Microsoft took a step to strengthen its position in the enterprise today by making a minority investment in Vintela Inc., a startup whose software extends the management of Windows-based servers to those running Linux and Unix.
In addition to the investment, the amount of which was not disclosed, Vintela also agreed to extend Microsoft's Systems Management Server 2003 desktop management software
"Microsoft is not in the business of writing code for Linux and Unix, and Vintela is," said Jeremy Moskowitz an independent consultant based in Wilmington, Del. "Now they are ensuring the development of these technologies."
Microsoft will also handle the initial support calls for Vintela's Management Extensions software, an existing console snap-in that lets SMS users manage Linux and Unix servers. Vintela will also distribute Microsoft Client Access Licenses for customers who are extending SMS to Linux and Unix servers, Skillings said.
"It's a statement about Microsoft's intention to interoperate in the enterprise," Skillings said. "Better to strengthen their position than ignore the inevitable."
Vintela, which has its headquarters in Lindon, Utah, has several software packages that integrate different operating system platforms. In September, it released
VGP runs on a Linux or Unix server, and is a component to Vintela's Authentication Services software. Authentication Services is an identity management platform that brings centralized logon and single sign-on across multiple platforms. In September, Vintela added support for IBM's AIX 64-bit, AIX 5.1 and 5.2, plus Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Solaris 9 on x86 processors, as well as on the SPARC microprocessor architecture.
Until now, customers have had to manage Linux and Windows separately. Analysts have said it's not clear how much demand customers will have right away for a single management approach for the two platforms because they will have to first deploy SMS and commit to running global directories instead of directories specific to Windows or Linux.
Skillings said Microsoft would only be a minority shareholder, but the investment was a significant amount of money for Vintela. The company said it will use the investment to build its sales and support organization.