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HP's Blade Management Baby Steps

Hewlett-Packard is taking it slow in the development of Control Tower System, the blade server-management software it acquired last year. The latest version makes useful, albeit small, changes for Linux users. HP says the new software is easier to use and has a customizable UI, plus scripted and imaged provisioning.

Control Tower manages HP BladeSystems and ProLiant BL server blades, replacing Rapid Deployment Pack-Linux Edition. HP says the all-Linux system, which it claims can be set up in 30 minutes, will install Red Hat Enterprise, SUSE and Windows 2000/2003 servers.

As good as this is, it's still just an incremental change. HP is not replacing Insight Manager for Windows or HP-UX. HP says it plans to broaden the management reach of Control Tower, but for now is recommending Insight Manager as the overriding manager in mixed environments. Also, HP hasn't garnered third-party support the way IBM has. A group of third-party blade-server application vendors, which is sponsored by IBM, recently announced the addition of 20 vendors, including LANDesk.