Dell launches new tool for Linux users

A recently released software tool may make it easier to manage hardware and software updates for Dell servers using a Linux operating system.

Announced earlier this month, the Novell ZENworks 7 Linux Management Dell Edition tool was developed by Novell and Dell to help IT administrators push, automatically and from a centralized location, hardware, operating system and application updates for Dell servers that run either Red Hat or Suse Linux.

“Customers using Linux today have unique challenges,” said Rob Daleman, storage brand manager for Dell Canada.

He noted Linux users are part of an open source community that shares source codes that have many updates and changes constantly available to its users.

The cost of the software tool is $79 per licence.

According to Daleman, the ZENworks Dell edition tool automatically searches for the latest hardware and software updates for Dell PowerEdge servers on Dell’s Web site.

Any updates are then automatically deployed and installed.

Daleman said this automated process reduces the risk of one part of an organization not getting the proper IT updates.

“What happens over time is a problem that is solved doesn’t show up somewhere else and the fix can be forgotten. With this tool you can clearly see what updates have been applied to the servers so it makes it a lot easier to mitigate those risks within an environment and know where you have done the proper updates,” he said.

In the past, Daleman added, multiple tools were needed to update Linux-Dell servers.

He said IT administrators would need a tool to keep track of what’s in their environment, an additional tool to see what updates are needed and then one tool to do hardware updates and another for software.

Larry Russon, senior product manger at Novell, said one of the reasons why Novell decided to add Dell to its ZENworks product line was because about 20 per cent of Dell servers in the enterprise are running on a Linux operating system.

According to one analyst, that 20 per cent represents a significant amount of servers.

“Linux is the fastest growing server operating system segment out there and it has a role to play in data centres,” said Darin Stahl, research lead at London, Ont.-based Info-Tech Research Group.

He added a few years ago Dell wasn’t offering support for Linux on its servers.

Stahl said the Novell/Dell tool competes against Hewlett Packard’s OpenView, Microsoft’s Operations Manager and IBM’s Tivoli, while Russon said his biggest competitor is internal home grown products.

But, he added home grown products are not going to cut it anymore.

“It is becoming critical to have a tool set like this in order to have Linux reside and perform efficiently within a data centre,” said Russon.

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