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Getting Acquainted with Ximian Red Carpet Enterprise

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Posted: 13 Nov 2003
 

As you may have heard, Novell has just begun shipping Ximian? Red Carpet Enterprise? 2, the latest version of the secure, customizable solution that automates the central management of software on workstations and servers running a variety of Linux distributions. Through centralized and automated management, maintenance and updating of Linux servers and desktops, Red Carpet Enterprise significantly reduces the cost of Linux ownership for customers, allowing them to concentrate resources on other strategic projects.

Red Carpet Enterprise (RCE) is designed for rapid deployment, quick training and easy maintenance. The product is deployed locally in minutes and can be run entirely behind a corporate firewall. RCE contains four basic components, the Red Carpet Client, the Red Carpet Daemon, the Red Carpet Console and the Red Carpet Server. Additional key features are channels, groups and the command line/rcman interface.

The Red Carpet Client

The Red Carpet Client, in use by almost one million Linux users running a broad range of Linux distributions world wide, is a market-proven solution for managing software versions and installations on local machines.

Software packages are presented to users in easy-to-understand groupings, called ?channels.? A simple subscription metaphor is used to present channels to end-users. Of course, end users can only see the channels that their administrators have designated. Channels typically include OS security updates and internally developed or customized packages; they can also include software from Ximian or other third-party applications/tools.

Red Carpet Daemon

The Red Carpet Daemon runs on every server or workstation that is to be updated using Red Carpet Enterprise. The Daemon enables many of the advanced features in Red Carpet Enterprise, including software dependency resolution, and manages the communications between a system and the Red Carpet Enterprise Server.

The Red Carpet Daemon also manages system rollbacks. Administrators using the Red Carpet Enterprise console can restore the last working configuration of software and configuration files. This is especially important in cases where newly installed software doesn't work as predicted. The Daemon also handles package locking, which enables administrators to stop updates for specific packages.

Red Carpet Enterprise Console

The Enterprise Administrator's Console is the central graphical workbench for configuring and maintaining users, groups, software channels and update schedules.

The console also provides access to built-in system logging and analysis for flexible on-screen reports detailing download and installation activities. The system supports multiple administrators, allowing the cost-effective management of multiple organizations through a single system.

Red Carpet Server

The Red Carpet Server is installed inside your firewall for maximum security. It provides a centralized point of system management for the entire company. Software configuration information for your machines is stored on the Red Carpet server.

Automatic Updates

Red Carpet includes scheduling tools that eliminate the administrative load required to update and manage software packages on remote machines. After a simple initial configuration, servers and workstations on the network receive their new packages and updates according to a customizable schedule. Red Carpet Enterprise is designed to eliminate time spent working on ?one-at-a-time? system updates. Individual machines or groups of machines can be updated automatically. Furthermore, Red Carpet Enterprise includes features that allow administrators to execute immediate updates of software packages to groups of Linux systems.

Command Line Interface (CLI)/rcman interface

The Red Carpet Enterprise Command Line Interface provides direct access Red Carpet from a standard terminal window. It is a perfect tool for remotely managing large numbers of servers and workstations. The CLI was designed specifically for power users and administrators. With it, administrators can quickly configure machines or groups of machines, schedule updates and verify configurations. The Red Carpet Manager (rcman) allows system administrators to manage multiple desktop or server systems, ship their own custom software and automate software management in general.

Channels

Channels are the Red Carpet Enterprise metaphor for organizing software packages for distribution. Channels contain groups of software packages, typically organized around a functional need. For example, one channel might contain packages and tools for engineers, and another channel might contain communications packages. Channels support your own internally developed or customized packages.

Groups

Within Red Carpet Enterprise, systems that will access the same set of channels (or, the same set of software) are placed into a group. You may organize your groups according to department, project, or simply by whether a specific machine is a desktop or server system. Overlapping groups are permitted?the same machine can be in multiple Red Carpet groups.

For a closer look at what's in Red Carpet Enterprise 2, check out this Evaluation Guide.


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