HP Unveils Control Tower Software for Linux Blades

The new software package, based on technology acquired from RLX, aims to ease management of Linux environments on the BladeSystems platform.

Hewlett-Packards acquisition last year of blade pioneer RLX Technologies is beginning to bear fruit.

HP on April 19 is unveiling a software package based on RLXs Control Tower management software, which was the real target behind the Palo Alto, Calif., companys decision to buy RLX.

HP wanted to build up its capabilities of managing Linux environments on its BladeSystems platform, and Control Tower was built on Linux, said Scott Farrand, general manager of HPs Control Tower products group. For example, the HP Control Tower package offers packaged open-source tools for easier use and integration.

"This is all hosted on Linux," Farrand said. "You dont have to bring anything special" to make Linux workloads run.

In addition, the software offers greater management capabilities for those environments, including set-up features that take fewer than 30 minutes to install and configure the management server.

Control Tower also offers hardware monitoring and deployment—including remote monitoring and management—via a single console.

Users can use Control Tower either as part of HPs SIM (Systems Insight Manager) or as a stand-alone product. It also works with HPs ProLiant Essentials software. SIM is an overarching offering that addresses multiple operating systems and hardware platforms, while Control Tower is specific to Linux on BladeSystems. HPs blades run both the Red Hat and SUSE Linux operating systems, as well as Microsoft Windows Server 2000 and 2003.


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The HP Control Tower package is in beta testing now and will be generally available next month, Farrand said.

He said he expects Control Towers capabilities to eventually expand beyond blades and into HPs other ProLiant systems, which run on both Intel and Advanced Micro Devices technology.

The acquisition of RLX in October 2005 was part of a number of purchases HP made to bolster its management software offerings. In the weeks leading up to the RLX acquisition, HP also bought AppIQ and Peregrine Systems. HP officials view their management software as a key differentiator.

Farrand said the response to the acquisition from RLX customers has been good, with none to this point jumping ship. HP continues to support RLX hardware, though no new development is planned for it.

RLX was the first vendor on the market with blade servers in 2000 based on Transmeta processors—eventually the company moved to Intel chips—but was overtaken in the space by such giants as IBM and HP. In 2004, the company refocused, moving away from hardware and concentrating on its Control Tower software.


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