During the Autotask Community Live conference, Ubuntu Linux made a surprise appearance and a surprise encore. Twice during the event, managed service providers (MSPs) told me how they were building their businesses on top of Ubuntu. The two prime examples involve Rezitech and Network Depot. Here's the scoop.
Rezitech CEO Travis Austin told me how Ubuntu sits at the foundation of his data center. Atop Ubuntu run virtualized Windows services such as Kaseya, Active Directory. Austin also described how he's running VoIP atop his Ubuntu-driven network. I was floored. In his spare time, Austin writes widgets and other software for Autotask Community -- an online destination for Autotask's customers.
Meanwhile, Network Depot, the company behind the Virtual Administrator MSP suite, embraced Ubuntu Server Edition for its NAS (network attached storage) platform, according to Rich Forsen, president of Network Depot.
Forsen says Network Depot will use Ubuntu in conjunction with Kaseya BUDR services as a centralized, low cost, easy to manage NAS device with Webmin and Samba enabled. The platform will be based upon the Shuttle K45 platform allowing Network Depot to create a 1TB Gb Ethernet NAS solution (the shuttle provides space for up to two drives) for an anticipated cost of under $350. Network Depot chose Ubuntu based on cost and ease of integration.
Reality CheckI am not suggesting that Linux or open source will take over the IT channel or the managed services industry. However, customers are opening their minds to Windows desktop alternatives. During a panel discussion at the Autotask conference, N-able VP of of business development Derik Belair estimated that 10 percent of customer desktops run Mac OS X or Linux.
Ubuntu Linux first caught my serious attention when Dell announced plans to preload selected desktop PCs with Ubuntu in mid-2007. That factoid provided the early inspiration for WorksWithU, MSPmentor's sister site focused on Ubuntu for business.
During the Autotask conference we didn't go looking for Ubuntu news. But it definitely found us.
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