Librato Leverages Old-School Concepts for New-World Data Centres

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Using workload management philosophy from the days of the mainframe, Librato’s solutions can help channel partners increase data centre utilisation rates and lower costs.

Librato’s newly announced channel partner program will leverage old-school workload management concepts with cutting-edge technology to better support solution providers who want to take enterprise customers beyond virtualization.

John Wernke, vice president of marketing for Librato, says while workload management concepts have been around since the early days of computing, the tenets of resource optimisation and efficiencies are still applicable in today’s data centres. Librato solutions deliver predictable performance and optimise resources including CPU, memory and application licenses so that the data centre can run as efficiently as possible, he says.

This concept of workload management hearkens back to the late 1970s and the 1980s, when most large enterprises were using mainframes, says Wernke, and were achieving utilisation rates of 80 percent on average. Currently, utilisation rates on x86 server architectures are only about 7 percent to 15 percent, as most enterprises designate one application per server.

“Especially in the current economy, customers are trying to get the most out of their data centre infrastructure through server consolidation, job priority management and capacity planning. Our products help them do that in a nondisruptive way,” says Wernke.

Librato’s solutions require no modifications or changes to the operating system or application, enabling seamless deployments in existing environments, and helping companies meet quality-of-service standards while maximising resource utilisation and minimising expenses, Wernke says.

“Since installation doesn’t disrupt the OS, solution providers can guarantee that workloads and applications will run predictably and reliably,” he says.

Virtualization has been the go-to technology for enterprises looking to increase utilisation rates, consolidate servers and lower costs, but for some customers, it’s not the answer they were searching for, says Wernke.

“Virtualization reaches this climactic point where organisations end up in the ‘realm of disillusion,’” says Wernke. Many customers who’ve virtualized their environments find that these technologies aren’t be-alls and end-alls, he says, especially in I/O-intensive, homogeneous environments like those found in database-intensive or Web environments.

“Virtualization does make sense in heterogeneous environments, but often deployment involves having to change your backup systems, your disaster recovery strategy and modify your data centre architecture,” Wernke says.

Librato’s monitoring and management software, however, installs easily and rapidly between an operating system and applications running under the OS, to allow for granular usage views and analysis.

“Our technology can install quickly and simply into the user space without changing the OS, and it’s one of the few monitors that sits this high up in the technology stack,” he says. “Solution providers and customers can now monitor CPU, application and network usage much more easily, and what you see, you can control,” he says.

Controlling resource usage is a huge step for solution providers looking to help customers with server consolidation and increased utilisation rates, and Wernke says Librato’s software allows customers to start seeing benefits almost immediately.

“When our software is installed, customers aren’t required to restart or recompile systems or applications, so they can start reaping the benefits almost immediately,” he says. Virtualization deployments can take anywhere from three to 18 months, Wernke says.

Librato’s Load Monitor captures resource demand and usage by application, user or group while Load Manager uses business priorities to dynamically allocate server resources. Librato also offers Smart Suspend software, which provides pre-emptive scheduling for grid workloads, and a high-availability solution, Availability Services (AvS), which provides checkpoint, restart and migration of jobs in grid environments.

Wernke says Librato’s new channel program, which launches 10 March, will offer solution providers an enterprise solution that’s totally differentiated from virtualization solutions and can provide many of the same benefits for customers.

He says the company, formerly called Evergrid, previously worked informally with a number of resellers to provide data centre optimisation tools for high-performance computing (HPC) deployments.

Wernke says that Librato’s Load Monitor and Load Manager are geared to solution providers with expertise in large Windows and Linux deployments, especially in Web, database and grid environments.

“It’s a good idea to consolidate regardless, but we find customers gain the greatest efficiencies in server farms with 100 or more appliances,” he says.

Currently, Librato has a handful of solution providers signed on to the program, and Wernke says the company doesn’t plan on an extensive recruitment effort in the hopes of reducing commoditisation and conflict between partners.

“The number of channel partners is definitely growing, but we’re being selective about recruiting,” he says. “We want to make sure that our partners have a unique product and a solid value proposition in their marketplace so they’re with every other guy on the block,” he says.