Aberdeen InSight: Linux-Based Software Management: Page 2

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What Do Emerging Linux-Based Suppliers Offer?

The emerging Linux software management solution suppliers offer products that provide some standard features, including:

  • Centralized remote management;
  • RPM Package Manager support;
  • Security patch capability and security alerts;
  • Secure Web-based browser management;
  • Conflict and dependency checking;
  • New package notification;
  • Hardware/software inventories for the managed systems; and
  • Open source agents running on the managed systems.

Other features that the suppliers support in varying degrees - and features that potential users should consider when selecting a Linux software management solution - include:

  • Flexibility of software package support;
  • Integration capability with enterprise network and system management frameworks;
  • Linux distribution support - i.e., one Linux distribution or several;
  • Potential for adapting to non-Linux systems;
  • Degree of customization possible for managing corporate users and defining software access privileges; and
  • Degree of software package certification.

Several of the solutions are not limited to just Linux. For example, Ximian Red Carpet will be available on Solaris in 2002; Caldera Volution Manager is now available on Caldera OpenServer and Caldera Open UNIX, and will be available on Solaris and Windows. Of the Linux-based software management solutions, only Red Hat Network is available for one Linux distribution and operating system - Red Hat Linux.

A recently released 50-page Aberdeen research report entitled Software Management Solutions from Linux Suppliers: A Competitive Analysis covers products, targeted markets, business strategies, etc., for Aduva Director, Caldera Volution Online, Caldera Volution Manager, Red Hat Network, Turbolinux PowerCockpit, and Ximian Red Carpet. In addition to helping users sort through the multiple offerings and various partnering strategies now underway, this report provides a competitive analysis/ranking of the solutions available today. In addition, it notes the solution providers that have the best chances for success in the future.

Aberdeen Conclusions

The nature and use of open source software such as Linux - access to thousands of open source packages via the Web - places certain requirements on products for managing Linux-based systems. As a result, the creators of the Linux-based solutions have included some important features not found in proprietary software management solutions. Most of these features make installing/removing Linux-based software an easy, one-step process.

Early on, the emerging Linux software solution suppliers focused on open source software deployment issues for Linux platforms. Now, however, some of these suppliers are beginning to tackle the problems of deploying proprietary software on Linux and deploying software on proprietary operating system platforms such as Solaris and Windows using the same solutions. This effort increases solution value because solutions will be able to perform cross-platform software management.

As Linux servers move increasingly into the enterprise and interoperate with Unix and Windows servers, the need to integrate Linux management solutions with enterprise network management and systems management solutions will increase. This integration is important and necessary because the emerging suppliers' solutions do an inadequate job of handling, if at all, tasks such as hardware monitoring, resource management, performance management, etc. And, today, they are not capable of managing heterogeneous platforms.

Aberdeen's research suggests that the suppliers whose Linux-based software management solutions can easily integrate with enterprise management solutions are the suppliers likeliest to have the largest impact in the Linux market.

Bill Claybrook is Aberdeen Group's Research Director, Linux and Open Source Software.

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