HP Gains Linux Blade Application With RLX Buy

Hewlett-Packard today swooped in to pick up what’s left of blade pioneer RLX Technologies, which had been reduced to a licenser of its blade management software, the RLX Control Tower for Linux. Terms of the deal were not announced.

RLX had been first in the market with blades, or thin servers meant to be stacked and networked, but the startup was unable to compete once giants such as HP, IBM, Sun Microsystems and Dell entered the field.

Good Deal

“It’s a local company with some useful code, engineers who obviously have skills and background and experience in the type of systems management that HP has. We don’t know the terms of the deal, but it probably was not all that expensive,” Gordon Haff, senior analyst at Illuminata, told LinuxInsider. “It looks to be a good deal for HP.”

HP’s main blade management software, Systems Insight Manager (SIM), is a much bigger application than RLX Control Tower. Often Linux is used to manage a subset of a company’s servers or IT environment and is too large and difficult to use for simpler tasks, Haff said.

“SIM is such a good tool for a broader set of management tasks, but it can be a bit of overkill,” he said. “It’s too big for just managing a rack of Linux blades.”

Convenient Combination

RLX had stopped selling hardware in December and laid off 80 percent of its workforce. The company has 36 remaining employees and is based in Spring, Texas, close to Houston, where Compaq was based and where HP still maintains a large operation in systems management.

HP and RLX said the deal should be complete in 30 days. RLX will become part of HP’s Technology Solutions Group.

Haff said it remains to be seen how HP will integrate Control Tower into its existing blade management systems.

“For the customer who isn’t interested in an enterprise-wide management story, it’s a nice, simple well-engineered, but more targeted, application,” he said. “We have to see exactly how integration happens over time. HP said they would integrate Control Tower more tightly with SIM, or they could offer it as SIM Light for Linux blades. It really depends on customer pickup.”

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