Linux and open source are nothing if not breeding grounds for innovation and creativity. But when it comes to deploying rock-solid products to support an enterprise IT environment, Linux and open source software can be a mixed bag.
It's in this spirit that SearchEnterpriseLinux.com recruited a team of independent judges to select their top picks for Linux Products of the Year. Keeping the needs of the enterprise IT organization firmly in mind, judges considered products in four categories: Linux server distributions, Linux administration, Linux security applications and virtualization for Linux servers. All the products were announced and shipped in 2007 and submitted by the vendors themselves, editors or the judges. Awards were granted based on innovation, value, performance, reliability and ease of use.Linux Server Distributions category
The Linux Server Distributions category came down to a fight between the proverbial David and Goliath, and -- in our version of events, at least -- Goliath won (for now). The Gold award for Linux Server Distributions goes to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (RHEL 5), the gold standard of enterprise Linux distributions.
"From an enterprise Linux server perspective, RHEL may be the product of the year every year," wrote one judge. But RHEL isn't just resting on its laurels; RHEL 5 brings notable new features and enhancement such as virtualization; an application exchange; and enhanced CPU support, drivers, and package updates/upgrades.But judges were also taken with Ubuntu Server 7.10, aka Gutsy Gibbon, which builds on the legendary ease of use in its desktop distribution and carries it into the server version to garner the Silver award. "Here's a distro that finally takes what's best about Debian and adds ease of use and ease of installation. What's more, Ubuntu has built up a considerable development and user community, which should give it staying power," enthused one judge.
Security Applications category
Heterogeneous environments are a fact of life in enterprise IT, and Gold winner Centrify Corp.'s DirectControl 4 makes it drop-dead simple to incorporate Linux, Unix, Mac, Web and database platforms into a pre-existing Microsoft's Active Directory (AD) schema, enabling Linux administrators to eliminate redundant identity management systems and standardize on a single enterprise-wide identity management platform.
If you need monitoring, trending, reporting and a dashboard, then GroundWork Monitor Professional 5.1 is what you should get, our judges found, awarding it the Gold. "All in all, I found it as good as products from IBM, HP, CA, etc.," wrote one judge, complete with "excellent documentation, a clean installation process, and the autodiscovery process works flawlessly."
And if you use an rpm-based Linux distribution such as Red Hat or CentOS, then you might consider checking out Silver winner Levanta 6.0, a data center automation suite that tackles tasks such as provisioning, change management, migration and recovery from system failures. In addition, Levanta also monitors servers and includes a policy engine that together can trigger systems management events.
I was impressed at how quickly a machine could be recovered or restored back to a [point-in-time] using Levanta," one judge said. "The deployment function is top-notch, making it almost as easy to deploy a physical Linux box as it is to deploy a virtual machine in VMware. It automated the entire process of Linux deployment."
Virtualization for Linux servers category
No IT award for 2007 would be complete without acknowledging virtualization, and SearchEnterpriseLinux.com's Products of the Year is no exception. Taking the Gold is virtualization up-and-comer Citrix Systems XenServer Enterprise Edition 4.0, which it acquired from XenSource this summer, making it a credible alternative to more established virtualization platforms, such VMware Virtual Infrastructure 3.
The Silver award goes to SWsoft Parallels Virtuozzo 4.0 based on its strong track record of performance and reliability in demanding Linux environments. A favorite of large hosting providers, Virtuozzo's rock-solid approach to operating system virtualization and containers positions it for deployment in nearly any mission-critical Linux environment.
Congratulations to all the winners. As Linux continues to infiltrate every aspect of enterprise computing in 2008, SearchEnterpriseLinux.com editors and judges will comb the marketplace for the next generation of products to enhance the platform. If any catch your eye, be sure and write us about them.
Let us know what you think about the story; email Alex Barrett, News Director.