The jury is in on enterprise Linux, says BMC chief

Linux is "going to become more and more important for the enterprise", says BMC Software worldwide chief Bob Beauchamp. His company now rates Red Hat a "tier one" operating system, meaning that it considers it obligatory to provide the latest versions of all its products for the platform.

"A few years ago, we said we were 'watching' Linux's evolution," he says. "Now the jury is in. There are so many CIOs (internationally) committed to it in mission-critical applications."

Earlier this year, BMC formally admitted Red Hat as a partner. "We see Red Hat as the most prominent Linux vendor in the enterprise space," he says, though BMC will look at supporting other Linux distributions.

Partnerships work without friction or conflict in his experience, Beauchamp says. "You look at what's core to you and what's core to your partner" and "territories" become fairly clear, he says. One of BMC's most recent collaborations is with Symantec. Everything concerned with security is clearly their part of the business."

When working with a customer who already has software installed from a partner, BMC will work through the partner and allow it to take the customer-facing role.

Through development and acquisition, BMC has accumulated a vast range of software tools which Beauchamp says all bear in one way or another on "business-IT alignment", through such tasks as identifying and tracking IT assets monitoring the operation of parts of a complex system and prioritizing to ensure the elements most important to the business are fixed most urgently.

With such a huge suite, particularly in selling to the small enterprises common in New Zealand, BMC is aware of the risk of falling into the same trap as ERP, landing the user with a huge package that will do nothing for them until it is all in place some years later.

Charging has been scaled, he says, to the use the client wants to make of the suite, even allowing some to acquire it on a "pay as you go" basis. "It may be that only half your servers need a heavyweight monitoring tool; the others can use something lightweight and web-based."

BMC has identified eight typical needs of the business in relation to IT and describes them as the "Routes to Value"; one or more can be pursued separately with tangible results, but at a lower cost. The customer spends less, but overall "it serves our ultimate objective, to get a bigger share of the total spend," Beauchamp says.

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