No changes yet for LanDesk partners

Although Avocent Corp. is expected to officially take control of LanDesk Software this month, LanDesk partners will continue to do business as usual at least for several months.

That means for the time being LanDesk’s partner program, products and marketing material won’t be altered, according to Avocent public relations manager Marianne Higgins. LanDesk will operate as a division within Avocent, she said.

“We don’t plan to make any changes with that for a while,” she said.

Avocent, a maker of out-of-band server connectivity products, is buying LanDesk, which makes in-band desktop connectivity software, for US$146 million.

“The most important thing about the acquisition is from the product integration standpoint, not so much the operational,” Higgins also said.

According to C.C. Fridlim, Avocent’s director of product marketing, a team from both companies is working out a plan for merging the product lines with a goal of being finished at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

They made their comments as Avocent launched its MergePoint 5200 management gateway appliance, a US$3,995 device that gives IT managers remote access to servers equipped with service processors.

Recently a number of server manufacturers have been including a separate processor (sometimes called a baseboard management processor) for managing their internal operations. But IT managers aren’t taking full advantage of the capability to remotely control these machines, said Fridlim.

The MergePoint 5200 allows system administrators to better access manage service processor resources, he said. It does so by taking advantage of the fact that the service processor connects to the server’s LAN port. As a result, these servers can be managed over a network without remote power strips or plugging a serial cable to a console port, said Fridlim.

“What the MergePoint allows us to do is replace some expensive equipment with this product,” he said, “allowing access to devices without having to physically connect to them.”

It’s particularly aimed at enterprise data centres, high performance computing clusters and grid computing systems with hundreds of servers.

The 5200 supports the command-line technology known as Server Hardware Command Line Protocol (SMASH CLP) to control multiple vendor server environments with a secure, centrally managed interface.

The MergePoint 5200 works with servers from vendors that use the Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI), as well as Hewlett-Packard servers with Integrated Lights Out (iLO) and Dell servers with Remote Access Card (DRAC).

The 5200 will be the first in a family of management gateway appliances, Fridlim said. The Cyclades OnBoard service processor manager, which is among the products Avocent acquired when it bought Cyclades Corp. earlier in the year, will be added to the MergePoint line by November.

There are about two dozen active Avocent partners in Canada, said Shane Smith, president of Avocent Canada, who will see advantages in offering the MergePoint to customers.

Some end users feel they already have access to the service processor and turn away VARs, he said, but the 5200 makes the technology more powerful. “It gives our partners a reason to go in to customers that may already have some sort of out-of-band (offline) management tools and give them something that can really enhance that.

Among the 5200’s advantages is that it allows companies to manage servers from several vendors under one interface instead of separately, he added.

“Partners now have an opportunity to go to back to some existing clients where they felt they had no opportunity and to go to new clients and add some value and make their lives easier,” he said.

Smith also said that Avocent Canada is “evaluating” recent improvement made to the Avocent partner deal registration plan in the U.S. He didn’t offer details, but said generally it gives partners higher margins than they get now for generating product demand.

The existing program offers “decent margins,” he said. “There’s always been an incentive, but now it’s even larger than ever before.”

The U.S. changes also allow new partners to “get to a good discount level quite quickly.”

“We anticipate there will be changes (in the Canadian program) once we get into the fall, probably with a start date of October 1.”


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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer. Former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, Howard has written for several of ITWC's sister publications, including Before arriving at ITWC he served as a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times.

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