Enterprise Apps Give Linux a Shot in the Arm

ENTERPRISE COMPANIES may soon have reason to take a closer look at Linux, because pending releases from Tripwire and Novell will bring security and directory applications to the operating system.

Currently, a dearth of applications, combined with scalability issues and the lack of trust among companies in Linux as a platform for business applications, are hindering enterprise-scale Linux deployments.

"A lot of vendors are moving very quickly to put applications on Linux, but until you have all the different applications you would have available for Unix or [Windows] NT, it's not going to be an equal choice," said Al Gillen, research manager for server infrastructure software at International Data Corp.

However, Gillen believes these factors are not fatal flaws for Linux.

"Linux has to pay its dues and be around long enough to establish a track record and credibility, gain the app support, and all these things -- and it's happening, probably more quickly for Linux than for any other environment in the last few years," Gillen said.

A first half of 2000 release date for NDS for Linux will be "met easily," according to Novell officials, who added that the product is in closed beta and will skip an open beta to head directly to shipping. Both NDS eDirectory and NDS Corporate Edition will be available for Linux.

The Linux version will be virtually the same as the NDS versions on other platforms such as NetWare and Sun Solaris in terms of implementation, schemas, and setup and configuration, company officials said.

Meanwhile, mainstream security companies eyeing the potential return of serving the Linux and open-source communities are realizing solid support from the Linux vendor space, as well.

Tripwire unveiled this week its adoption of the open-source model for its flagship Tripwire product. Major Linux vendors Caldera Systems, Red Hat, and SGI will partner with Tripwire and integrate the integrity assessment software into their Linux-based server products, said Tripwire CEO Wyatt Stearns.

Tripwire security will appear in each of the three vendors' fall Linux releases.

Expected to go live this summer, users will be able to download the free Tripwire open-source product at www.tripwire.org. Plans call for the Web site to evolve as a portal on which open-source communities can collaborate.

ADIC EXTENDS SANS TO LINUX

Storage vendor Advanced Digital Information (ADIC) is adding support for the Linux operating system in its shared file system, called CentraVision.

The move means that users of Linux servers will be able to use SANs (storage area networks) to share an application's data with users of Unix and Windows NT servers.

CentraVision currently supports Microsoft's Windows NT and SGI's Unix operating system, Irix. ADIC expects to demonstrate CentraVision's Linux support at a number of trade shows in April and plans to release Linux support in the software in May, company officials said. Next up will be support for Sun Microsystems' Unix OS Solaris some time later this year.

CentraVision enables a variety of workstations and servers to share data from a common central disk via a SAN. CentraVision allows users to see the data as if it's a file native to the OS they are running, be it Windows NT, Irix, or Linux, officials said.

"[ADIC] is on the right track; what the world wants is a shared file system," said Steve Duplessie, senior analyst at the Enterprise Storage Group.

Support for Linux is key in the Web-hosting arena, where analysts estimate that about 30 percent of the hosting is being carried out by Linux servers already, ADIC officials said.

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