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Systems Management, Red Hat Style

Red Hat has at last leaped into systems management. The Linux distributor's forthcoming management framework--which is purported to support multiple environments and platforms with a single back end and is tied closely to Red Hat's online subscription service--is intended to give enterprise IT shops another good reason to adopt Linux. But that will happen only if it can do more than manage niche aspects of the network.

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Today, Red Hat users manage their systems with the vendor's Proxy Server and Satellite Server. Administrators can specify when and how to connect with RHN (Red Hat Network) for secure updates to packages and for channel updates. What these two solutions lack is fundamental network-management tools such as trend analysis, fault monitoring and availability reporting.

Red Hat's new framework is meant to fill these gaps and add secure systems management for every part of a Red Hat Linux network. The software is tightly coupled with the Red Hat Network subscription service, through which Red Hat provides software updates and notifications to administrators. The service keeps all Red Hat software up to date with little hassle.

Even so, we're still skeptical about Red Hat's ability to manage IBM AIX and

Windows platforms. If such support doesn't make it into the final product, the framework may have a hard time finding its way into the enterprise. After all, one-domain management equals niche management.