Red Hat Launches Command Center

Plans more enterprise management modules for Red Hat Network

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Red Hat at LinuxWorld launched an enterprise systems management module for Red Hat Network called Command Center.

Red Hat Command Center, first reported by CRN earlier this month, is a systems management module that plugs into Red Hat Network. It is one of many modules to be delivered as part of the company's enterprise management framework unveiled here on Thursday. The module, based on NOCpulse technology acquired by Red Hat, offers performance monitoring and reporting tools, including the ability for customers to track server usage patterns and provide trend analysis.

The module complements Red Hat Network's existing software delivery and maintenance module. More management modules will be delivered over the next six to nine months, said one Red Hat executive.

The Command Center module, delivered as an add-on to Red Hat Network, is priced at about $120 per host, per year on a subscription basis, Red Hat executives said. It also can be installed at a customer premises for a $20,000 installation fee by Red Hat Professional Services and the Linux company's systems integration partners, the executives said.

OpSource, a Red Hat customer and partner, said the new Command Center module is a more cost-effective alternative to other solutions.

"In obtaining the Red Hat product, we get the big board view and a low cost of entry," said John Rowell, vice president of operations at OpSource, a seven-month-old company that supports Windows, Unix and Linux platforms. "It offers a factor of 10 in savings compared to [Microsoft Systems Management Server]."

The systems management module will support multiple Linux distributions including competitive UnitedLinux distributions. However, the software delivery and maintenance module that currently exists will not be extended to non-Red Hat distributions, executives said.

One customer lauded the new Command Center systems management module.

"We're a failed Tivoli deployment," said Scott Clark, director of systems engineering at SITEL, an outsourced call center. "OpenView, Computer Associates and Tivoli agents are too much trouble to configure and maintain. Command Center is comparable and less expensive than [Microsoft Systems Management Server.] We're looking forward in a big way to the Command Center add-on to Red Hat Network."

In a meeting with CRN, Red Hat Vice president of marketing Mark de Visser said Red Hat Command Center is useful for managing Linux servers -- and desktops.

"It's addressing the issue of manageability," said de Visser. "It's the continued next step in supporting widescale enterprise depolyments. Then we have a good stepping stone to go to the desktop."

The Red Hat vice president emphasized that the company does not expect the Linux desktop market to take off for at least nine months.

He noted that the company will offer a Red Hat 9.0 upgrade code-named "Phoebe" with enhanced font rendering this spring, but a full corporate desktop from Red Hat is in the more distant future. An earlier report in CRN incorrectly stated the upgrade would be Red Hat 8.1.

However, de Visser acknolwedged that "Phoebe" would most likely ship in April, as CRN reported in early January.

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