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Novell links management products to cut costs

Novell has unveiled an open-source systems management project which aspires to link together flagship management products from IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Computer Associates International to reduce costs.

The project involves rallying top-tier suppleirs around Novell's YaST (Yet Another Setup Tool) management tool which will allow these companies to enable access to all existing and future systems management tools and make it easier for systems integrators to glue together “solution stacks” made up of both open-source and proprietary software.

By doing so, corporate users have the liberty to choose the software that best addresses their problems, according to one Novell executive.

“We want to do with YaST what Linux did for the operating system: give partners and customers more flexibility, choice, and the best technology,” said Juergen Geck, the chief technology officer of SuSE Linux.

“We want to establish [YaST] as a tool for the community,” he said.

YaST works with HP's OpenView, IBM's Tivoli, Computer Associates' Unicenter, and Novell's Red Carpet Enterprise and ZenWorks will participate in the project.

“With a standard platform for instrumenting the management of Linux systems, YaST can be a useful interface for corporate users looking to build enterprise management environments,” said Sam Greenblatt, senior vice-president and chief architect of the Linux Technology Group at Computer Associates.

“We see this as an important step forward for the Linux market," he said.

Some analysts agree that co-operation among top-tier companies will help corporate accounts on their now perpetual quest to lower costs, particularly those associated with IT staffing.

“Software that  lowers the cost of management would address one of the areas having the largest impact on overall cost - the staff-related costs of administration, operations, and support," said Dan Kusnetzky, IDC's vice-president of system software research.

Novell officials believe the tool also lightens the burden of another nagging IT pain: the integration of farflung strategic hardware and software platforms. They believe YaST, because it is open source and has been around for several years, can provide relatively seamless compatibility with a wide range of hardware and software.

"It already has the ability to enable hardware vendors to be smoothly integrated into SuSE Linux and its 4,000 or so packages as well as other distributions. It is a piece of open-source code and it is free, so there is no lock-in," Geck said.

Ed Scannell writes for Infoworld


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