Zenoss Monday made available an update to its flagship open-source management software platform that the company says will let IT managers start building a configuration management database without investing in costly commercial software.
The company, which provides its software for free under the Mozilla public license and offers commercial support packages, enhanced its Zenoss Core software with an integrated inventory and configuration database that the company says houses a real-time model of an organization's IT environment.
"Configuration is a critical aspect to managing your environment, and a CMDB is central to the best practices laid out in ITIL [the Information Technology Infrastructure Library]," says Bill Karpovich, co-founder and CEO of Zenoss. "We wanted to integrate the configuration capabilities in with the software's other functions to help customers understand how performance relates to items in the configuration database."
Such a database, dubbed a CMDB by industry watchers, includes a large amount of information -- including applications, operating systems, patches, hardware model, life-cycle costs and user connections -- about all IT configuration items within a corporate network. Supporters of the technology say it helps IT managers aggregate data from multiple sources into a single system and make sense of different data formats, and reduces the time it takes to solve problems.
"During the past 18 months or so, CMDB has evolved from a promising concept that became one of the industry's latest buzzwords to a strategic initiative that, while still in the early phases of deployment, is being rolled out to thousands of IT organizations," said Dennis Drogseth, vice president at research firm Enterprise Management Associates in a recent report on the subject.
Zenoss Core 2.0 includes automated discovery and change tracking, as well as alerting when changes are made to a configuration item. The upgrade will also let IT managers add policies to the software related to configuration. For instance, IT managers can establish policies that specify which services always run on their Linux servers. Zenoss improved the software's capabilities to collect data import and export capabilities via APIs and coupled automated data collection and population techniques with manual and custom options.
Zenoss, which competes with Hyperic and GroundWork Open Source, reports its open source software has been downloaded about 200,000 times since its release last fall. The software downloads to a single Linux server and collects data from multiple platforms without a proxy server being needed. For instance, the software uses existing agents, SNMP and Windows Management Instrumentation to collect data across cross-platform systems.
In the last six months, the company also built and launched its community Web site, at which downloads for new open source releases are available. Zenoss offers two flavors of support for its free open source application. Those start at US$75 per year, per device.