Friday, April 25, 2008

Open source management software breaks into the data center

Linux in the data center brings with it a dilemma: more boxes to manage. Traditional IT management tools such as HP OpenView, IBM Tivoli, and CA Unicenter can creep up in cost as the server count increases. With management tools in the picture, the total cost of ownership may actually increase instead of decrease when Linux is brought in.

"I see CIO's looking at tools that allow them to extend existing core IT systems down to Linux, so they can treat the system like any other already on their network," explains Steve Merkel, CIO of Denver-based data center Data393. "If they can deploy Linux within the enterprise, and administratively apply policy to that box just like they apply it to any Windows environment on the network, they would likely explore that option."

However, the displacement of many proprietary products by the open source movement may enter the equation for enterprise management tools as well. Using open source to manage open source, with products such as GroundWork Open Source, Puppet, and Zenoss, might be the answer to this dilemma.

Mark Hinkle, Vice President of Community for Zenoss, has seen a definite swing in the direction of his product over the past few years. The company surveys their market and finds that a smaller and smaller percentage choose tools because they are a perceived "trusted source." Hinkle has observed a growing trend towards the use of open source tools to manage IT assets.

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