On iCommand Supports Linux

On Technology’s latest tool doesn’t just do Windows

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On Technology next month plans to add support for Linux-based devices to its automated systems management product line. The software, formerly known as On Command CCM, will be known as On iCommand.

The On iCommand line, which previously supported only Microsoft Windows, is a systems management tool that automates the remote deployment of operating systems, applications, upgrades and software patches to a variety of devices including desktops, servers, mobile devices, point-of-sale terminals and kiosks.

The tool can also be used throughout the life cycle of a device, from initial provisioning and routine maintenance to disaster recovery, when a system's OS and applications have to be restored, said Phil Neray, vice president of marketing at On Technology, based in Waltham. "IT departments don't have enough people to go out with a CD to each device to install applications," Neray said.

With the addition of Linux support, partners should be able to target a broader range of customers, said Patrick Parker, vice president of service and consulting at Microman, a systems integrator in Dublin, Ohio.

"We are seeing companies explore Linux, mainly on the back end of application servers and dedicated VPNs," Parker said. "As Linux moves out more to the desktop, I think we'll see additional opportunities in the traditional desktop management space."

Microman customers utilizing On iCommand to manage Windows systems have realized significant cost-savings, Parker said.

One client hospital, for example, was able to deploy a custom-built application in 30 minutes instead of the six hours it had taken previously, he said, adding that On iCommand paid for itself within three months.

Thus far, deployment of Linux in the enterprise has been hampered by a lack of management tools, Parker said. "Companies don't have a help desk in place or management and reporting tools to deal with Linux," he said. "In most cases, they have individual technical gurus that have to go debug a system, and that's not cost-effective."

A recent study conducted by research firm IDC and financed by Microsoft revealed that the immaturity of the management tools available for Linux today contributes to a higher total cost of ownership for Linux systems than for those running Windows 2000.

Now that On iCommand supports both Windows and Linux-based systems, solution providers can sell a single systems management platform to customers to manage their heterogeneous environments, Neray said.

Pricing for On iCommand, not finalized by press time, probably will be similar to that of the Windows version, which costs $100 per desktop and $500 per server, Neray said.

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