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Centeris Preps Linux Server Management Under Windows

A Washington-based startup is finalizing software that aims to let server administrators have the best of both worlds by simplifying the task of controlling Linux servers within a Windows Server-based network.

Centeris Corp. has been beta testing its package, called Likewise, for much of 2005 and is making a final beta publicly available today before finalizing it for release in December, say company officials. The software uses two parts that work with each other to bridge the gap between Linux servers and Windows Server: Likewise Console, which is installed on a Windows Server management machine and allows provisioning and maintenance of the Linux servers, and Likewise Agent, which translates the console's instructions on the Linux servers themselves.

"We talked to about 150 customers during our process, and we identified two issues that led us to believe that this was useful," said Barry Crist, Centeris's chief executive officer. "Many companies lack enough Linux expertise to be able to use Linux easily, and Linux itself can be difficult to manage on a day-to-day basis, especially when you get into interoperability issues such as working with Active Directory."

Beyond management of specific server provisioning and performance, Likewise is also configured to join with Active Directory to permit authentication of users, and to handle single sign-on from Windows users looking to access Linux servers. The software also handles Linux file and print services and Apache web servers, and Crist said administrators can choose to use the Microsoft Management Console in lieu of the Likewise Console to take advantage of MMC's wizards and other familiar Windows-based management.

Likewise Agent supports Red Hat, SUSE and Open SUSE, while the console runs on Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.

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