Open-source desktop company Ximian on Monday will release Red Carpet Enterprise, a behind-the-firewall solution that provides users with centralized software maintenance and version management for Linux servers and workstations.
The Red Carpet Enterprise deployment consists of a server storing Linux software that is distributed to workstations and servers; a process or interface for controlling how this software is updated; and a method for initiating the updates on various corporate machines.
Administrators can set up the Red Carpet server, using either a Web-based administration console or a command line interface, to centrally configure and distribute software selections, manage users or organize groups of machines for software installation and updating.
Updates for workstations and servers can be initiated automatically “on demand” by Red Carpet client users, or unattended on specified schedules using the Red Carpet Daemon and its Autopull capability.
Red Carpet Enterprise users will be able to control the software stored on their internal Red Carpet servers and for many of these users who are building custom Linux software, this new solution will manage the installation and updating of these applications.
“This entire system is a product that can be installed and customized inside the firewall and does not require professional services or a lot of consulting. Its meant to be delivered and offered as a product,” John Perr, vice president at Ximian, told eWEEK.
Users will pay $2500 for the server software, which runs on top of Red Hat Linux 7.3 and is deployed behind the firewall, as well as a license fee for each system they want to manage. The license fee starts at $200 a system, but volume discounts kick in as the number of systems grows.
Customers also have the option of subscribing to the Red Carpet Library, which provides software updates to Linux software from Ximian, their Linux distributions or other third-party software. This service starts at $60 a year per system.
Ximian to Roll Out
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“Customers have been increasingly asking us for a solution that lies behind the firewall because even though our other offerings are secure, users like the government often have policies that dictate that the entire solution must be deployed behind the corporate firewall,” Perr said.
As Linux on servers becomes more prevalent, and companies increasingly depend on it for more functions and seek to customize their own Linux distributions, having a behind-the-firewall solution is increasingly important, he said.
Keith Erskine, product manager for Red Carpet Enterprise, told eWEEK that this latest offering is not only compatible with a host of Linux distributions but also provides those users with their own Linux environments and an easy way to set up, deploy and maintain those environments throughout the company.
Beta testers agree. Jeff Davis, a senior systems programmer at Houston-based Amerada Hess Corp. told eWEEK that Red Carpet Enterprise is much easier to use and administer than Red Carpet CorporateConnect, which he currently uses to update some 300 systems.
Davis said that while he did not run custom software applications on the new offering or distribute in-house software that way, “I understand that reasoning. We dont support a lot of remote offices and are using other mechanisms to do that. If we had lots of remote sites this would be a good and valuable way to do that,” he said.
Amerada is using Red Carpet Enterprise to distribute Ximain software updates, Ximian security fixes, Red Hat updates and Red Hat security fixes. “I moved from Red Hat Network to Ximians Red Carpet CorporateConnect because it was more flexible and customizable at the time,” he said.
Ximians Perr pointed out that the firm would continue to offer CorporateConnect, its hosted service for those companies that want the convenience of hosting or are looking to start with smaller deployments.
Ameradas Davis said he had already bought a server on which to run the Red Carpet Enterprise solution—a Dell PowerEdge 1650—and would be phasing in the rollout, one group of systems at a time. Over the next few weeks, the new Ximian package will be installed on 32 new systems, followed by a rollout to existing Ximian clients.
While it is not functionally that different than the existing solution, one key change is that management of the server has moved to the customer, who can now point clients to their server rather than to Ximians.
“The whole interface is also much easier to use and, for me, is quicker and easier to manage. The security aspect is not the key factor to me,” he said.