Caldera shows off distributed Linux systems management

InfoWorld |  Operating Systems

LINUX SYSTEM MANAGEMENT software received a boost last week when Caldera Systems unveiled what company officials and users said is the first such package for 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, to inventory hardware and software, to monitor the health of Linux-based systems, and to distribute software.

Linux users "want something more like [Volution] that lets them control their networks, do a wider range of things on their schedule, and own all the components of that network," said John Wilkinson, Volution's product-line manager at Orem, Utah-based Caldera.

IBM's Tivoli, which holds a commanding position in the high-end systems management market and in operating environments other than Linux, has yet to be ported to Linux. IBM officials have not said 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 [we] were waiting for something like this to come along to help with the management aspect of things," said Jeff Headley, a LAN administrator at a medical products distributor in Chicago.

Wilkinson also said Volution will break down some of the corporate barriers standing in front of all the major Linux distributors the past few years and should spur faster adoption of the open-source operating system. There have been 24,000 downloads of the product so far, company officials said.

Volution, which will be shown later this month at LinuxWorld Expo in New York, offers Web-based remote management, meaning administrators can manage Linux systems via a browser from any location within a company.

The data repository of Volution is an LDAP directory that allows administrators the flexibility of not only storing information but also managing network resources in a more logical and intuitive way.

Caldera plans to port Volution to SCO's UnixWare platform as part of its budding multiplatform strategy for the product, although officials declined to say when such a version would be available. More details on that strategy will be forthcoming at LinuxWorld, when Caldera will formally unveil the as yet unnamed company it formed in the fall with SCO, based in Santa Cruz, Calif.

Available now, Volution will ship with the Novell eDirectory and OpenLDAP Web server, and the license to manage as many as 10 nodes.

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