In an age where Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is the dominant tech company and proprietary smartphones and tablets account for an ever-growing segment of the market, it can be easy to forget that not all hardware is built on closed standards. Opengear, however, reminded the channel recently that open hardware platforms can be profitable as well with the announcement of two significant achievements in the remote-management market.

When we last checked in with Opengear, which delivers solutions for remotely accessing and managing IT infrastructure that are built using open source technology, it was making inroads in the security space. Its newest product release, Opengear Lighthouse version 4, continues the company's focus on security professionals, among others, while also introducing new features designed to enhance the scalability and usability of the platform.

In particular, the latest iteration of Lighthouse offers the following new functionality:
  • Improvements upon Opengear's Call Home feature, which simplifies remote access to devices protected by firewalls or private IP addresses.
  • User-interface enhancements which allow "network administrators to quickly find and access any piece of infrastructure on their network," according to the company.
  • Enhanced scalability that now permits the platform to support up to 5,000 devices.
  • A partnership with Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) to deliver two comprehensive hardware offerings tailored for deploying Opengear. (The product also remains available as a software appliance that can be run in other environments.)
Additionally, Opengear continues to highlight its open standards, touting Lighthouse version 4 as "an open, vendor-neutral platform." It also remains keen to win the attention of IT security personnel, emphasizing the applicability of Opengear solutions to them as well as to network admins.

Meanwhile, just prior to unveiling its latest line of features, Opengear also enjoyed endorsement by the management team of Britain's COSMOS supercomputer for its remote-access needs. In financial terms, my guess is that this development is far less lucrative for Opengear than contracts with large commercial enterprises that have thousands of machines to manage remotely. But as a point of pride, Opengear engineers are no doubt pleased to have their own role to play in a public endeavor aiming to chart the history of the universe.

And even for organizations with less imposing ambitions, Opengear stands out for its commitment to open source standards in delivering complex hardware solutions. It's filling a niche that shows no signs of narrowing, the ubiquity of proprietary devices notwithstanding.