[NOTE: This was written a while ago]
[UPDATE: Levanta is toast].
Remember LinuxCare? That ambitious start-up back-in-the-day that wanted to revolutionize Linux support? Yeah, they died. But from the ashes rose Levanta. Unlike LinuxCare, Levanta has been studiously working on making proprietary products to help Linux environments self-support.
While unable to bake one personally (they’d love to ship one with a PO in hand and then take it back if I don’t like it), I did get a dog-and-pony show with a sales rep and an engineer that was quite impressive. Complete birth-to-death lifecycle management of server deployments (metal or virtual) using PXE and installing OS’s on systems automagically, managing update deployments, etc. etc. etc. Basically anything you can do with RPM (updates, installs, rollbacks, etc. etc.) and TripWire (change detection/management) in a box, on a larger-scale, with a nice GUI.
The product was impressive, but as usual, I wasn’t impressed with the required coinage.
Pretty quickly I developed some proof-of-concept soft systems that provided 75% of the non-GUI functionality using true NetBoots instead of the PXE-install-based methods the Intrepid uses. I also found a lot of other tools available including Cobbler that could help make a low-cost, high-value system of similar stature fairly easily. When thinking about virtualization, other tools such as oVirt, Virt-Manager, and Con-Virt could certainly be leveraged to provide and in-house solution to the TLM dilemma.
If you don’t have the ambition or skills to glue together your own, the Levanta Intrepid is by far a best-of-breed appliance for total-lifecycle-management of your RPM-based Linux server deployments.