SUSE Linux Agreement with Microsoft Extended Four Years

Microsoft has extended its agreement with SUSE for another four years. The software giant has committed to invest $100 million to acquire new certificates for enterprise customers receiving Linux support from the independent business unit of the Attachment Group, which acquired SUSE's former owner Novell for $2.2 billion under an agreement inked last November.

Under the original five-year deal with Novell, Microsoft and SUSE jointly served the needs of more than 725 enterprise-class customers around the world in the manufacturing, oil and gas, healthcare and financial-services industries. What's more, SUSE provided Microsoft's customers with consolidated Linux support for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and community Linux distributions such as CentOS.

"Our mutual commitment to help organizations make the most of mixed Linux and Windows Server environments is what has made this collaboration successful," said SUSE Vice President Michael Miller on Monday. "We will continue to work with Microsoft to deliver solutions that enable our joint customers to manage critical workloads in mixed-source environments across a wide range of computing models, including private, hybrid and full cloud implementations."

A Big Step Forward

The fact that the industry today has interoperability is a big step forward compared to the old days, noted Ulrich Trottenberg, a director at the Fraunhofer Institute for Algorithms and Scientific Computing (SCAI). And moving forward it's important that Microsoft and SUSE are proactively exploring ways to further improve platform interoperability, Trottenberg observed.

"For Fraunhofer SCAI, this is critical because we have so many different technologies that we must work with to meet the needs of our customers and to support our own research," Trottenberg said.

However, he also alluded to the Microsoft-SUSE deal as having resolved intellectual-property concerns. Microsoft's original SUSE deal with Novell guaranteed that joint Microsoft-SUSE customers would not be threatened by the software giant's patent claims on Linux. Additionally, the newly extended deal with SUSE will enable Microsoft to maintain a close business relationship with a potential operating-system rival.

The latest SUSE and Red Hat Linux releases keep "the heat turned up under both Windows and the various flavors of Unix as a viable alternative platform for new workloads that would have either gone onto large Windows servers or up to midrange RISC/Unix servers," noted Forrester Research Vice President Richard Fichera in a blog. "And as the available x86 platforms continue to scale, [Linux] will develop a commensurately greater reach."

Moving Forward

Microsoft's original five-year deal with SUSE has proven beneficial to the reseller efforts of business hardware, software and services vendors Dell and SHI International as well as those of independent software vendors such as Adaptive Computing Enterprises and BridgeWays.

"The Microsoft-SUSE expanded support program has helped a number of our customers standardize on SUSE as an optimized guest on Hyper-V, as well as provide a highly cost-effective support program for non-SUSE distributions, including Red Hat," said BridgeWays Vice President James Largotta.

The software giant's future plans include extending Microsoft System Center through integration with SUSE Manager and select technologies to enhance Linux deployment, patching and updating. Moreover, Sandy Gupta, general manager of the open solutions group at Microsoft, expects the company's cross-platform virtualization and systems-management collaboration will serve as a critical building block for heterogeneous enterprise data centers striving to embrace cloud-computing environments.

"Organizations transitioning to increased level IT automation in the form of cloud infrastructure today need to be able to assume that the multi-vendor solutions they acquire are fully integrated as well as deliver consistent interfaces and service-level agreements to their end users," Gupta wrote in a blog on Monday.



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