Qlusters has officially announced the openQRM project, which comprises open-source systems management software for managing data centers based on Linux servers. OpenQRM is based on the firm's commercial software, Qlusters Resource Manager (QRM).
OpenQRM acts as a basic platform or "glue" to bring together and provide a single point of management and automation for all the disparate components companies are using to try and monitor their Linux-based data centers, according to Ofer Shoshan, founder and chief executive officer of Qlusters.
"Once they have 100 to 200 [Linux] servers, they're starting to feel pain," Shoshan said in a phone interview Friday. "The number of servers a systems administrator can deal with is as low as one administrator to 20 servers."
The components that companies are trying to combine include homegrown solutions, management software from the likes of Hewlett-Packard, IBM and CA and virtualization tools from vendors such as EMC's VMware, he said.
OpenQRM can integrate the various components to let IT managers track and generate reports on data center usage as well as improve resource allocation by assigning servers to users and applications according to defined policies. The software also helps share resources between servers via image management, Shoshan said.
OpenQRM can be extended via plug-ins to other systems-management software. Qlusters has already developed several plug-ins, for instance, for VMware, but one of the company's reasons for taking its entire systems-management software open source is to encourage third parties to also contribute plugs-ins, according to Shoshan.
Qlusters doesn't intend to take on the existing proprietary systems-management players like BMC Software and CA, according to Shoshan. "We don't compete with them," he said. "We integrate with them."
Currently, openQRM has limited support for Microsoft's Windows, meaning it supports the OS when it's locally installed on a given server or when it's running under VMware. Qlusters hopes to provide more support for Windows over the coming year after Microsoft releases additional booting functionality for its OS in the second quarter of this year, according to Shoshan.
OpenQRM supports the two leading distributions of Linux from Red Hat and Novell. The company is seriously looking at also supporting the Debian and Gentoo Linux distributions, he said.
OpenQRM can be downloaded from SourceForge.net and is being distributed under a modified Mozilla Public License, according to Shoshan.
Qlusters did a "soft launch" of openQRM a couple of weeks ago on SourceForge, according to William Hurley, the company's chief technology officer. As of Friday, there had been 412 downloads of the software, which pleased the company since it had only alerted a handful of people about openQRM's availability, Hurley said.
Qlusters looks to generate revenue around openQRM by offering paid subscription support, according to Fred Gallagher, vice president, marketing and business development at Qlusters. An initial bundle will include support, patches and new technologies for the next generation of the software, he said. In the second half of this year, Qlusters expects to add another subscription bundle, Enterprise QRM, which will include proprietary features for the openQRM software, Gallagher added.
Qlusters was founded in 2001 and is based in California, with offices in Israel and New York. It employs about 40 people. "We have enough money to run the project [openQRM] and get revenue," Shoshan said. Qlusters has already raised more than US$23 million in venture capital financing, he added, which will help the company expand its engineering and sales and marketing staff.