Servers Everywhere

Server management is the foundation of any IT management strategy. If a server fails, applications fail, and operations come to an immediate halt. As the data centre becomes virtualized and redistributed, the purposes, location and form factor of servers also changes, and the job of server management continues to evolve.

In the Tier 1 enterprise, server density is increasing both on the hardware side with smaller and more compact form factors such as blade servers, and on the software side with growing adoption of server virtualization technologies such as VMware™. In both enterprise and ROBO environments, the use of servers as a platform has evolved from the days of core and layered production servers to a broad array of data centre server functions that include:

• E-mail / ‘Post office’ servers

• List servers

• FTP Servers

• Certificate servers

• Backup servers

• Content and information management servers

• Departmental servers

• Proxy servers

• Database servers

• DHCP/WINS servers

• DNS (lookup) servers

• Rich Media servers

• SMTP servers

• HTTP/Web servers / hosts

• Redundant servers

• VPN and Gateway servers

• Java hosting servers

• Application servers

• Communication servers

• Fax servers

• File servers

• News servers (e.g. Usenet)

• Standalone servers

• Specialty Appliances (server based)

• Test and Development servers

• Dedicated data processing machines

• Control server

In addition to the growth in the functions and types of servers, the location of servers is expanding beyond the consolidated data centre with racks and racks of servers:

Servers Everywhere

Campus environments

Factories Mid-size businesses

Government facilities

Distributed IT infrastructures (multi-floor, multi-building, multi-site)

Educational facilities

Distributed facilities

Dark data centre facilities

Remote sites Convention centres

Remote branch offices (ROBOs)

Corporate offices

Departmental IT

Kiosks

Labs: computer test labs, call centres, help desks, training rooms

Small and medium business (SMB)

Test and development (engineering IT)

Disaster recovery sites

The challenge of cost-effectively managing geographically dispersed servers has been addressed in part by the introduction of KVM over IP solutions that provide secure remote keyboard, video, mouse control of servers over an IP network.

A KVM switch allows a single keyboard, video display monitor, and mouse to be switched to any of a number of computers at once, as opposed to having a single person interact with a number of computers one at a time.

KVM switches are commonly used at Web and other server locations with multiple computers but can be managed with usually a single administrator or Webmaster. The switch provides more table space in addition to saving the cost of multiple keyboards and monitors.

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