Red Hat has simplified the pricing for its software as a service (SaaS) system monitoring and added support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5, and various applications and other software.

Previously, the Red Hat Command Centre was complicated to buy, with prices based on usage and the number of services. Donald Fischer, Red Hat vice president of online services, claimed this has been improved upon: "Now, it's just a basic annual subscription per server. We got a lot of feedback that that's just a simpler way to consume this kind of service." It can also now look after JBoss 4 application server, Oracle10g database and VMware ESX version 3.

The service provides remote system monitoring for machines running operating systems including Solaris, Windows, VMware and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Some of the technology it uses was acquired when Red Hat bought systems management firm NOCpulse in 2002.

Basic system monitoring of all servers in a network has been added to the service when it is purchased for just a single server. This works by Command Centre pinging other servers to make sure they are functioning. There are also additional capabilities, such as monitoring of FTP services and application servers.

Outsourcer ITresources is using Command Centre as a network operations tool, in preference to CA Unicenter, HP OpenView or Tivoli, according to Chad Decatur, senior manager IT infrastructure. He said that Command Centre has been affordable with easy to run reports for SLAs: "It doesn't seem to have a lot of latency."

Decatur said the product is easy to learn, because staff do not “have to devote their career to learning the product".

Last month Red Hat also began selling technical support services for 14 products running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.