The SDMC Is Dead, Long Live The HMC
June 18, 2012 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Ah, Systems Director Management Console, we hardly knew ye.
Those of you in the Power Systems market who had been dreading the transition from the not-much-liked Hardware Management Console (HMC) to its kicker, announced a year ago and based on a souped-up version of IBM‘s Systems Director, don’t have a reason to dread because as part of PureSystems launch back in April, the SMDC was discontinued. So forget all that.
Systems Director, of course, was the management tool that IBM created for the BladeCenter blade servers and then eventually extended to cover Power Systems and System z iron. The HMC was only good for rack and tower Power System machines. The good news is that the HMC and SDMC are based on the same iron, so if you bought an SMDC, you can convert it back to an HMC if you are just trying to manage Power Systems machines. This process takes a few hours, says IBM, and can be performed by an IBM specialist or a business partner.
Obviously, if you want to manage a hybrid environment, the lack of an SDMC means that you will be encouraged to either use a mix of tools or move to the new PureSystem iron with its Flex System chassis and integrated Flex System Manager, which includes a mashup of the SMDC code and the VMControl virtualization extensions for hypervisors plus other Tivoli add-ons such as Workload Deployer. Basically, if you want the most sophisticated, integrated, hybrid management IBM has to offer, you need to move to Flex System iron.
“It is very difficult to keep the goals of Systems Director in line with the hardware release schedules, explained Ian Jarman when I spoke to him at COMMON in a few weeks ago. Jarman is the long-time IBM i product manager who in February was named analytics marketing manager for Power Systems and System z at IBM but who is also still very much in the know about all things IBM i these days. “The overwhelming feedback from Power Systems customers was that the HMC was the trusted console, and I think we did the right thing.”
In short, the SDMC was overkill for a lot of Power Systems shops, and it was going to negate some of the differentiation in the Flex System Manager console.
IBM will support existing SDMC customers until April 2015, and stopped selling units on April 24.
In the meantime, the HMC will be enhanced to support Power-based blade servers–probably in the fourth quarter, but IBM has not provided a solid date–as well as rack and tower machines, which is what Power Systems customers really wanted anyway. IBM released a statement of direction on the SDMC and HMC on May 8, which said that IBM was going to package the HMC up into a virtual machine, which will be useful, and add RAID 1 data protection to the HMC physical hardware console, which is also useful.
And clearly, over the long haul, a lot of IBM i and AIX shops, who also generally have a lot more X86 iron, will be taking a hard look at the Flex System modular servers and all those PureSystem management capabilities and will end up using something that is very much like the SDMC anyway.