Quest Software, which has been building a cross-platform bridge between Linux and Windows systems, is expected to release early next year a tool that lets users monitor the open source operating system from their Microsoft management consoles.Quest's Vintela Systems Monitor (VMS) 1.0 plugs into and expands the monitoring and performance tool Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) to include Linux and Unix servers, giving IT departments a centralized console for monitoring their server environments. VMS works with MOM 2005 and extends to the AIX, HP-UX, Solaris, SuSE and Red Hat platforms."A lot of users find they are engaging in swivel-chair management, going from one console to another," says Andi Mann, an analyst with consulting firm Enterprise Management Associates. "The trend toward using appliances, blades and racks means that Linux is an attractive option. If users pick that option they have to think about monitoring and managing it," Mann says.Mann says Quest is slipping VMS between the options of a fully manual scripting management environment, and full-blown and costly systems management platforms from Computer Associates, HP and IBM. MOM 2005 has a feature called the Connector Framework that permits integration with those management platforms.MOM uses a set of agents that run on servers and applications and allow it to track application state, monitor the health of servers, and correct errors or restart services or entire servers. VMS is one such agent, which hooks into MOM's Administrator, Operator and Web consoles and the MOM reporting engine.With VMS, Quest has created management packs for Unix and Linux that let users configure and monitor server performance and availability.Quest has included a framework so users can author their own management packs for Unix- or Linux-based systems, applications or services."Our agent is built on standards, Open [Web-based Enterprise Management] and Universal Management Instrumentation, which is key to Systems Monitor. This is not just parsing syslogs; we are working across standards so users can build management packs on their own that sit on this," says Paul Barcoe-Walsh, director of product management for Quest.VMS is the latest cross-platform software from Quest, which acquired Vintela earlier this year. The company is developing a line of tools that extend Windows features - such as Active Directory administration, password reset and group policy - to the Unix and Linux platforms. The company competes with BindView, NetIQ and NetPro in Microsoft infrastructure management and with Centrify in Unix and Linux integration.VMS is in beta testing and is slated to ship in January. Pricing has not been set.