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HP to Launch Linux Control Tower

HP plans to capitalize on its purchase of RLX last fall by announcing its first release of the server blade management software for Linux.

HP Control Tower, designed for HP's BladeSystem environment, is scheduled for release next month and will cost $199 per license.

HP Control Tower is a part of HP's unified infrastructure management software portfolio. The software is designed specifically for Linux, but also works with HP Systems Insight Manager, which ships standard with all HP server and storage systems. It is designed to support mixed environments and operating systems including both Linux and Windows Server.

"HP Control Tower is targeted at making management of Linux on blades much simpler and to lower the cost of administration," Lee Johns, director of velocity software for enterprise servers and storage at HP, told internetnews.com. "It's a CD appliance that's easy to install with a wizard that essentially gives you a management and monitoring console on the system in 30 minutes. In our experience with competitive products, and even some of our own earlier ones, we've seen it take up to eight hours."

RLX, which originally sold complete blade systems and later moved to software only, charged for both its console and individual licenses. HP said it will make the console free of charge.

HP decided to keep the same Control Tower name RLX used to maintain continuity with its customers, according to Johns. The software monitors and alerts IT administrators to changes in the computing environment, managing any system changes from a single console. The suite provisions and automates computing tasks based on policies set by administrators.

Timothy O’Brien, senior vice president of operations at Yodlee, is an RLX customer who plans to upgrade to HP's offering.

"In the past, RLX Control Tower helped us reduce our deployment and support times significantly," O'Brien said in a statement. "Most problems were taken care of without ever having to step foot into a data center, and the simple setup, integrated feature set and efficient user interface are superior to what the competition could deliver. We look forward to becoming HP BladeSystem and HP Control Tower users."

Blade server systems have increased in popularity as part of a shift to more condensed data centers. Instead of mainframes dominating the data center roost, smaller blades that slide in and out of chassis are becoming more prevalent these days. Blades grew 49.3 percent as a market year-over-year and climbed 56.9 percent from 2004 to 2005, according to IDC. Among their advantages, are blades redundant capabilities to allow one server to keep up and running after another winks out.