Linux start-up launches server provisioning software

Open Country veteran develops Linux server provisioning software for small and midsize customers

Linux systems management start-up LinMin launched this week by making its first software product designed to ease the provisioning of Linux systems available for download.

LinMin, founded by former Open Country chief Laurent Gharda, offers Linux systems administration software based on the intellectual property Gharda acquired from Open Country in late 2007.

LinMin's product, LinMin Bare Metal Provisioning (LBMP), uses remote provisioning and imaging technology previously developed as OCM Provision from Open Country. The version currently available supports Linux. LinMin says it is readying the application to support Windows, a version which is in alpha tests.

"LBMP supports 30 Linux types and provides simple bare metal provisioning for Linux regardless of the framework customers may be using," LinMin CEO Gharda says.

Customers can download the software onto a generic server, run three scripts and interact with a browser-based interface to create consistent operating systems images of Linux servers they want to distribute to remote machines. LBMP works with existing systems management agents from BladeLogic, BMC, HP or IBM, among others, but eases the process of creating Linux images, customers say.

"I love the fact that we can now provision our existing server infrastructure from a bare metal state to full production readiness without having to step foot in the data center," says Brian McArthur, southwest regional director for Advantage Professionals, a staffing solutions provider. "I had a rack of 40 Dell 1955 Blades delivered to our data center, and once powered up and connected to the network, we were able to provision them remotely and with a day's time."

Aside from speeding 64-bit CentOS 5.1 server provisioning, McArthur says the pricing on LBMP helped steer his decision to beta test the product. An annual subscription to LBMP costs US$100 for 10 client systems, US$400 for 100 client systems and US$750 for 250 clients systems. "LinMin's pricing is the best I have seen for a software package. I have worked LinMin's server imaging functionality into our disaster-recovery process. This was just an added bonus that we didn't really expect to get when we purchased the product," he says.

Industry watchers expect LinMin's technology to be successful among small to midsize IT shops because of the price, but say the vendor must work on its Windows version to really resonate with companies short on IT staff.

"Despite the crowded systems management market, provisioning remains a top issue. Small companies run more Windows than Linux though and that will be a challenge for the company," says Jay Lyman, analyst at The 451 Group.

LBMP is available for download here.

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