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Open Sourcer Qlusters Launches Commercial Sys Management
Systems Management with Punch
September 25, 2006
Today, open source player Qlusters will roll out the first commercial edition of its multiplatform systems management architecture, aiming its new OpenQRM Pro product at SMB and enterprise customers that don't want to pay the heftier prices of existing offerings from IBM, HP, and BMC.
In a pre-briefing for LinuxPlanet, Qlusters CTO William Hurley said that OpenQRM Pro will include five new proprietary plug-ins not available with OpenQRM, an LDAP-enabled open source systems management suite downloadable free of charge from the company's Web site.
Hurley expects that, later this year, Qlusters (pronounced "Clusters") will announce additional plug-ins for the commercial product, including some modules to be produced by third-party partners.
The initial add-ins in OpenQRM Pro are geared to server provisioning and requisitioning, Hurley said.
Specific capabilities of the commercial release include LDAP integration, with authentication through LDAP server; diskless server support; policy-driven resource allocation; audit trails of resource request and usage; and automatic, policy-based de-provision of resources.
Qlusters first moved to an open source model in January, launching an open source community and opening up the source code to its existing QRM software, an offering available up to that time only as a commercial product.
Since then, the OpenQRM open source software has enjoyed almost 50,000 downloads, according to the CTO. About half of those downloads have happened over the past 60 days.
"We have users everywhere--from Beijing, to Berlin, to Boston. You can use QRM whether you're a person who has two servers at home, or whether you're an enterprise with tens of thousands of [desktops]," he contended.
Some analysts, though, point out that the systems management market is a tough nut to crack, since it is so highly fraught with competition.
"To win deals in this area, you need a strong focus and a lot of good marketing," said Stephen Elliott, an analyst at IDC, during another interview with LinuxPlanet.
Beyond IBM Tivoli, HP, and BMC, other rivals include Symantec, Bladelogics, and Opsware, according to the analyst.
But as Hurley sees it, OpenQRM's key strengths revolve around a plug-in architecture that is both customizable and easy to integrate with outside systems, including complex architectures such as VLANs (virtual LANs).
Plug-ins have already been developed for the VMWare, Xen, and Linux Vserver virtualization environments, as well as for the Nagios open source monitor and the QEMU processor emulator.
The OpenQRM Project is now building a plug-in for OpenSIMS (Open Source Security Infrastructure Management System), according to the CTO.
Qlusters' software also provides broad OS support, Hurley said. Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD, and Microsoft Windows are all supported across desktops as well as servers.
Beyond Qlusters' internal team of 24 developers, 58 external developers are now engaged in the QRM open source project, according to Hurley, who worked for Apple Computers' R&D division and IBM Tivoli before joining Qlusters.
Many of the external developers have been creating custom plug-ins to OpenQRM, tailored to solving specific problems for their own employers or customers.
External members of the OpenCRM project work in a wide range of industries, including financial services, pharmaceutical, and oil and gas, he said.
In scouting around for an open source revenue model, Qlusters decided to follow in the footsteps of companies such as SugarCRM, Hurley said. Even before the release of OpenQRM Pro, Qlusters earned money by selling services around tech support and maintenance for OpenQRM.
Founded during 2001, Qlusters also has Class A funding from venture capitalist firms Benchmark Capital and Charles River Partners, according to Hurley.
US headquarters are in Palo Alto, CA, but the company is actually based in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Hurley anticipates that, based on OpenQRM's current momentum, downloads of the open source software will pass the 100,000 mark by the end of this year.
Why did Qlusters decide to address server requisitioning and provisioning with the first release of the commercial product?