Time Benefits of Using a Cluster Manager vs DIY


By Lionel Gibbons | December 14, 2017 | Cluster Manager




According to a recent
IDC survey, 77 percent of respondents agreed that lack of timely access to data is inhibiting their businesses. For system admins, ensuring that data and applications are available is key in the age of big data, deep learning, and Internet of Things (IoT). Perhaps the greatest resource for admins that must manage enterprise clusters is their time, and thus, the question becomes how best to save it.

Let’s look at some of the time benefits of using cluster management software over a do it yourself (DIY) management plan.

Even in the simplest environment, keeping track of all the activities involved in managing a cluster manually is not only complex but time-consuming. Enterprise clusters host multiple jobs and multiple tenants simultaneously, with mission critical applications competing for resources. Managing these clusters in a way that keeps them up and running efficiently is critical to business success. 

Cluster Management

When a cluster is made up of hundreds or even thousands of nodes, managing it can be a real challenge. It can be difficult to monitor all of the hardware and software components of a cluster, while optimizing the use of resouces for multiple workloads. But failing to do so can leave end users waiting for their jobs to complete.

A cluster manager provides a way to monitor and manage the entire cluster, workign with workload managers to  allow the best use of cluster resources as defined by the organization’s policy. Bright's cluster manager can dynamically provision clusters based on demand, allowing administrators to optimize node utilization and minimize the number of nodes that sit idle waiting for a job to process.

Cluster management software provides an automated way to track and manage the cluster as a whole, improve overall application performance, optimize resource utilization, and identify problems so they can be reviewed and acted upon quickly. The ability to deploy, provision, and manage large clusters from bare metal is only the beginning of what cluster manager software can do. With performance management, system admins can:

  • Efficiently and quickly scale cluster up and down
  • Easily and securely add users
  • Automate routine tasks
  • Utilize batch functionality

Cluster Maintenance

A major challenge for system admins is having to manually detect failures, degraded performance, and power inefficiencies, and identify their root causes.  A cluster manager can proactively monitor the cluster’s health and report anomalies as soon as it spots them. In many cases, the high availability feature of cluster management software can provide automatic failover and keep the cluster running even after a failure has taken out a critical node. A good cluster manager can often detect and initiate failover without human intervention, notify admins of the problem, help to identify the source of the problem, and provide the tools needed to get the ailing server back online.

Cluster Monitoring

The monitoring process, when done manually, is extremely time-consuming and potentially error-prone. The lack of visibility into clusters can make it difficult to determine:

  • Which applications are causing cluster usage (CPU, memory) spikes
  • If servers are being used optimally
  • Where, why, and when orchestrated data pipelines are getting delayed

Using an advanced cluster manager enables administrators to:

  • Dynamically control the assignment of cluster resources to assure priority applications
  • Meet service-level agreements while minimizing needed cluster infrastructure
  • See all nodes in the cluster in a single pane of glass to pinpoint problems
  • Access basic job tracking information
  • Analyze workloads to forecast demand

From provisioning to management, monitoring, and maintenance, a cluster manager maximizes end user and system admin productivity and time management in ways that bring top and bottom line benefits to the enterprise. The clear benefits to simplifying the work of system admins is only the beginning as a good cluster manager becomes a necessity in the age of big data, deep learning, and IoT.


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