Open Country Seeks to Simplify Linux Management

The company takes on big vendors with a Linux management tool that provides operating system provisioning, software and patch management, asset management, backup and restoration, and more from a centralized console.

While many IT managers gravitate toward administration tools from large providers, one upstart vendor is attracting attention with simple Linux desktop and server management software that balances functionality with low cost and ease of use.

Open Country Inc., which counts among its customers Cisco Systems Inc., Intel Corp. and Electronic Data Systems Corp., this week will launch OC-Manager. The tool supports standard and enterprise versions of Linux and provides operating system provisioning, software and patch management, asset management, backup and restoration, remote system administration, and remote control from a centralized console.

The Belmont, Calif., company is counting on OC-Managers price and usability to compete with a wealth of more robust but pricier Linux support offerings from large companies such as Computer Associates International Inc., Veritas Software Corp. and EMC Corp.s Legato Software.

"Our price point is about $9 per month per unit, it takes 2 hours to learn and implement the tool, and you can manage 95 percent of the issues associated with Linux," said Michael Grove, Open Countrys CEO and co-founder.

At one large service provider, the comparison between Open Countrys and CAs Linux management capabilities is significant.

"Open Countrys application normalization is something CA cant touch. From a raw capabilities perspective, CAs software distribution engine can do the same thing, but it takes nine commands as opposed to a click with Open Country. Its the difference between a $40,000-a-year person spending a minute on a test versus an $80,000 person spending 10," said the user, who asked not to be identified.

The product may appeal to small and midsize businesses. "Cost is an issue," said John Horn, CEO at Interstate Software LLC, in Kansas City, Mo. "Usually, things like CA translate into a lot of money. There are a lot of products I see on the market that do pieces and parts, but Open Country has taken the best of all worlds and put it into one supported, commercial package. If you dont have support, its worthless."

Along with its emphasis on simplicity, Open Country focuses on choice and scalability, allowing customers to scale up or down.

The software, available now, includes an agent that requires 1MB of memory and a host. It runs on Linux or Windows and manages Linux servers, blades, desktops and appliances. Open Country plans to add support for managing Windows later, said company officials.


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