Watching over Linux

By Tom Henderson, Network World |  Networking

Because Volution uses a browser interface, console accessibility was excellent, but the interface lacks some drag-and-drop usefulness. Secure browser access can be easily enabled, although the default access is open. Scripts that ran Java servlets inside the browser console ran slowly despite our comparatively fast platform. Despite the slow server visual update, tasks such as hardware/software inventorying took place quickly. Unfortunately, the browser interface becomes a hindrance when viewing even the most simple of Linux software inventories because of the large size of inventories and the tiny amount of browser real estate that can be used, and the console lacks such common abilities. Scrolling the Volution browsed console became habitual; we were wearing a hole in the mouse pad.

Primary documentation is an outlined administrator's guide, which is terse and lacking useful examples. You have to know Linux and TCP/IP well to make the policies useful from a management perspective.

To our knowledge, there is no direct competitor to Volution that combines policy administration, monitoring, inventory management and software distribution. Organizations that have built a directory service around Novell's eDirectory will be especially delighted with the ability to extend eDirectory functionality to Linux clients. Whatever directory service is used, Volution replaces the usual pages of scripts that are often used by Linux administrators to manage Linux servers and clients.

Volution isn't licensed under an open source methodology used by most Linux/Linux-like applications, and is quite an investment for many organizations used to the low cost of Linux components. The success of this package will be driven by the real economics of reduced cost of Linux networked system administration.

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