Centeris Blends Windows and Linux

A venture capital firm stocked with ex-Microsofties is funding a new Windows/Linux interoperability company.

Centeris, formally launching this week, is building Likewise 1.0, a management tool that extends the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) to Linux, allowing Windows to manage and configure Linux servers. There is also a Windows-based console that can configure Linux print, file and Web servers. In either case, the Windows management stations interact with agents running on Linux.

The company believes that interoperability tools such as Likewise can boost Linux in mixed environments. “Linux has not been as successful in mixed environments. The two, Windows and Linux, tend to be very separate,” notes Barry Crist, CEO.

And having Windows manage Linux offers many advantages, Crist argues. There are currently far more certified Windows engineers than Linux engineers, and Linux can be “wretched” to configure to work well with Windows, he says. With Likewise, corporations can make far more efficient use of their IT staff, Crist believes. “You can use your Linux experts to do the hard work,” he advises.

Centeris joins Vintela (now owned by Quest) and Centrify in the Windows/Linux interoperability space.

Likewise 1.0, set for a public beta this week, is set to ship by year’s end. The tool is aimed at mixed shops in the small to medium-size enterprise.

Likewise supports the creation and management of shares, tracking performance and managing printers. Likewise also integrates Linux with Active Directory for authentication.

Other features include:

  • Remote stopping and starting of Linux Services.
  • Single sign-on.
  • Use of the Windows Event viewer to see Linux application events and system logs.
  • Linux servers can join AD.
  • Management of Linux access control lists.

    Likewise supports Red Hat, SuSE and openSuSE, and runs on Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.

    VC firm Ignition Partners is so far the sole investor. Cameron Myrhvold who created Microsoft’s Developer Relations Group and Brad Silverberg, who launched Windows 95, are two Ignition employees who worked closely on the launch.

    The company, with some 30 employees, does not yet have an interoperability strategy for Linux desktops. The company is looking for OEM, OS and channel partners.

  • About the Author

    Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.


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