Pimp my data center: Servprise

Servprise's WebReboot Enterprise gives SOEST's admins a magic finger to push any server's power button

The SilverBack folks introduced us to Servprise, a young company headed by a young CEO. But for all its youth, the Servprise WebReboot product line addresses an old sore spot in datacenters far and wide: Namely, the need to safely reboot server hardware via remote access. Typical server rebooting solutions, even from companies as experienced as APC, generally involve power cycling. That makes for messy reboots at the OS level and unsafe power outages at the hardware level. The WebReboot solution is literally like pushing the server's power button, allowing for pillow-soft power downs.

WebReboot talks directly to server motherboard hardware via a PCI-style add-in card. The card talks back to a central management switch -- the 24-, 48-, or 80-port WebReboot Enterprise — which admins access via a browser-based interface. WebReboot also supports a Nagios browser plug-in for even deeper management capability.

[ Watch the video: Brian Chee on WebReboot. Return to the "Pimp my data center" intro for the background on our datacenter makeover, and links to more cool and cutting-edge datacenter gear. Read about our project's hurdles, and tips for avoiding them, in "Five lessons of a datacenter overhaul." ]

At the moment, the Servprise solution is limited by hardware compatibility requirements for its add-in cards. Today it works for specific server lines manufactured by Apple, Dell, HP, IBM, and Sun; Servprise reps, however, say the company is working feverishly on new server solutions. For customers who want to programmatically control WebReboots, an API is available. It should also be noted that Servprise is a major player in the world of Nagios open source management systems, and will provide a customized installation of the Nagios system to complement WebReboot if you so desire.

We found WebReboot to be a solid solution that really eased our day-to-day management worries for the HIG 319 server portfolio. The WebReboot Enterprise solution runs $1,295 for 24 ports, $2,195 for 48 ports, and $3,295 for 80 ports, plus another $275 for each server add-in card. Bundles are available for the asking. We used one 24-port and one 48-port switch, a Nagios Server, approximately 40 server modules, and one power cycle module. Total cost: $17,600.

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