Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Mehdi Daoudi, Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: Linux Containers

Linux Containers: Article

Linuxcare's Levanta

The next best thing to cloning a system administrator

Linuxcare recently announced the release of their Levanta 2.0 software, which configures and updates virtual Linux servers on the IBM eServer zSeries mainframe. I had the opportunity to speak with Linuxcare's president and CEO, Avery Lyford, about how they are moving forward with their systems management software and their goals as they establish themselves as a leader in the Linux on mainframe systems management.

Linuxcare prides itself on the ability to solve the toughest problems and provide value to the most demanding customers. Therefore their strategy has been to pilot their products in the financial and telecommunications sectors. After successful installations in customer sites in the industries with the highest demands, they expanded their target market to anyone running virtual Linux servers on the mainframe (IBM zSeries).

Levanta Value Proposition
Linuxcare is a software product company focused on reducing the time spent on repetitive tasks associated with change management on Linux servers, specifically those servers running on IBM's zSeries mainframe. In layman's terms, Linuxcare endeavors to accomplish three things:

  1. Make system administrators more productive by crystallizing the knowledge needed for repetitive tasks and automating these tasks through software.
  2. Reduce knowledge required for menial tasks and maximize skills reuse, allowing enterprise collaboration vertically but still maintaining overall control of Linux systems. Levanta enables the managed self-service virtual server environment because it can offer roles and permissions for server functions and it tracks changes for auditing purposes.
  3. Reduce planned maintenance windows, decreasing the number of unplanned outages through change management and rollback features. These features can make it possible to rebuild a server in minutes rather than hours or days.
Linuxcare has always been a high-value, rather than a low-cost, company tackling big problems and aiming to yield big savings. They have listened to what their customers expressed as their biggest pain points. Then they took that feedback and developed products that eased these annoyances and leveraged their staff to make them many times more productive.

Allowing System Administrators to Innovate
Systems administrators, a very highly skilled class of IT worker, have the ability to do a great number of things. Unfortunately, they often spend their time working on menial tasks like applying software patches, ensuring recoverability in the case of outages, and rebuilding servers after an unsuccessful upgrade. All of these functions are of critical importance but are seldom the best use of a system administrator's time. If system administrators could focus on enhancing IT infrastructure rather than maintaining it they would add to the company's overall bottom line. Levanta provides them with more time to improve and best utilize their skills rather than work on projects that least utilize their skills.

In a large enterprise it's often hard to complete projects due to centralized IT staff's ownership of the infrastructure needed by department or branch-level IT employees. IT staff often spend their time doing tasks on behalf of other departments, tasks that these departments would probably rather do themselves given the ability to enact their own changes. The Levanta framework allows delegation of individual systems based on permissions and roles. This allows smaller IT units to complete necessary tasks without being subjected to a central IT structure. It also allows the IT authority to have confidence that they have served their internal customer without shirking their ultimate responsibility for the systems they manage. Avery ultimately compares this to taking a cab ride in New York, in the sense that sometimes it's more difficult being a passenger than being the one driving the cab. Levanta allows the passenger (department-level IT personnel) to take action and "drive the cab" without the central IT authority worrying about the repercussions.

Rollbacks and Audit Trails
Levanta has the ability to provide rollback on servers. In an age when it has become necessary to constantly patch software and operating systems, the ability to roll back to the last working server version is important. By being able to restore a server to its last stable state quickly, administrators can reduce the length of unplanned outages. Levanta is a "safety net" in the sense that it can provide an emergency fix to servers and give administrators the confidence to make updates without grave repercussions. Not only is the ability to restore available, but also the speed to resolution is much greater due to the automation of data and state restoration.

The capacity to track historical changes is important for a number of reasons. With the passing of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, largely a financial act, auditing of the systems that provide financial data has even greater importance. CIOs could be held liable if they aren't able to provide proof that they have taken due care to maintain these systems. Historical records on updates, patches, and integrity of systems are available through Levanta, which would be important to those IT executives concerned about accountability for their Linux systems. This data can also be handed off to an enterprise management console like Tivoli.

