Linux System Management Comes to Fore

As Linux makes inroads into the enterprise, corporate customers are calling for help in managing Linux-based systems-a call Red Hat, Ximian and IBM are answering at LinuxWorld with system management announcements.

As Linux continues to power its way into the enterprise, managing Linux-based systems is becoming a top priority for corporate customers.

To help in that effort, Red Hat Inc., Ximian Inc. and IBM are each planning to make system management announcements at this weeks LinuxWorld conference in New York.

The Red Hat Network, which to date has been primarily a software update mechanism, will be expanded to include system management functions, including provisioning, performance management and transaction monitoring, sources told eWeek.

The new offering, to be known as Red Hat Command Center, will build on monitoring software from NOCpulse Inc., which Red Hat acquired in October.

"We feel that systems management is going to be a very important battleground in the open-source world over the next year given the level of serious deployments we are seeing," said Mark de Visser, a vice president at Red Hat, in Raleigh, N.C. "It is critically important."

"Red Hat Network is a far more cost-effective implementation than Microsoft [Corp.]s Systems Management Server and basically does the same thing. I get capacity planning benefits as well as hardware configuration, all sorts of good stuff like that," said Scott Clark, director of systems engineering for Sitel Corp., of Omaha, Neb., which offers outsourced teleservices and runs Linux on some 70 servers.

Ximian will announce Version 1.2 of Red Carpet Enterprise, a behind-the-firewall solution that provides users with centralized maintenance and version management for Linux servers and workstations, officials for the Boston company said. The upgrade includes the ability to roll back a system to a previous version; intelligent proxy connections through a one-way firewall, for system updates; and expanded platform support, such as additional Ximian and third-party vendor software. Also included is support for recent Linux distributions such as Red Hat 8.0, MandrakeSoft S.A.s Mandrake 9 and SuSE Linux AGs SuSE 8.1.

IBM will announce its Tivoli System Automation for Linux, which provides policy-based, self-healing capabilities that identify failing IT clusters and automatically notify and/or alleviate the underlying problem. This offering runs on IBM eServer zSeries, pSeries and xSeries platforms, said officials, in Somers, N.Y.

IBM will also announce that it will provide Linux client support for its Lotus Software divisions Lotus iNotes Web Access software, enabling users to access Lotus Notes-based functions such as e-mail, calendaring and scheduling by simply logging onto the Web, officials said.

IBM will also unveil a new reference platform that makes it easier to create Linux-based smart phones and PDAs.

While Hewlett-Packard Co. isnt planning specific announcements around systems management, Judy Chavis, the companys worldwide director of Linux in Houston, told eWeek that HPs OpenView tools already allow Linux management. "We win deals now because we can help customers with the deployment and life-cycle management and because we already have systems management tools," Chavis said.

HP this week will announce it will offer Red Hat Version 7.3 preinstalled on a new line of HP xw personal workstations. It will also announce several customer wins, including the California Institute of Technology, Reservoir Technologies and Bolivias AFP Futuro.