Enterprise Linux Log

Jul 31 2007   2:10PM GMT

‘Big Four’ systems management vendors ripe for open source shake-up


A new research report from the New York-based 451 Group has found that the ‘Big Four’ systems management vendors — BMC, HP, IBM and CA — are “ripe for a shake-up from open source systems management players.”

In the past 18 months, open source options in the systems management space have grown to include a new set of vendors, including Alterpoint, GroundWork Open Source, Hyperic, Open Country, The OpenNMS Group, Qlusters and Zenoss. These vendors have made a business out of backing open source systems management projects with commercial-grade support offerings and subscriptions, al la Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

This combination of open source with enterprise services will have an impact on the proprietary systems management vendors, said co-author of the report Raven Zachary.

“Open source is breathing new competitive life into systems management, ultimately forcing the established vendors to respond in their products, pricing and strategies,” said Zachary, the 451 Group open source research director.

However, both Zachary and the report’s other author, analyst Jay Lyman, agree that open source systems management vendors still face an uphill battle against entrenched players with their existing integrated suites and established customers.

The 451 Group found the open source systems management category is dominated by systems monitoring, configuration, provisioning and patching components. That said, open source systems management offerings lack the full feature set provided by the leading proprietary systems management vendors. Still, these core features represent the primary demands from IT end users.

Thus far, Zachary and Lyman have suggested that the the cost savings and flexibility can make open source worth trying out. This is particularly the case when monitoring, configuration and other tasks are easier to swap than comprehensive systems management suites.

“What is clear from interactions with end users is that open source is now deeply entrenched in the software infrastructure of many organizations. End-user organizations that have seen benefits from open source software at the lower level of the infrastructure stack are now contemplating opportunities for open source software in systems management,” Lyman said.

This 60-page report, ‘Managing in the Open: The Next Wave of Systems Management,’ also looks at the emergence of the aforementioned open source systems management vendors and the disruptive impact they are having on proprietary systems management vendors. It reviews the existing open source systems management players, and articulates the similarities and differences among these offerings. It also explores the noncommercial angle and leading open source systems management projects that are being rapidly adopted in the enterprise. The report includes a set of recommendations for end users with regard to open source systems management, as well as recent survey data on the topic.

For more information, visit the 451 Group at www.the451group.com.

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