Who You Gonna Call?

Whether your next big project is integration or migration, you don't have to go it alone. Here are some companies that can give you the guidance you need.

There are some projects you can take on a without a second thought. But sometimes -- whether it's because of discomfort or a lack of familiarity with the subject -- you put off the undertaking, thinking and plotting and planning almost to the point of total inaction.

When it comes to integrating multiple operating systems into your environment, or migrating from one to another, it's likely that your first instinct is to tread very carefully, to make sure there won't be negative consequences to your actions.

In the past, I've mentioned white papers, case studies and even books as good sources of information. While these should be guidance enough in most situations, there are times when you probably just want someone to hold your hand and walk you through the process.

Surprisingly, there aren't a whole lot of Yellow Pages ads from companies listing this as their specialty. Even more surprisingly, searching for "linux integration help" or "unix migration call" in Google currently yields zero ads for businesses specializing in this topic.

Because it's difficult to find such information, I've listed here some commercial companies that offer services related to integration and migration that you can call. While some of these companies may also offer products (IBM sells a few unrelated things, for example), this is not a list of product companies per se, but support/service organizations that can help you with your needs. Those not limited regionally are listed first, followed by those that are more localized. A number of organizations exist overseas, but only those that have domestic operations are mentioned here.

The first on the list has to be IBM. You can find a plethora of ways to contact the company from its primary Linux site. IBM is heavily into Linux -- as those expensive ads in every conceivable IT magazine indicate. It also has the benefit of being in almost every market and having a great reputation.

Similar to IBM, Oracle has recently joined the fray in its support of Red Hat, and it should be considered a reference source, as well.

Along the same lines, HP has partnered "with Red Hat, Novell and the Debian community for the full range of Linux distribution software," says a statement on the company's Web site. Go here for more information.

CoroWare Inc. is located in both the U.S. and Europe, and it's Web site does a better job of explaining the company's mission than any other company in this mix:

"In a climate of rapid business change, you can easily become overwhelmed by the issues involved in integrating evolving technology with diverse computer applications, databases and networks. CoroWare's Systems Integration Team combines depth and breadth of experience in Windows, Linux, AS/400 and Unix integration with professional, on-time development to help improve efficiency and capitalize on every business opportunity. Our services encompass all aspects of life-cycle management, development, strategy and operations. Our professionals are certified by Microsoft, Red Hat and Sun Microsystems and have the expertise, proven methodologies and tools to help you optimize your system resources, free up your IT staff, and reduce the operational costs of managing a wide range of computer systems, applications, databases and network configurations. Whether implementing a new technology such as Linux or Windows 2003, developing client-server applications on existing systems, or expanding your current network to include remote sites, CoroWare has the experienced personnel with the technical expertise required to specify, design, develop and test practical solutions that turn your IT environment into a strategic business asset."

On a local level, there's a company in California called Progent Corp. which supports integration and migration from a number of different platforms. In addition to on-site support for customers in California, Progent will also provide phone support on networking-related issues for $2.50 a minute.

n+1 Inc. is similar to Progent, but located in the Midwest (Louisville, Ky.).

And further west is the Houston, TX-based X-ISS.

Of course, an alternative to hiring a company is to hire an individual. On sites such as GetACoder.com, you can post your requirements and have potential candidates contact you.

About the Author

Emmett Dulaney is the author of several books on Linux, Unix and certification, including the Security+ Study Guide, Fourth Edition. He can be reached at eadulaney@comcast.net.

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