Thursday, January 31, 2008

Open Source Systems Management: What SysAdmins Want

For the past couple months, we've had a poll running on asking visitors what they'd like to see as the next feature. As anyone who knows me can attest, I am a huge believer in the wisdom of the crowds, and so the NetDirector roadmap will follow where our community takes us.

The following graph shows the results of the poll so far (click on the image to make it bigger).

As interesting and useful as this feedback is (and, btw, thank you for everyone who participated), I think it is equally interesting to read between the lines of this poll's results. The top three features requested, Windows support, and integration plugins to the two most popular open source patching tools, Apt and Yum, speak clearly and unequivocably to the need for better tool integration. As things stand today, there is no open source tool for managing across Linux, UNIX and Windows systems. Further, even in the Linux/UNIX world, Sys Admins must rely on seperate tools for managing configs (Webmin, command or scripts) and patching those systems with something like Yum or Apt. The concept of lifecycle management, where managing configurations and set up is seemlessly linked with patching and provisioning simply does not exist.

If you want all this, you have 2 choices - shell out beacoup bucks for a proprietary system from someone like Opsware (now HP) or BladeLogic, and get about twice the features you actually need and want, or build it (and then maintain it) yourself.

In the next dot release of NetDirector, we are going to go some ways towards helping integrate these various tools. We'll be offering a Windows agent, and we'll be vastly improving the developer docs so that, hopefully, we can convince people on the Yum and Apt projects to help create NetDirector plugins to these tools. Hopefully, we will also be able to include in this release a feature to allow SysAdmins to run their own scripts through NetDirector.

1 comment:

nomad said...

NetDirector is dead? Last version 3.2.3 2009-05-08

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