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3/20/2006
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Linux Tools To Help Manage Networks

The software, written in J2EE sitting on a JBoss application server, promises to automate time-consuming tasks, including provisioning and deploying updates and backups.

Open Country Inc. on Tuesday expects to officially launch OCM 3.0 Universal Linux System Management Suite. By year's end, the company also will release versions to support Solaris and Windows environments, a company executive told TechWeb.

OCM 3.0 supports global IT support vendors and IT departments that manage appliances, blade servers, edge device and desktop machines. The platform, written in J2EE sitting on a JBoss application server, automates time consuming repeated tasks, such as provisioning, and deploying updates and backups.

The applications suite provides remote managing, asset and repository management files, disaster recover, script management, security patch updates, scheduling and more. "We've proved the platforms also work for Solaris and Windows, but we have to build out the components, which will take us to the end of the year," said Michael Grove, chief executive officer and co-founder.

There is some good news for Linux server adopters. Gartner Inc. forecasts server shipments to reach 2.4 million units in 2010, up from 1.4 million units in 2005, boosting revenue from $6.5 billion to $11.5 billion. That's not the case for desktop adoption rates. Gartner research shows Linux will run on only 3.4 percent of PCs in emerging markets by 2008.

Not so, says Grove, who is working with educators in India to install OCM 3.0. "Once the product is completely rolled out it will be capable of managing desktops for more than two million students across the network," he said.

Grove believes adoption will increase "substantially" this year, and companies will require automated network management platforms to lower administrative costs.

If a server fails, for example, fault-tolerant capabilities prompt the platform to scan the network for its backup and restore the system. For easy upgrades, the stack deployment can group RPM and Debian software packages, files and scripts, deploying the entire stack to one or thousands of systems.

Keeping costs down by automating systems has been a major concern for enterprises. "Support is 60 percent of the cost to manage a server and IT network," he said. "If we could get people thinking about optimizing support first, rather than hardware and applications, the expense to manage systems would come down."

A study commissioned by the Open Source Development Labs (OSDL) of more than 200 enterprises found 88 percent that run both Linux and Windows operating systems spend less effort managing Linux.

The OSDL study also found that in 60 percent of cases, bugs in Linux environments are diagnosed and repaired in less than 30 minutes, nearly eights times faster than in Windows.

OCM 3.0 has been under development for nearly two years, with portions of the tool suite available as a test version from the company's Web site.

An OCM 3.0 annual license fee is $125 per server and $50 per desktop.

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