Ubuntu and Landscape: Canonical Connects the Dots
Canonical’s effort to diversify beyond Ubuntu Linux continue to accelerate. Even as the company preps Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) for April 2010 launch, Canonical is also promoting Landscape — a remote management tool — to resellers and end-customers. And there’s even a cloud management twist. Here’s the scoop.
In some ways, Landscape is similar to remote monitoring and management tools for the Windows market, where software companies like Kaseya, Level Platforms, N-able and Zenith Infotech promote their wares to VARs and MSPs (managed services providers).
Landscape started out as a SaaS-based tool (Hosted Edition), but more recently Canonical has started promoting an on-premises version (Dedicated Server Edition). It’s available free of charge with all of Canonical’s server support contracts. And for those who don’t have support contracts, a Landscape service subscription costs $150 per node per year.
Sounds simple enough. But where do VARs fit in? So far, the answer to that question is still emerging. Before Landscape can take off with solutions providers, Canonical’s Ubuntu partner channel needs to gain critical mass.
That partner program scored two small — but significant — wins in February 2010, when a key integrator (The Linux Box) vowed to promote Ubuntu. Plus, Canonical channel partners gained a potential foothold into the government market.
Still, Canonical needs to more effectively connect the channel dots between Ubuntu and Landscape. That effort could begin to happen on March 18, when two key Landscape evangelists (Product Manager Ken Drachnik and Engineer Andreas Hasenack) demonstrate Landscape’s cloud management capabilities to potential customers and partners.
No doubt, this is a high-stress time for the Canonical team. Most of the company is focused on getting Ubuntu 10.04 out the door in April. But additional Canonical factions are working hard to shape the company’s online services — which include the Ubuntu One storage service and forthcoming music service.
New CEO Jane Silber and new COO Matt Asay — working closely with Canonical founder and Chairman Mark Shuttleworth — certainly have their hands full. Ubuntu 10.04 is the top priority. But channel partners that want to proactively manage their Ubuntu customer networks need to keep an eye on Landscape.
The big question: Will Landscape be a tool that VARs re-sell into customer settings? Or will VARs leverage Landscape to keep customers’ networks and private clouds humming along? Ideally, the answer to both questions is yes. But Canonical needs to do a better job explaining how partners can potentially monetize Landscape opportunities.
The VAR Guy will keep listening for clues.
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