Summary
Levanta does more than just manage the OS; it manages the whole application stack, which means that it handles change management in not only the server OS but also in the services provided on the server.

Levanta isn't a tool that any IT department would deploy, but if you're running multiple Linux servers on IBM's zOS virtual server environment then it's definitely worth a look.

The Linuxcare team is led by a number of industry veterans with varied mainframe and virtualization experience. They have also forged partnerships with IBM, the vendor of their OS, which their software complements. Linuxcare has done a good job identifying a problem in many corporate data centers and developing tools to enhance the productivity of the system administrator.

More Stories By Mark R. Hinkle

Mark Hinkle is the Senior Director, Open Soure Solutions at Citrix. He also is along-time open source expert and advocate. He is a co-founder of both the Open Source Management Consortium and the Desktop Linux Consortium. He has served as Editor-in-Chief for both LinuxWorld Magazine and Enterprise Open Source Magazine. Hinkle is also the author of the book, "Windows to Linux Business Desktop Migration" (Thomson, 2006). His blog on open source, technology, and new media can be found at http://www.socializedsoftware.com.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deli...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Grape Up will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct. 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company specializing in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the U.S. and Europe, Grape Up works with a variety of customers from emergi...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in compute, storage and networking technologies, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology, is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/...
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings in the last year, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their back-end AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT – especially in the connected home and office. Amazon is extending its reach by building on its dominant Cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strategy, recently announced Replenishment Services, the Echo/Alexa voice recognition control platform, the 6-7 strategic...
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
Judith Hurwitz is president and CEO of Hurwitz & Associates, a Needham, Mass., research and consulting firm focused on emerging technology, including big data, cognitive computing and governance. She is co-author of the book Cognitive Computing and Big Data Analytics, published in 2015. Her Cloud Expo session, "What Is the Business Imperative for Cognitive Computing?" is scheduled for Wednesday, June 8, at 8:40 a.m. In it, she puts cognitive computing into perspective with its value to the busin...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitachi, the leading provider the Internet of Things and Digital Transformation, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Hitachi Data Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd., offers an integrated portfolio of services and solutions that enable digital transformation through enhanced data management, governance, mobility and analytics. We help globa...
Cognitive Computing is becoming the foundation for a new generation of solutions that have the potential to transform business. Unlike traditional approaches to building solutions, a cognitive computing approach allows the data to help determine the way applications are designed. This contrasts with conventional software development that begins with defining logic based on the current way a business operates. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Judith S. Hurwitz, President and CEO of Hurwitz & ...
Financial Technology has become a topic of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 20th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York, June 6-8, 2017, will find fresh new content in a new track called FinTech.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 add...
The age of Digital Disruption is evolving into the next era – Digital Cohesion, an age in which applications securely self-assemble and deliver predictive services that continuously adapt to user behavior. Information from devices, sensors and applications around us will drive services seamlessly across mobile and fixed devices/infrastructure. This evolution is happening now in software defined services and secure networking. Four key drivers – Performance, Economics, Interoperability and Trust ...
Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the USA and Europe, we work with a variety of customers from emerging startups to Fortune 1000 companies.
Cybersecurity is a critical component of software development in many industries including medical devices. However, code is not always written to be robust or secure from the unknown or the unexpected. This gap can make medical devices susceptible to cybersecurity attacks ranging from compromised personal health information to life-sustaining treatment. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Clark Fortney, Software Engineer at Battelle, will discuss how programming oversight using key methods can incre...
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound e...
@ThingsExpo has been named the Most Influential ‘Smart Cities - IIoT' Account and @BigDataExpo has been named fourteenth by Right Relevance (RR), which provides curated information and intelligence on approximately 50,000 topics. In addition, Right Relevance provides an Insights offering that combines the above Topics and Influencers information with real time conversations to provide actionable intelligence with visualizations to enable decision making. The Insights service is applicable to eve...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in compute, storage and networking technologies, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology, is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/...