ScaleXtreme, a provider of server automation products, has launched a cloud-based patch management automation product for use in public cloud, virtual and physical servers. The tool does automatic scanning and remediation for patch management, says Nand Mulchandani, CEO and co-founder of ScaleXtreme.
"You really don't have a lot of options for managing your Windows and Linux servers,'' he says. While patch management has been around for a long time, Mulchandani says, it is difficult to do on a public cloud machine "in a clean, uniform way across multiple operating systems."
What is unique about ScaleXtreme's offering is the fact that it is designed for cloud environments, and "at the same time treats the existing data center environments all with one tool,'' notes Peter Christy, co-founder and principal analyst at Internet Research Group. "I would guess that the fact that [ScaleXtreme] lets you manage multiple data center environments with one system is more valuable than the cost of changing a system you might already be using," assuming the latest version works the same as the previous one, he adds.
The system management task today is quite different from system management 10 years ago because of the introduction of virtualization and the impact it has had on data center IT, Christy says. Because it is using a SaaS application delivery model, ScaleXtreme provides much simpler deployment, support and cost, he says.
Interest in private cloud operations that can work in conjunction with the public cloud grew markedly in 2011, according to the second InformationWeek Reports State of Cloud Computing Survey. Microsoft and VMware in particular have turned their attention to enabling the higher-level services included in the build out of private cloud environments--making use of their virtualization products as a set of core cloud software that runs inside a company's own data center.
Mulchandani says customers have cited security as the top reason they're not moving from a private cloud to a public cloud, but that they can now set up on-demand or scheduled scans both on their enterprise physical servers and virtual machines, as well as on public cloud servers. ScaleXtreme supports Windows and Linux servers, and patches can be deployed on the fly or on a specific schedule, he says.
"You as the customer really want the advantages of being able to buy capacity from different locations with a single view of all of your systems,'' Mulchandani says. "You want to log in and see all your servers, whether they are on Amazon or Rackspace, and have them show up in a single location and be able to manage them in the exact same way,'' he says. The company is able to do this, he maintains, with the platform technology it has built to manage servers through firewalls without having to open a single inbound port.
Traditional systems management products operating outside of the corporate firewall or on the cloud require that a port be opened to allow the product to communicate with the server. "Our product inverts that model, so instead of the product communicating to the server, the server communicates to the product'' through the use of a software agent that communicates out to the cloud, says Mulchandani. That gives IT the ability to manage servers sitting behind the firewall or in the public cloud just as easily, he says, and both look the same.
Other competitors in the general management space include CA, BMC and IBM/Tivoli, says Christy.
ScaleXtreme offers free patch scanning for public cloud machines, virtual servers and physical servers to select customers through its free ScaleXtreme Xpress product. Its Xpert product costs $15 per month.
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