I started my professional career as UNIX system administrator back in the mid-1990&aposs, so I know first hand what a headache it can be to keep a bunch of operating systems and other critical software up to date across the entire IT environment. Canonical has plans to make this a little easier for people running Ubuntu with the announcement of the Landscape Dedicated Server. According to Ken Drachnik, Landscape manager at Canonical, "Landscape Dedicated Server will give customers the flexibility to download package updates from their own private repository or the Ubuntu public package repository." The system configuration, policies, and profiles are kept within the internal infrastructure, so you will even be able to use Landscape to manage systems that are not on public networks, which can be fairly common in certain environments (manufacturing, etc.)
This is pretty good timing for Canonical. A report released on July 24, 2009 from Forrester highlights the importance of using system management tools to automate IT activities:
A combination of forces, including skyrocketing complexity and severe economic pressure, are radically and irreversibly altering the IT landscape. New methods, new functional sourcing, and new organizational structures are needed to address this onslaught, but one theme is obvious throughout all of these approaches ¡X a need to automate more of what you do in IT. The typical IT organization wastes a significant portion of its budget on inefficiencies that only get worse as complexity grows. Automate many of these tasks and you become leaner and more responsive to business changes. Evidence indicates an automation "tipping point" is already under way this year. All IT shops need to consider their plans for automation, including the many derivative outcomes for process refinement, staffing, tools, and the organization itself.
Landscape Dedicated Server will be released in late September and will cost $150 per node with additional fees for server, installation and support.