Friday Mar 30, 2007

Sun's Connected Customers

Steve Wilson led a presentation about the changing nature of Sun's connected customer response and where the provisioning and image maintenance tools now sit. This means that he's responsible for network support, subscription services and what's left of our N1 management suite.

At the centre of the proposed customer solution is the N1SM satellite server. (I say at the centre, arguably the centre is in Sun's Data Centres, at the centre of the customer deployment.) The next release due over the summer re-architects this. It has become multi-process, with a central core with proxy agents. This permits its deployment and operation within complex network topologies and so it can support complex data centre networks architectures. i.e. This introduces firewall support. Communication between the satellite and its proxies is over https/RSS. In my mind this is mega! Together, which Richard McDougall's insights, about host and guest properties (which I have not yet published) of the operating system there is an opportunity to continue to innovate the Solaris code lines to deliver huge benefit, to the discomfort of other os developers.

The remote connection will have discovery capability and will permit data centre managers to control their engagement with their support vendors. These are designed to upload limited information to Sun's Asset Portal. Today and tomorrow, the customer located technology will remain available as a technology i.e. it can be bought, and the last word in customer privacy will remain with the customer. The hope is that Sun's support will be more effective as we know more about the customer's supported assets and some ways, the conversational relationship is the same as explorer.

The third product talked about in detail was Sun MC, the management centre, this now includes container manager which is the "simple" GUI interface into the virtualisation technology. Its a technology Sun's had for a long time, and some long due maintenance is being undertaken. Version 4.0 will be released some over the long summer, and will include replacing Oracle with Postgres, and the expansion of the platforms supported to reflect the development of Sun's product line. This will therefore include the X86/x64 systems.

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Saturday Mar 04, 2006

More......

I have now (yeah really) added a picture to my article "Designing Data Centre automation solutions" illustrating the two dimensions of virtualisation & posted my notes from the N1 Architecture sessions.

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Friday Mar 03, 2006

Virtualisation has two dimensions

I have added a picture to my article "Designing Data Centre automation solutions" illustrating the two dimensions of virtualisation.. It seems like I didn't! Sorry. I have now. Mysterious Smiley

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Data Centre Vision

Sohrab has sent me an edited version of his slides. You can download it here... and I have put it up as a bookmark in the right hand side bar. Its the "N1 (.pdf)" one.

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Wednesday Mar 01, 2006

Architecting DC automation

During a presentations on N1, Garima Thockburn & Doan Nguyen showed an architectural functional model for the applications provisioning technology.

N1 Service Provisioning Architecture diagram

What's really cool is that, as I'd expect from Sun, although we can forget what it made us, is that openness is being designed in from the ground level. Its recognised that a DC automation solution will have to utilise external capabilities. A second piece of ideology is borrowed from SOA and the products need to workflow manage various transactions, i.e. systems management transactions in the data centre. (Thuis is the service manager ).The whole SOA vocabulary of composition & orcestration fits the problem. The industry (or community if you prefer) are also developing business applications design skills for the infrastructure. This is also necessary if automation is to suceed. The block diagram puts work flow at the centre of the design. NB The diagram is accurate today but may change.

We were given the opportunity to workshop with members of the team. We had a discussion about solutions selling and examined the reality of the partnering dimension. I argued that we need to take more ownership of the relationship; in many cases, our "Partners" don't use that word to describe us. On a good day, we're suppliers on a bad day we're competition. I have thought through this since I said it, and it clear that this problem requires inter-company co-operation. At least Sun is comfortable working with others and partnership will help our customers meet broader requirements today, and as I said partnering helps meet the hetrogeneity requirement, at the least we'll need help dealing with oddities. Matthias Pfuetzner (a german colleague) argued for openness of the products APIs at both the plugin level, which determines what objects the software can manage and at the UI level, because as the plugin capability extends, it may be necessary to customise the UI to invoke and monitor the extended functionality. I like his idea of making a "plugin builder".

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