On Friday we announced we will be counting down the top 10 blog posts of 2012 and today we will announce number 10 in the list. This post comes from Lance Castillo and provides a nice overview of Flex System Manager. This post was originally published on August 8, 2012.
System administrators that manage hardware infrastructure using IBM Systems Director and Hardware Management Console will probably have a minimal adjustment in managing the new IBM PureFlex Systems with IBM Flex System Manager. IBM Flex System Manager (FSM) was based on tested platform management that has been available for a couple of years now. This technology was based on IBM Systems Director v6.3 with integrated plug-ins such as Configuration Manager, Active Energy Manager, Storage Management, Network Management and Power Systems Management.
IBM Flex System Manager is an appliance with preloaded software management stack based on Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Hypervisor (RHEV-H) that runs on x86 compute node, and this occupies one slot on the PureFlex Chassis. This appliance is flexible; you can start with the base features and just purchase advanced features if you need to implement advanced virtualization management. The advanced features will not require installation of software but just activation of software components using IBM Feature on Demand (FoD) software entitlement licenses. IBM FoD licenses include the Feature on Demand Activation flyer and upgrade activation key and are licensed on a per-chassis basis.
You can redeem Features on Demand for the management software at http://www.ibm.com/systems/x/fod/
When you first access FSM, a startup wizard begins that steps through the required configuration process, such as licensing agreements, date and time, system-level user ID and password, and network configuration. At this time, a secure browser session can be started for the FSM.
Once the startup wizard and initial login are complete, the FSM can be accessed using a console from the remote console function of Integrated Management Module II (IMMv2) and ready for further configuration and use. From here, system administrators who are familiar with IBM Systems Director management console will recognize this part of the IBM FSM GUI, as it is nearly the same in form and function for both applications. It also uses the same graphical user interface that was developed for the XIV and V7000 arrays and it can run on any web browser. Now that the chassis is managed, individual components such as compute nodes and switches can also be managed.
FSM provides hardware a view of an interactive chassis map with high quality graphics using a near real-time object oriented UI model at multi-chassis and single chassis level that can drill down, with full context, as well as the following details and actions:
- A fly-over provides an instant view of an individual compute node’s status and inventory.
- A chassis map provides an inventory view of chassis components, a view of active statuses requiring administrative attention and a compliance view of server (node) firmware.
- Actions can be taken on nodes, such as working with server-related resources, showing and installing updates, submitting service requests and launching into the remote access tools.
Below is a sample screenshot from the management software on FSM Chassis Manager graphical view:
After you have completed all required setup and configurations, it is important to have a backup of the management software to prevent the loss of configuration data. You can access the FSM web interface to backup the management software image to the management node disk drive, a USB drive or a secure FTP server. The backup image includes all applied fixes, data on the managed chassis and any custom settings.
If you restore the management software to its default settings, the backup remains intact. After you log in to the FSM, you can click the restore button again and bring the image back to a known state.
IBM FSM management capabilities:
- Server management: Auto-discovers hardware and manages inventory that supports up to four managed chassis and 5,000 managed elements. Monitors hardware’s overall health status to proactively resolve issues. Detects and recovers potential problems in your environment through an event setup that can trigger alerts and actions.
- Virtualization management (VMControl Express): Creates, edits, manages and relocates virtual machines for rapid deployment. Discovers virtual machines, storage and network resources and visualize the physical-to-virtual relationships.
- Advanced virtualization management (VMControl Standard and Enterprise): Automates the virtualized environment with system pools. This is an advanced feature set that you need to buy separately.
- Storage management (Storage Control): Storage provisioning for image creation, deployment and cloning. Shows relationships between storage and server resources. Policy based storage placement and provisioning.
- Fabric management (IBM Fabric Manager): Simplify and manage assignments of Ethernet MAC and Fibre Channel WWN addresses using an enhanced UI, this enables quick and easy deployment, configuration and recovery of compute nodes. It also monitors the health of compute nodes, and automatically without user intervention replaces a failed compute node from a designated pool of spare compute nodes.
- Network management (Network Control): Network resource virtualization. Graphical topology view of network resources and connectivity end to end in a single tool.
- Energy management (Active Energy Manager): This feature is activated and monitors chassis by default. With simple real-time power and thermal management across compute node, storage, networking and facility providers it can set thresholds on hardware components to drive lower energy costs.
- Security management: Provide administrative capabilities, such as setting up users within profile groups, assigning security level of policies and security governance. FSM can view the access state of managed resources in a web interface display.
If you are using IBM Tivoli or other service management tools on your data center, or IBM Systems Director on your platform management, Flex System Manager supports upward integration on this software for end-to-end management of your IT infrastructure for IBM PureFlex and non-IBM PureFlex System resources.
With all of the ease of use features and integration, system administrators can now focus on improving IT service productivity and not just on managing hardware infrastructure. FSM can change how we manage the traditional IT infrastructure with integrated ways in one centralized management.
Start moving now to IBM PureFlex with Flex System Manager to help make your life simple and easy!