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Focus on ZENworks Orchestrator

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Updated: 23 May 2007

If you haven't heard about it yet, you need to take some time to explore the new ZENworks Orchestrator product, which is the brains behind Novell's vision of data center automation.

Automating the data center for maximum resource utilization and flexibility has always been the goal for forward-thinking IT administrators. But as centralized mainframe environments have been replaced by heterogeneous hardware, operating systems, storage and other resources, the vision of a tidy, efficient, automated data center has dimmed.

With techniques such as virtualized computing, shared storage and distributed resource management, administrators can simplify administration, maximize utilization, and assign resources dynamically to meet shifting workloads. But the means to commoditize these technologies and tie them together in an automated management framework was lacking - until now. Now a single automated solution can manage virtual machines, identities, storage and systems in an coordinated and intelligent way according to workload requirements, hardware health and business policies.

The "brain" of the data center automation system is Novell ZENworks Orchestrator. This is the key component that interacts with configuration and storage resource management servers to manage physical compute and storage resources and the relationships between them. The Orchestrator also manages virtual resources, controlling the entire lifecycle of each virtual machine. The Orchestrator is a third-generation orchestration engine that is built from the ground up to meet the requirements of on-demand computing. It combines the following capabilities:

  • Resource management
  • Job management
  • Dynamic provisioning
  • Policy management
  • Accounting and auditing
  • Real-time availability

In general, competitive products feature a global job scheduler and workload manager to orchestrate "jobs" across a distributed environment. But to legitimately orchestrate the operations of today's complex, sophisticated data centers, Novell believes it is necessary to have competencies in the six areas listed above.

For more information, visit the ZENworks Orchestrator home page. If you find you still have questions after reading the content on those pages, send us your questions and we'll track down the answers with the product team.

Questions and Answers

Where do I go to purchase Orchestrator?

Several of you wrote in with questions about availability, purchasing, and cost. You'll need to purchase Orchestrator through a Novell Sales rep, who can also supply you with the cost information. To request a call from a rep, click here.

What does "Real-time availability" mean?

David R. wrote: What does "Real-time availability" mean, exactly? I can't believe ZENworks Orchestrator is a real-time system. I've certainly heard of "high availability" -- and fault-tolerant real-time systems. But how can ZENworks Orchestrator claim to be "real-time"? Thank you for the clarification.

Good question, David! We sleuthed this out with the engineers, and here's what they said.

ZENworks Orchestrator performs real-time monitoring of performance statistics on Network, Memory, CPU, and Disk, plus it monitors the overall capacity of the compute grid. This provides workload management across all resources under the management of ZENworks Orchestrator. The Resource Broker engine in ZENworks Orchestrator is then able to dynamically (based on policy and various constraint or priority settings) provision workloads across the grid fabric. Compute resources can be either physical or virtual guests and are provisioned work (Jobs) for execution. Workloads can be executed in parallel across these compute resources. We generally define this as Autonomic Availability -- calling it "Real-time" is stretching the functionality a bit.

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