Analysis: Linuxcare reemerges with a mainframe management tool

For IT managers who run Virtual Machine Linux images on IBM z/OS mainframes, a new tool from Linuxcare could help improve VM Linux server management and administration.

Levanta, a software tool developed by Linuxcare, could help administrators automate tasks such as updating large amounts of Linux instances, track changes made to virtual servers, and protect VM Linux servers from misconfiguration or unauthorized access.

The name Linuxcare may sound familiar, and it should.

Linuxcare, in its first iteration, was a great concept. When Linux first entered the enterprise IT scene a few years ago, and Linux companies were having initial public offerings bigger than an Enron under-the-table kickback, the major issue concerning the viability of Linux was "who's going to support this stuff?" Enterprise users were worried that free software meant that no one would be accountable when major support issues came up. This is where Linuxcare came in.

The firm, staffed with Linux experts, sold itself as the company enterprises should turn to for Linux help. The firm offered services such as 24-7 support and consulting on a tiered price structure. However, as big companies such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Sun and Dell all began offering Linux servers - along with support and services - that issue has gone away, as did the need for companies such as Linuxcare.

Enter Linuxcare 2002. The firm has reinvented itself - a la VA Linux Systems - and morphed into VA Software, minus the name change. Linuxcare recently released the Levanta product at the LinuxWorld Expo in San Francisco, and the new company is solely focused on providing software for the Linux VM on z/OS market, which is becoming very popular among IT users looking to consolidate servers. The product is being used by such customers as US telco Verizon for managing large amounts of VM Linux servers on the mainframe.

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