Fujitsu packages QoS for system monitoring

Fujitsu claims to have produced the first device that can automatically predict server problems and SLA (service level agreement) breaches before they occur.

It's not just telecommunications that needs quality of service monitoring, it's servers too, according to the company.

Fujitsu said that its QoS box, which has just arrived in the UK, will enable system administrators to fix problems before they happen.

The QoS appliance took information from agents running on servers and from SNMP and used this to monitor and forecast a number of key system metrics, senior business development manager and capacity planning expert at Fujitsu, Mike Tsykin, said. The metrics include free disk space, CPU loading and so on.

QoS can then extrapolate from these and issue a warning if a metric looks likely to break agreed thresholds.

"In the mainframe world, we could afford to spend months monitoring things," Tsykin said. "Now, a server is as complex as a mainframe but you can't afford to research it: why it misbehaves, why it went down. With Windows, all you can afford to do is reboot."

QoS was developed by Fujitsu Australia and is derived from System Walker, a performance management tool that's popular in Japan and Asia. It came ready installed on an appliance - all you did was plug it in and use its Web interface to drag and drop software agents onto the servers you wanted it to monitor, Tsykin said.

"Nobody else has an automated capacity planning appliance on the market," he said. "The major manufacturers were historically weak on capacity and performance management; I don't know why. You could write scripts for BMC Patrol to do forecasting, for example, or use freeware, but then you have to test, maintain and rewrite those scripts too."

The key QoS advantage is its ability to predict; to do what Tsykin called jeopardy management, or predictive SLA management. "Some technicians like the lack of discipline and rigour because it gives them something to fix," he said.

As compliance and governance rules were increasingly forced upon companies, this approach would become untenable, Tsykin said.

"If you want to comply with BS15000, ITIL, Sarbanes-Oxley, the US Patriot Act and so on, you have to automate this process or run out of money very fast," he said.

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