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New Mobile Apps Monitor UCS, Reboot Servers from 30,000 Feet

UCSand app screenshotMobile devices have changed the way we manage our lives—in fact, just the other day I used apps on my smartphone to pull up recipes and locate a nearby grocery store. (Now only if there were an app that could enable a smartphone to cook dinner.)

Did you know that there’s an app that can help you manage your Unified Computing System (UCS), too? UCSand, which is available for Android phones and can be found in the Android Market, enables you to monitor and control your UCS. Sounds pretty cool, don’t you think?

It definitely can be a useful tool, according to Colby Cousens, Systems Administrator for the City of Melrose, Massachusetts.

The city has a secure, multi-tenant FlexPod architecture in their data center. This solution provides the City of Melrose with the ability to offer secure network, storage, and compute resources to their partner communities.

“One of my own shortcomings regarding UCS is that I don’t get into the manager as often as I should to check events and warnings on the system,” Colby said. “The UCSand app highlights the value of Cisco’s XML-API in allowing a program to pull targeted data out of the UCS Manager without requiring an individual to navigate through extra configurations or information at the time.”

Colby also says that the app is super-fast and that it’s convenient to have answers to most of the common server questions, like: “How much memory is in that blade?” or “Which hosts were the ones with Nehalem Processors?” right on his phone.

“I’ve also checked the event logs on UCS more times today than in the last few months combined,” he said. “It becomes one of those things you do on your phone while waiting for meetings to start or lunch to end. I really like the app and immediately thought of it as another of those logical, value-added features that convinced us to implement UCS in the first place.”

To read more of Colby’s thoughts on the app, head over to the City of Melrose IT blog where he’s also posted a video showing him turning on and off the LED indicator lights on blades from the phone.

ExamWorks Resets Servers from 30,000 Feet

And as if using an app to monitor your UCS weren’t enough, did you know that some customers even reset their servers while up in the air? ExamWorks, an Atlanta, Georgia-based independent medical examination and review company, chose a Cisco/NetApp/VMware solution, enabling the company to streamline deployment of data center resources, eliminate complexity, and achieve operational efficiencies.

Examworks’ Chief Technology Officer Brian Denton says the setup has enabled him to work without having to rely on a helpdesk. “I was on an airplane using Gogo Wi-Fi and got an e-mail about a server problem,” he said. “I got onto vSphere, rebooted the server from 30,000 feet, and had it back up and running before we touched down.” (Visit the NetApp site to read more of the Examworks case study (PDF).)

So are you and your customers finding new and innovative ways to manage and monitor your data centers? Got any thoughts on the UCSand app?

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