Red Hat has changed the pricing model for its software-as-a-service (SaaS) based system monitoring and added support for more software packages, the company said.

The Red Hat Command Centre service provides remote system monitoring for systems running operating systems including Solaris, Windows and, of course, Red Hat Enterprise Linux. VMware also is monitored. With the upgrade, Red Hat has changed to a price of $192 (£97.30) per server annually, said Donald Fischer, Red Hat vice president of online services.

Previously, pricing involved a complicated model based on usage after the fact and factoring in the number of services. "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," Fischer said.

Also added to the service is basic system monitoring of all servers in a network when service is purchased for just a single server. Command Centre will ping other servers to make sure they are functioning. But additional capabilities, such as monitoring of file transfer protocol (FTP) services and application servers, are restricted to the server monitored for the flat-rate subscription fee.

Red Hat also has updated which software it can monitor, adding support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5, the JBoss 4 application server, the Oracle10g database and VMware ESX version 3.

At IT outsourcer ITresources, the company is using Command Centre as a network operations tool competitive to how it would use CA Unicenter, HP OpenView or Tivoli, said Chad Decatur, senior manager of IT infrastructure for ITresources.

He said Command Centre has been very affordable and reports for SLAs are easy to run. "It doesn't seem to have a lot of latency," said Decatur.

Also, it is easy to learn. "Somebody doesn't have to devote their career to learning the product," said Decatur.

Technology leveraged in Command Centre was acquired from NOCpulse in 2002, Fischer said.