Tool for a virtual LAN
- By Joab Jackson
- May 22, 2008
A few years back, the Gartner Group coined another one of those buzzwords we all love to hate: fabric computing. Gartner defined fabric computing as the ability to pool server resources ' processing, memory, input/output ' so they can be applied to the application that needs them the most, regardless of what server that app resides on.
Liquid Computing offers a control plane, or a server chassis, with two control plane modules that administrators can use to quickly set up virtual private networks.
They can also establish sets of interconnected services, using blade servers installed on the chassis.
Mike Kemp, the company's chief technology officer, said the technology, called LiquidIQ, could work with disaster recovery.
An agency could have a service that deploys several applications across different servers on a virtual local-area network.
The administrator establishes an Extensible Markup Language-based template for how the applications are connected. That template can then be applied to the control plane at the backup sites, so the VLAN and the service can be mirrored in as little as a half a day, instead of the several days it would take to set it up again by hand. And when additions are made to the basic service, the backup site can be updated automatically.
There are some downsides ' the applications must be installed on the backup sites as well. The control plane does not handle this chore, although that could be done easily enough through Microsoft Operations Manager.
Or the service can be virtualized, say, through VMware, and moved from server to server through VMware's VMotion. So when one server dies, the control plane VLAN can automatically reconfigure the VLAN to task the designated backup server to execute the same task.
Also, the system software only provides a basic user interface through the simple network management protocol, but it can interface with Hewlett-Packard's Open- View or Oracle's Enterprise Manager.
And the software also needs some smarts so that when administrators are setting up a VLAN it can recognize and avoid some common networking errors, such as spanning tree looping and other complex topology pitfalls.
The basic chassis and control plane, which works with both Linux and Microsoft Windows Server, starts at about $85,000, and can hold 20 industry-standard blade servers.
Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.