Landscape update improves ROI and compliance for Ubuntu in the enterprise

New data suggests Landscape users can expect a return of more than 1,000% over five years

Canonical today announces a significant update to Landscape, its enterprise-grade systems management tool for large deployments of Ubuntu desktops, servers and cloud instances. It also reveals the findings of new independent research showing how Landscape can help IT departments cut their costs drastically.

The research, conducted by Enterprise Management Associates, reveals that when used to manage a deployment of 1,000 Ubuntu desktops, Landscape can help cut IT costs by up to two thirds, generating a 1,121% ROI in five years. The ROI is realised because Landscape enables a single administrator to manage thousands of machines as easily as one. By automating all common operations tasks, it eliminates complexity, reduces human error and assists with compliance.

Available as part of the Ubuntu Advantage service package and deployed as either a hosted service or a dedicated server installation, the updated Landscape offers a number of new and enhanced features. As the requirements imposed by regulatory frameworks such as PCI DSS, HIPAA/HITECH and Sarbanes-Oxley continue to grow, Landscape’s new compliance features are expected to prove popular.

Kelly Corbin, Senior System Administrator at NA Bancard comments: “With this new edition of Landscape, we can be sure that we are meeting PCI requirements for patch management, change management, user access, security and more. Auditors love the fact that we have centralised tools for updating servers and reporting on every element of our infrastructure.”

These reporting features are complemented by new role-based access control (RBAC) capabilities. Now, team leaders can designate specifically which administrators can access each machine, before producing custom reports that detail the changes made to each one.

Landscape now offers a complete API, which means it can be integrated with any pre-existing infrastructure (e.g. Puppet, Nagios), trouble ticketing systems, or even enable it to be driven via system administrators’ custom scripts. And, because it’s been created specifically for Ubuntu, it can also draw on new features in the latest long-term support (LTS) release, including Metal-as-a-Service, for bare-metal provisioning.

Federico Lucifredi, Landscape Product Manager at Canonical explains: “There is simply nothing out there that can give IT managers and system administrators this level of control over their Ubuntu deployments. And nothing that can save their already-overworked departments as much money or time.”

Zaid Al Hamami, Director of Product Management at Canonical added: “Ubuntu deployments have been growing in number and size over the last few years. In fact, it is now common to see deployments in the thousands or tens of thousands of machines. At this scale come manageability challenges. Landscape – part of Ubuntu Advantage – is the fastest, most cost-effective, and most reliable way to address these challenges. System administrators are more productive within days, and compliance can be assured.”

Key new features in Landscape

Role-based access control (RBAC)

Provides privilege separation to allow each IT administrator to do their job, but no more – reducing human error while improving security and compliance.

Compliance reporting

Provides the tools to help businesses quickly and easily run the right reports and find the right information for compliance purposes. Saves time and cost, allowing administrators to focus on projects and more productive tasks.
Repository management: makes it possible to create locally-managed repositories and assign managed devices to them, which in turn supports sophisticated integration testing processes for update management.

Scriptable API

Landscape provides API access to all its functionality. While its web-based UI is one of its greatest assets, Landscape’s API makes integration with other management and monitoring tools possible. It enables administrators to create highly specific workflows, tailored to their site’s needs, without having to define and later maintain basic building blocks, such as repository management.

Bare-metal provisioning

Integrating Ubuntu’s Metal-as-a-Service (MAAS) technology, Landscape makes network-based hardware provisioning possible via industry-standard protocols. Landscape can deliver bits close to their destination, be it the right server rack or the correct field office, safeguarding the network from traffic while still affording the administrator central control.

Other significant improvements

Enhanced platform integration with 12.04

A new Management Service applet has been added to Ubuntu 12.04 ‘Precise’, introducing a graphical interface fronting registration to Landscape.

Increased scalability

A Landscape server now can support up to 40,000 client devices.

Auto-Update Policies

It is now possible to assign machines with policies instructing them to automatically update, applying either all updates or only those relevant for security. Maintenance Windows allow the administrator to instruct a device to automatically update only at a certain times, safeguarding field users from interference with critical business activity.

Availability

Landscape is available to purchase now as part of the Ubuntu Advantage service package. To learn more about Ubuntu Advantage and Landscape, go to www.ubuntu.com/landscape or try the free hands-on demonstration at landscape.canonical.com