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Enterprise Linux management: It's tool time

All systems are go for enterprise Linux! The enterprise-ready management tools are on board, and the new 2.6 kernel will take Linux up to the top of IT infrastructures, according to Pete Marshall, assistant vice president of Candle Corp.'s Systems and Service Management Group (El Segundo, Calif.). Candle sells management software that monitors system performance for IBM Linux mainframe environments. With the new Linux 2.6 kernel, IT managers will get the scalability, power and flexibility they need to extend Linux further into the enterprise, Marshall said in this interview. "IT managers now have an added comfort level in migrating Linux to multi-processor environments and assume some of the heavy lifting in transactional processing," he said.

In this interview, Marshall discusses the new kernel and offers tips on choosing enterprise-level management tools for Linux.

What will be the most important enterprise Linux technology development in the next six months?
The new Linux 2.6 kernel brings Linux maturity to the server level. The Linux 2.6 kernel provides significant enhancements that provide added scalability and options for IT managers to deploy Linux more easily in industrial-strength, multi-processor systems. As such, organizations will continue to migrate Linux to 64-bit systems to support enterprise tasks.

IT managers now have an added comfort level in migrating Linux to multi-processor environments and assume some of the heavy lifting in transactional processing. Multi-processor support for Linux eases an IT manager's ability to use Linux in core enterprise applications. Linux, for example, can be especially suited for real-time transactions such as commodities trading, order fulfillment, and CRM applications. What are the challenges associated with bringing Linux in a heterogeneous environment?
There are some cultural issues. There are typically a number of Linux evangelists that are promoting the promise of the operating system within an organization. However, it is important that the Linux evangelists meet with all appropriate IT staff to discuss the benefits of Linux for the enterprise, raise potential drawbacks, and build team consensus before moving forward. In many cases, IT administrators are concerned that their valuable knowledge in Microsoft would be considered expendable if their company migrated to Linux. Companies must address these issues by discussing how IT administration roles will evolve and provide a proposal for Linux training for the staff. As Linux moves up, will IT managers find that there are any significant differences between managing Linux and managing Unix or Windows environments?
Although there are similarities between Linux and Unix, it is a significantly different process than managing a Windows or mainframe environment. It is important for companies to use a systems management solution that systems administrators with different specialties can use effectively.

Unix is a tools-based environment that includes a lot of development tools and command-line programming. Linux has its roots in Unix and has a similar development environment. To minimize intensive training for Linux, organizations should deploy a systems management solution that uses a graphical interface and simplifies the systems management process. Do you see any gaps in the management offerings for enterprise Linux environments today? news exclusive: "Altiris: Admins managing Linux have 'tiger by the tail' "

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FEEDBACK: Do you agree that there are no gaps in management product offerings for the Linux platform?
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What features should system administrators look for in commercial and/or open source management products for enterprise Linux environments?
Ease of use is critical. It is important that organizations use a systems management solution that is intuitive and can be used easily by the entire systems management staff, regardless of individual specialties. The systems management solution that companies select should serve to increase, not hinder productivity. Linux systems management solutions must also integrate with the rest of the IT environment to provide systems administrators with an enterprise-wide view of performance. Do you see any gaps in the management offerings for enterprise Linux environments today?
No, Candle along with other providers offer a broad set of systems management solutions for middleware, databases, and other enterprise technologies.

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