Red Hat Outlines Management Vision

Guest blog by CBR Deputy Editor Matthew Aslett

Linux distributor Red Hat has outlined its development focus for the next two years,

including the addition of the Xen virtual machine monitor and stateless Linux

functionality to its Enterprise Linux operating system, and has called for a new focus on

management to help enable them.

The announcement of the company’s development intentions for 2006 and 2007 is somewhat

odd given that users are able to get an idea of forthcoming Enterprise Linux developments

from its community-led Fedora project, but Red Hat’s VP of global marketing, Tim Yeaton,

said the company wanted to formally announce its direction to the industry to encourage

more high-level understanding.

While the news that Xen and stateless Linux functionality will be released in Red Hat

Enterprise Linux 5 in the second half of 2006 will grab the headlines, this is not really

major news. Red Hat has been talking about both technologies for some time (see previous

href=”http://www.cbronline.com/article_news.asp?guid=5F760468-7288-48C3-AB6B-592B99A41CBA”>stateless

Linux and

href=”http://www.cbronline.com/article_news.asp?guid=8802A300-3BBF-416D-869B-A71E5A4750E8″>Xen

stories).

The interesting thing is the call from Brian Stevens, Red Hat’s recently appointed

chief technology officer and vice president of engineering, for the open source community

to take a fresh look at systems management.

"We think it’s time that the open source community looked at a ubiquitous

management platform," he said. "We want to create a new effort around SLA

management for Linux infrastructure that ends up getting enough involvement from the

community of users."

Stevens said Red Hat is looking at developing a new management platform for Linux

focused on automated management to meet service level agreements. This again is not

something all that new – the likes of HP and BMC have been focused on service level-based

systems management for some time.

What is new is the approach Red Hat wants to take to solve the problem. By announcing

now its intention to define a new management platform over the next two years, the company

is hoping to involve both its user base and the wider open source community in its

development.

"We’re going to try to get an understanding of the vision, validate with clients,

and then create something external as a community," said Stevens. "We’re looking

at getting participation before we’ve even finished thinking about how we solve the

problem."

Details are naturally scarce at this stage, but Red Hat feels that the new approach is

needed to cope with the explosion in logical Linux images that is likely to be prompted by

increased use of virtualization technologies, as well as the increased focused on

centralized management required for stateless Linux.

A long-term Red Hat project, stateless Linux is designed to enable network-based

diskless deployment of the Linux operating system, enabling Linux-based thin client

architectures, as well as centralized management of cloned servers.

Evenwithout the SLA-focused management platform, Red Hat is expecting rapid take-up for

the stateless Linux functionality. Stevens revealed that Barclays Bank is being

particularly aggressive in its stateless Linux deployment plans. "Now that we’ve

started the project we’re seeing people trying to get it into production," he said.

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