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Microsoft invests in interoperability specialist

The new recipient of Redmond's bounty, Vintela, sells software that integrates Unix and Linux tools with Windows environments.

Microsoft has made a minority investment in Vintela, a company that aims to consolidate management tools for several operating systems.

The amount of the investment is believed to be less than $10 million. In addition, the two companies, which were already partners, have signed new commercial and licensing agreements and will cooperate on various technology initiatives, Vintela said in a statement.

Lindon, Utah-based Vintela sells software that integrates Unix and Linux applications with Windows environments.

Vintela has developed a new application, to be available sometime next year, called Vintela Systems Manager, or VSM, which is built on Microsoft Operations Manager 2005. VSM lets a system administrator manage various systems in different environments--such as Linux, Unix and Mac OS X.

VSM does not yet support the management of Windows applications, though, which is where the relationship with Microsoft is valuable.

Vintela has worked with Microsoft for a number of years, and the smaller company already sells products based on Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS) 2003 products; these Vintela tools integrate Unix and Linux applications with Windows environments.

"One of the biggest problems is that Microsoft builds the best products for managing Microsoft products," said Dave Wilson, president of Vintela.

Microsoft is said to be providing technical support for VSM.

"Customers were asking for an end-to-end solution," said David Hamilton, director of the Windows and enterprise division at Microsoft. "They were frustrated with management software. But now they can get the best of both worlds."

According to Hamilton, the user interface for the program is similar to Outlook and was designed to look familiar to reduce training costs.

The partnership was announced a day after Microsoft declared its new relationship with Dell. Under the terms of that deal, Dell will offer Microsoft SMS 2003 in a bid to simplify the job of administering and updating thousands of machines.

Dan Ilett of ZDNet UK reported from Copenhagen, Denmark.