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November 12, 2009

NEI Unveils Next-Generation Appliance Element Manager 3.0 with Smart Enhancements

By Marisa Torrieri, TMCnet Editor

NEI announced new enhancements to its Element Manager 3.0, which now includes enhanced smart services for software developers.
Armed with new smart services, developers can more easily build secure, hardened solutions that deliver on the promise of low-lifecycle maintenance, according to the Canton, Mass.-based company.
NEI Element Manager 3.0, first released in June, is a complete, lightweight supervisory and alarming console that’s used to monitor the appliance health, automate alarming and updates, deploy OS and application patches, schedule backups and restore field-deployed appliances.
Among the latest version’s enhancements is a “Smart Task Manager,” which reduces end-user maintenance requirements by predefining and scheduling cleanup, archive and backup tasks. The Smart Task Manager allows the end user to adjust schedule times and define the location to archive files on the local network. It comes with predefined scripts and is integrated with the NEI “Image Customizer,” allowing software vendors to easily add tasks to simplify maintenance of the application stack. 
Besides coordinating routine maintenance, the smart task manager can be used to periodically capture appliance information and send it to a central location for analytics. This allows the appliance vendors to improve the support of field deployments by providing feedback on actual usage.
In addition to the Smart Task Manager, version 3.0 includes a “Multi-Appliance Console,” which allows maintenance for all deployed appliances to be performed from a single appliance sans a separate, dedicated management server. The approach is intended to simplify the management of the units, leading to support and cost savings. Once appliances are added to the console they can then be grouped by location, type, network or any user desired format, according to NEI.
Other features of Version 3.0 include:
  • “Update Manager Enhancements” – This provides a facility to update all software on the appliance. These upgrades improve performance, reduce network traffic and enhance error recovery and reporting.  This feature provides a robust and durable solution for software vendors to easily deliver a wider variety of updates and upgrades in both phone home and dark site formats.
  • “Virtual Appliance” – The Element Manager has been restructured to enable virtual appliance deployments where dual-boot, multi-partition implementations are not required. This allows software vendors to deliver physical and virtual appliances as a common solution with identical look and feel and feature set, simplifying support and maintenance
  • “Expanded OS Support” – Element Manager 3.0 has been qualified with the 2.6.29 Linux kernel under NEI’s Linux Package Management Service for both 32- and 64-bit applications. Element Manager 3.0 also has been qualified with Windows 2008 Server Standard Edition R2, Windows 2008 Enterprise Edition R2 and Windows XP Pro. Support continues for Windows Server 2003 Standard and Enterprise Editions.
“NEI Element Manager allows software developers to fulfill the appliance-model promise of low-maintenance lifecycle management,” said Jeff Hudgins, vice president marketing for NEI.  “With the release of Element Manager 3.0, we are satisfying the growing demand for greater ease of use, reduced complexity and scalability for enterprises with multiple deployed appliances.”

Marisa Torrieri is a TMCnet Web editor, covering IP hardware and mobility, including IP phones, smartphones, fixed-mobile convergence and satellite technology. She also compiles and regularly contributes to TMCnet's gadgets and satellite e-Newsletters. To read more of Marisa's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Marisa Torrieri

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