I have what?

I don't know what the weather is like where you live, but yesterday was one of those days that makes my soul happy. Got home, took the dog for a walk to the grocery store, picked up some dinner, ate outside, and all is good.

When the weather turns nice like this, thoughts seem to go to "spring cleaning". I have no idea why, maybe opening the windows, airing the house drives some need to air our psyche as embodied by our closets. My closet is... interesting. I seem to have 1000 hangers. Some have clothing on it. Some are empty and sad. Some are on the floor. Some of the clothing is so old it deserves a more dignified retirement than a crumpled ball. Some has been missing for months. Nothing is folded and organized like I wanted anymore after a few months of use.

I'd argue that IT labs/datacenters/whatever are like my closet. I started my career as a sysadmin, and nothing brought me more joy than the perfectly organized new racks with pretty color coded cabling. (yes, that is as sad as it sounds). But after just a few months (days?), everything looked, well, like the image on the left. . And if the cabling looked that bad, you can only imagine what the machines themselves must have been like. We had NO idea what was running, what wasn't. We didn't know what OS we had, what software was running. What machines had died and been removed, nothing. Like my sad closet.

It would have been great if we had an easy automated way to discover what we had. Barcode scanners be-gone! Zap! to the stupid paper sheet taped to each rack for tracking. And beyond just finding what we have, discovery has hundreds more uses. Programs can use it to discover other copies, do smart things like maybe cluster or auto-configure, or any one of a million other things. Maybe even figure out how to clean up my closet?

We here thought this would be a fun problem to try and solve. So starting Real Soon Now (TM), we'll be embedding discoverability into all of our products. Want to know what you have? Easy! Want to do something really clever? Done. If you're curious to find out more about the technology, you can read the faq on service tags. Steve has a more serious look at service tags, and the value of discovery as well, well worth a read ASAP. Look for more information on how we're using this technology soon! And in the meantime, clean up your datacenter, AND your closet.

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