Start-ups back Linux for data centers

OpsWare and CoroSoft, two companies that sell software designed to ease the operation of "data centers" packed with computers, are expanding their support for Linux.

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NEW YORK--OpsWare and CoroSoft, two companies that sell software designed to ease the operation of "data centers" packed with computers, are expanding their support for Linux.

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OpsWare, the start-up cofounded by Netscape pioneer Marc Andreessen, plans to announce its management now will be able to administer computers running several versions of Red Hat's Linux operating system. OpsWare plans to announce the move Wednesday, the opening day of the in New York.

OpsWare, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., and formerly called LoudCloud, previously sold just software for Microsoft Windows and for versions of Unix from Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microystems and IBM. The company now will support Red Hat Linux from version 6.2 on, including Red Hat's Advanced Server edition.

OpsWare's software handles tasks such as "provisioning," the laborious and often repetitive task of sending out software to many computers.

In addition, CoroSoft, which sells data center management software specifically for Linux machines, last week announced a suite of software packages designed to automate several different programs. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company offers software that groups computers into collections of "virtual" servers, a move that makes it easier to expand or shrink computing capacity or to move computing jobs off a failed machine.

CoroSoft's suite includes modules to control Web servers, which send out Web pages across the Internet and for Domain Name System servers--the providers of numerical addresses that let computers can find each other over the Internet. Among its customers is the Internet Software Consortium, which uses CoroSoft's software on its "f-root" servers, one of the master computers that keep track of the entire database of server Internet addresses.

Sun Microsystems, IBM and HP all have initiatives to perform related virtualization tasks for data center automation. The companies are straining to create this complicated software as a way to ease the ever-increasing stresses on data center administrators in charge of dozens or even hundreds of computers.

CoroSoft's new products will begin shipping Jan. 30.