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CentOS Goes Commercial

CentOS Powers New Appliance

  • May 28, 2010
  • By Sean Michael Kerner
Sean Michael Kerner

The market for CentOS Linux-based appliances continues growing, thanks in part to a new network-monitoring virtual appliance from GroundWork and commercial support services from OpenLogic.

CentOS is a freely available clone of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system. Until recently, CentOS users had to rely on the community for support, but that changed in December 2009 when services vendor OpenLogic began to offer commercial support for CentOS.

This week, open source network monitoring vendor GroundWork announced its new GroundWork Monitor Enterprise Quickstart Virtual Appliance based on CentOS and including commercial support from OpenLogic. The move marks the first time that OpenLogic has done an appliance support contract for CentOS, which could potentially lead to further growth in the CentOS installed base.

"Most companies coming to us for support are enterprises that are using CentOS or want to migrate to CentOS," Kim Weins, senior vice president of marketing at OpenLogic, told InternetNews.com.

While the commercial support for the GroundWork Monitor appliance deployment on CentOS is new, CentOS is no stranger to GroundWork users.

"The CentOS Linux platform is extremely popular with small and medium-sized GWOS [GroundWork open source] users, accounting for 46 percent of our installations," Simon Bennett, senior director of product management at GWOS, said in a statement. "This solution enables pragmatic CentOS users to expand their monitoring capabilities with the knowledge that the combined GWOS and OpenLogic support teams are available to cover the complete software stack."

In terms of how the Groundwork appliance was built, Weins noted that GroundWork uses BitRock for that service. OpenLogic's Weins explained that the way the partnership will work with Groundwork on support is that GroundWork will provide the first-line support, with OpenLogic providing backstop support on CentOS when needed.

"We have both paid OpenLogic staffers with CentOS expertise as well as partners," Weins said. "We have been interacting with customers, and in one case, we worked with the community to resolve a bug in CentOS."

While CentOS offers users with an alternative to Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat has not seen CentOS as a rival. When OpenLogic launched its CentOS support offering last year, Red Hat told InternetNews.com that they weren't actively chasing users of CentOS. Rather Red Hat sees the overall value that it offers to its subscribers with updates and support as being a differentiator.

For OpenLogic, there are still some challenges ahead in growing their CentOS support business.

"We have seen a lot of interest in CentOS, however we are still relatively early in the life of this offering," Weins said. " The biggest challenge in companies using CentOS is the need to ensure that their other software running on CentOS will continue to work and be supported. We are looking at several initiatives to address this issue."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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