Originally Published: Tuesday, 25 September 2001 Author: The Linux.com Staff
Published to: enhance_articles_sysadmin/Sysadmin Page: 1/3 - [Printable]

Linux.com Interview: Azi Cohen and Izar Tarandach of Aduva

Linux.com is an international community just as Linux and open source technologies are an international movement. Here at Linux.com we continue our series of Linux around the world with a visit to another hot Linux startup, Aduva founded in Israel. As you will see Aduva is one of many up and coming Linux companies poised to do well in the enterprise markets.

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At the recent Linux World expo in San Francisco Linux.com took the opportunity to sit down with Azi Cohen, CEO and Izar Tarandach (Director of Technology) of Aduva and ask them some questions about being a hot, young start up in the still exploding Linux in the enterprise space. Aduva provides network-based software technology that automates management of both single and multi-system Linux installations. The products, Aduva Manager for a single system, and Aduva Director for multi-system networks, address the growing need for critical system management tasks such as configuration management, upgrades, patches and new hardware driver and software installations. The Aduva solution is Linux Distribution agnostic.

Linux.com: How old is Aduva?

Azi Cohen: It was started in October 1999. In fact all the founders came from a certain unit of the Israeli army bringing skills in computation, logarithmics and simulation, things like that. All the knowledge, especially the Unix and Linux knowledge, was brought into Aduva when they started the company. It is not a civilian application of the same applications they used in the military however.

Linux.com: Where do you have offices?

Azi Cohen: Our headquarters are here in Palo Alto (California) the development group is in Israel and all the data itself is over here, the knowledge base, in order to provide a high level of service to our customers.

The intellectual property of Aduva is in the way we do what we call certification. We define ourselves as a complexity management solution for the enterprise. For instance, there are many dependencies in Linux between pieces of software and what we do is locate them all and build a knowledge base of all the dependencies between different types of components.

Izar Tarandach: Components could be hardware, software, kernels, everything. Up to now we have certified up to 35 thousand components.

Linux.com: That's got to be the largest database of its kind in the world?

Azi Cohen: Yes, and growing. We have a laboratory in Israel which is definitley unique to Aduva. In this lab we can automatically create about 90 thousand different Linux configurations. The whole lab is automatically managed, and the whole process from getting a new piece of hardware or software in to getting it shipped out with all the rules and dependencies for the other 35 thousand components we have is fully automated, and that was very important for us.

Linux.com: How long does that take?

Azi Cohen: It depends on the complexity of the component but basically it's either one hour or perhaps two. If it is something very complex, like a new kernel or whatever, then it could take a bit more than that.

The complete process on a steady basis takes us five days. But we can accelerate that for security patches and customers requests and such, to as little as 12 hours. For instance, security patches we will usually release the day after or within 12 hours. And, y'know, if somebody comes in with a very important piece of software or hardware and wants us to certify it, depending on how critical it is we can accelerate it up to three hours or even more.

This is one major part of Aduva's intellectual property: the ability to create a certified component and ship them to our database. By the way, it is already a fourth generation of automation, so we have improved that quite a bit. The automation group is a separate group from the R&D group, they concentrate on the quality and the throughput of the certification process.

Linux.com: OK, so what does the R&D group do?

Azi Cohen: The R&D group are building the infrastructure for deployment of the complete solution. This deployment is actually an agent based application. You install the agent on your machine and the agent can read your assets, what's installed in terms of hardware and software, and whenever you want to implement, update, upgrade or whatever, you use the GUI to provide a command: "let's install the next version of Apache or the next update to ICQ" then the agent will read your assets, will figure out what rules it needs and then communicate with the Aduva databases, get all possible dependencies, and will show you the results.

Linux.com: What kind of results?

Azi Cohen: It will say something like "in order to install this patch you need to have this library and you need a different TCP/IP stack from another version" or something. Then, if you request it, all the components will be pushed and installed automatically. So, the R&D group are building the infrastructure for that.

We actually have two applications: we have an application for engineers which is in pull model this is for somebody who manages maybe a single machine or two or three machines. But then we have another application called Director which is aimed at the system administrator who can monitor and manage the agent from remote locations.

Linux.com: Can you tell us a bit about your product line up?

Azi Cohen: Built on those applications we have three major solutions: we have a solution for the enterprise, we have a solution for remote support providers-- MSPs and ASPs-- and we also have a solution for hardware and software providers.

Linux.com: Does your target market include individual workstation users?

Azi Cohen: Well yes. We do have the manager which can be used by the individual user and even the home user, and downloaded for free.

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