Dubbed the Sun Connection Inventory Channel, the free software is a one-click inventory management software program available for Solaris, Red Hat, and SuSE Linux environments. The software is supposed to take the sting out of competing management software that checks the health and performance of an IT operation, but may only offer partial automation and still require manual processing, Sun said.
The offering compliments Sun's Connection Update and Provisioning Channels software. Both Connection products are part of Sun's N1 platform, the company's grand design on managing data centers that contain a patchwork of operating systems and applications.
Oren Teich, Director of Sun's Network Platform group said in an interview the Inventory software inserts special tags in the file names that identify what software, systems, and storage managers have and where is it running.
Teich wasn't sure which verticals would see the biggest gains from the software, but noted the mid- to large-sized companies that support data centers would benefit most. He also mused that even smaller businesses could profit from the software.
"If you are trying to manage updates and patches with even a couple of applications, it can be a daunting task and our Inventory software can help." he said.
Sun's Connection and N1 -- or networked hardware and software -- strategy competes fiercely with IBM and Hewlett-Packard in serving IT managers who want to place computers, disk drives, and networking gear in a virtual pool where they can be assigned to different jobs.
In addition to making its software free, Sun said it was submitting the source code for the Connection Inventory Channel to the open source community. The move offers a no-cost alternative to similar products offered by Sun's competition and allows for customizable additions.