by MichaelF on October 12, 2006 02:30pm


Capturing the sentiment from my colleagues, Anandeep, Hank and Sam – I LOVE THIS JOB !!! Last week I had a chance to meet w/ Mozilla, watch Sam interview Steve Wozniak and the wonder of it never ceases to amaze me. This week, we had a chance to have lunch w/ Barry Crist, the CEO of Centeris, Krishna Ganugapati their VP of Development and Chuck Mount, the VP of Marketing. Centeris is a company based out of Bellevue, WA that makes the Likewise product which allows Linux Servers to be manages within a Windows centric environment. We all got off to a great start in our discussion because one of the core and common goal that ties us together to the charter of partners like Centeris is “Interop”. Yes, Interop, and finding more and better ways for Microsoft and non-Microsoft platforms or products to co-exist and thrive. This is a really important charter for not only the Microsoft Open Source Software Lab but for also all of Microsoft. After brief introductions to the Program Managers of the Team and our beloved Penguins, we got down to discussing what Centeris as a company was all about and more importantly, what is it that “Likewise” did. Barry and Chuck gave us a very good insight into what the overall focus of Centeris was about and why there is a prominent need for providing this functionality in a heterogeneous environment.

If you’re an ITPro managing a small, medium or an enterprise-wide shop, you know how diverse and today’s implementations are and/or can be. This translates to greater complexity while managing your environment, which as the market data will tell you, is rarely single-platform centric. Thus, making accommodations for manageability of the diverse platform-portfolio is a skill that we all much acquire sooner than later. This is where Centeris fits in perfectly for several reasons because it is extending Windows-based manageability and windows-based tools towards day-to-day management of Linux servers and improve interop. This also means that organizations that have tight budgets can continue to manage their environment with existing skill-sets under tight budgets.

The way Likwise works is where the console is installed on the Admin’s machine, the agent (which is an open source product) is installed on the Linux Server/s and using the console, these servers are managed using the Microsoft Management Console (MMC). Likewise Open Agent includes server-side components (that work w/ Samba) and client-side components (that work w/ MMC) The functionality that is extended to the Linux systems is possible through RPC’s and SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol). Likewise open agent is available on sourceforge.net and has been released under the CDDL (common development and distribution license).  We found the approach that Centeris took towards Linux manageability to be very simple and ITPro centric.

The highlight of our discussion yesterday was getting to know more about Krishna Ganugapati.  Krishna spent 10 years at Microsoft from 1993 to 2003 most of it in Windows development team. After we got into deep discussions, we found out that Krishna was the inventor of ADSI (Active Directory Services Interfaces), the preferred means for accessing Active Directory. Krishna also led the development teams for Windows IPSec and Window wireless security through the Windows 2000 and XP releases. The interaction that followed between all of us, penguins, PM’s and Krishna was very rewarding. Krishna got into the guts of how manageability is being approached as a concept by Centeris. The big takeway after we saw the Centeris demo, for me was that there doesn’t always have to be a steep learning curve every time new technology is introduced into the environment. Sometimes, its easier to manage new technology with familiar tools and that was a very novel concept that I walked away with yesterday. It also affirmed my faith as to why “Interop” is as prominent, as important and as critical as it is to us and to the success of Microsoft.

Thanks Centeris !!