March 01, 2001, 4:53 PM — LINUX SYSTEM MANAGEMENT software received a boost on Tuesday, with Caldera Systems debuting what company officials believe is the first such package for that market capable of managing thousands of distributed systems.
Intended for ISPs, ASPs (application service providers), and larger corporate accounts, Volution is a directory-centered program that allows administrators to conduct asset management, hardware and software inventorying, health monitoring of Linux-based systems, and software distribution.
"There are a lot of [Linux-based] products out there that just do network management or performance monitoring. But the users we talk to say they want something more like [Volution] that lets them control their networks, do a wider range of things on their schedule, and to own all the components of that network," said John Wilkinson, Volution's product line manager.
IBM's Tivoli, which holds a commanding position in the high-end systems management market and in those operating environments systems outside of Linux, has yet to be ported to Linux. IBM officials have yet to say when such a port would be available.
Some users agree that a systems management package for Linux, capable of doing some of the heavy lifting required by corporate accounts with geographically far-flung enterprises, is long overdue.
"Something like [Volution] is really good to see. We have been thinking about deploying a few more Linux-based applications in various parts of the operation but were waiting for something like this to come along to help with the management aspect of things," said Jeff Headley, a LAN administrator for a medical products distributor in Chicago.
Wilkinson also believes Volution will break down some corporate barriers that have stood against all of the major Linux distributors the last few years, and should spur faster adoption of the open-source operating system.
"I have seen lots of doors previously closed to Caldera now being flung open because of this technology. [OEM] partners who said, 'Oh, you are just another Linux distribution,' now they are asking us to come and show them this technology because it is a key differentiator," Wilkinson said.
There have been 24,000 downloads of the product so far, according to company officials.
Volution, which will be shown at this month's LinuxWorld Expo in New York, offers Web-based remote management, meaning administrators can manage Linux systems from any location within a company. Being Web-based also allows administrators to mange networks through a browser.
The product is directory-based, according to company officials, because it allows administrators the flexibility of not only storing information but also a more logical and intuitive way of managing network resources.