Systems management as an SaaS application seems to be the next big thing in the cloud and virtualization space. And ScaleXtreme really wants to provide these services for you with their server management automation which combines ease of use with a full range of tools ranging from server monitoring to full scale server scripting and patch automation.
Designed as a lifecycle management tool, there Java-based agents can live not just on a selection of cloud providers but on physical servers in your datacenter, giving you a single tool to manage your servers across your public and private clouds as well as traditional datacenters. No special APIs are required to be installed by the user, nor is any special network configuration required, as communication is via encrypted HTTPS.
I used the free Xpress version of their service to get a feel for how their approach works, installing their agent on two systems in my office. I don't use any of their currently supported cloud service providers, so I was unable to look at the functionality associated there, but see no reason why you wouldn't be able to monitor the data from those sources, much in the same way you can look at the data generated by your local servers. Installing their agent and allowing it to collect data alerted me to patches that were available to be applied (all optional in the case of my test systems) and allowed me to view data over time for my systems.
As you can see from this image, the system being monitored showed me what was its expected behavior. Little to no CPU usage or network utilization during the 11 PM - 6 AM hours that I don't work, and steady memory and disk utilization from the apps that run 24x7.
But what caught my attention this week was their announcement of an iPhone application with the tagline System Administration Anywhere. However, as far as I can tell, all the iPhone app lets you do is take a look at some basic monitoring information about any server that is running the ScaleXtreme agent. It doesn't even offer the depth of information available for the Monitoring home screen in the normal web console used to work with the service. I'll keep my fingers crossed that future versions of the mobile app will offer more functionality.
It also isn't iPad friendly, though logging into the web console from the Safari browser gave me access to the standard web console at a useful resolution.
Monitoring your cloud and locally hosted servers and applications through the cloud and via mobile devices is where the industry is headed. ScaleXtreme is giving you a good look at what the future will hold for IT management. And starting at $15 per managed server, the price won't scare off even the smallest IT department.