Tivoli Opens Up Linux Gateway
The company's commitment to the cause will be underscored by a major investment in the technology center at the University of Helsinki, the home of Linux.
Tivoli Systems is set to make a major commitment to Linux, which could see the open source operating system become the only platform in the middle tier of its Enterprise architecture.
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Enterprise consists of three tiers: endpoints, gateways, and management servers. Tivoli is considering packaging the gateways, which do the job of collating data from agents at the endpoints, as Linux-based systems management appliances.
"If the only gateway we supported was Linux, it would be cheap, said chief technology officer Tim Bishop. "It would make configuration testing much easier and it would be easier to support."
The company's commitment to the cause will be underscored by a major investment in the home of Linux: the technology center at the University of Helsinki, where Linus Torvalds first started work on the Unix-like software platform.
The Linux drive began just before Christmas, when CEO Jan Lindelow agreed to fund the research project. But, according to Bishop, Tivoli hasn't just jumped on the bandwagon.
"We will officially commit to Linux as soon as we get a big customer deal," Bishop said.
He said Tivoli's partners will be able to sell bundled commodity-based Intel hardware, Linux, and Tivoli software as a gateway appliance in their management solutions.
But if Linux advocates within the company have their way, the problem for Tivoli will be convincing existing customers of the benefits of the operating system.
Tom Scholtz, an analyst at Meta Group, said the installed base should not be expected to migrate in the short term.
"If existing customers insist on using NT, it would take some of the wind out of Tivoli's sails,Scholtz said. "But, in the mid- to long-term, it makes perfect sense."
Scholtz said using only the open source software will cut development costs, which would ideally be passed on to clients. He added that this was possible, rather than likely, because Tivoli charges what it thinks it can.
If Tivoli decides to support Linux gateways alone, this would be a major filip for the operating system. Many software vendors have announced that versions of their software will be ported to the operating environment, but analysts said it would be unprecedented to drop support for both Unix and NT. "This could definitely push Linux penetration if Tivoli decides to make it pervasive," Scholtz said.
The official announcements at last week's Planet Tivoli user conference in Lisbon centred on an old-school operating system; the company has finally pulled S/390 into the management fold. Products released last week included Tivoli Manager for OS/390, Tivoli Service Desk for OS/390 version 1.2, enhancements to Tivoli NetView, and versions of Global Enterprise Manager and Enterprise. This will enable the mainframe to be managed as a node in a distributed system, or as the central manager of managers.