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Systems tool set for LinuxWorld debut

Since its failed plan to merge with Linux distro TurboLinux earlier this year, San Francisco-based Linux services provider Linuxcare Inc. has been quietly regrouping and aiming its efforts toward last week's unveiling of a new tool for the provisioning and configuration of large-scale Linux deployments on mainframe systems.

Called Levanta, the new product is designed to administer virtual Linux servers in IBM mainframe environments. According to the company, Levanta has been developed according to the requirements of more than 50 enterprise customers and is designed to facilitate the configuration, provisioning and updating hundreds of Linux virtual machines. The company said the product is currently being beta tested by telecommunications provider Verizon Communications Inc. as well as financial services vendors.

Some industry analysts consider server consolidation to be a key challenge now facing enterprise IT. Tighter budgets and a down economy are making the potential total cost of ownership savings of consolidation increasingly attractive to IT managers, according to analysts at Gartner, and low-cost of Linux technologies fit well into that model. In a recent report, Gartner research director John Phelps noted that an increasing number of large enterprises are, in fact, looking at Linux on the S/390 and zSeries mainframe systems to lower their overall expenditures on staffing and hardware, and to improve the reliability of their hardware platform.

'As administrative tasks shift from distributed to mainframe IT staff,' Phelps said in the report, 'centralized software tools could help to further reduce management complexity and increase TCO savings.'

The company is expected to demo Levanta for the first time this week at the LinuxWorld Conference in San Francisco. Linuxcare officials said the firm continues to strengthen its ties to IBM, a strategy underscored by CEO Avery Lyford's decision to exhibit at the conference as a member of IBM's PartnerWorld for Developers. PartnerWorld for Developers provides Linuxcare with greater access to IBM resources, the company said in a media release, enhancing Linuxcare's ability to serve the growing number of customers implementing Linux on eServer zSeries.

Scheduled for general availability in October, Levanta supports IBM's z/VM virtualization software Version 4, releases 2 and 3, as well as SuSE Linux AG's Linux Enterprise Server 7 with kernel version 2.4 and Red Hat Inc.'s Linux 7.2. It is scheduled to cost from $150,000.

Detailed information on the product's features and system requirements are available at http://www.linuxcare.com/products/levanta/.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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