Can't Manage? Vintela Extends SMS 2003 Beyond Windows

systems management Linux

Vintela Management Extensions 1.0 (VMX), which shipped in early August, lets solution providers manage and monitor non-Windows clients from within Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS) 2003. That goes for Unix, Macintosh and Linux systems, said David Wilson, president of Vintela, which began as a skunkworks project at The Santa Cruz Operation and is now a startup in Lindon, Utah.

"The criticism of SMS has been that SMS can only manage the Microsoft platform," said James Boland, vice president of sales, Incremax Technologies, a 12-year-old advanced network infrastructure provider in New York and a Vintela partner.

Boland said Vintela is one of several third-party vendors extending the SMS 2003 platform to handle everything from servers to smart phones. The Vintela product could prove beneficial to a number of Incremax's enterprise customers, including one that needs to manage about 456 Microsoft servers along with more than 120 other servers that run on a mixture of the AIX and Solaris operating systems, he said.

"To them, [VMX] is a phenomenal benefit, because through one console they can manage all of their server environments," Boland said. "Most large organizations have a mixture."

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Microsoft Product Support Services will provide first-level support for VMX to Microsoft Enterprise Agreement customers that decide to buy the product. This agreement necessitated that the Microsoft support team receive extensive Linux training, Wilson said. "Every single one of the support centers has built a lab," he said.

VMX is based on a Web-based Enterprise Management/Common Interface Model (WBEM/CIM) architecture, so it acts as an SMS Advanced Client. (This technology is also used in management products from Tivoli, Cisco Systems, BMC, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft and others.) It uses the same data stores, classes and objects as SMS 2003. With VMX, network administrators can use SMS 2003 to run tasks including system discovery, software distribution, and hardware and software inventories against non-Windows clients, Vintela said. The console can also be used to launch Unix and Linux remote tools.

Boland described VMX as cost-effective. Vintela has priced the base functionality at $1,995; after that, pricing starts at $125 per non-Windows server and $75 per non-Windows workstation. Volume licensing is available