Wednesday, 02 November 2011 12:18

SUSE has its head in the cloud

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SUSE, the company that creates and markets the oldest commercial GNU/Linux distribution, is making its first major initiative as a private company, releasing an early development version of its cloud infrastructure solution which is powered by the open source OpenStack.


SUSE was taken private earlier this year after the purchase of its parent company, Novell, by Attachmate Corporation. The new owners decided to separate the businesses and SUSE now operates from Nuremberg, its original base.

Kerry Kim (below), director of solutions marketing at SUSE, told iTWire that this separation had its advantages as the GNU/Linux business was now able to look at profit-making possibilities on its own, rather than as a part of a bigger company.

"Within Novell, we had to make our goals secondary to the overall growth strategy," he said.

The cloud solution is operating-system neutral and can be run on any virtualisation software. SUSE helpfully provides a website where one can build disk images for various set-ups like the Amazon Cloud or a VMWare image for testing. It is a simple process for anyone who knows what they are doing.
Kerry Kim
The company also offers a test drive online but there is a fairly long wait if one wishes to test online.

Kim said the company had chosen OpenStack because it had very good community support. OpenStack is open source and backed by Rackspace.

He said the fact that SUSE was able to support Microsoft's Hyper-V much better than other GNU/Linux companies was a strong point in favour of the SUSE solution.

The major competition to SUSE comes from Red Hat and Canonical, the latter through its Ubuntu cloud offering. "They focus on particular market segments but in some others we dominate," Kim said. "For example, in China we have a much bigger share of the market."

When it came to mainframe Linux, about 80 per cent ran on SUSE, he said, adding that around 70 per cent of SAP deployments on Linux were also on SUSE.

Through its cloud offering and also the SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop, SUSE is now focused entirely on its business clients. The home user is catered to by the openSUSE community GNU/Linux project which the company supports.

Kim admitted that given the numerous ructions that have occurred in its recent past, SUSE was more or less making a fresh start all over again.

SUSE was bought by Novell in 2003 and for a while it looked as though the strategy to push Linux would be very aggressive. At the time when Novell purchased SUSE, its GNU/Linux distribution was the most widely used in Europe.

But Novell's GNU/Linux business lost steam fairly soon after that with the resignation of Chris Stone, who was second in command at Novell, in 2004.

As has happened right through its history, Novell tried various strategies, none of which succeeded. Then it signed a deal with Microsoft in 2006 but even that did not do what the company was hoping it would. Finally, this year, Novell was sold to Attachmate.

 

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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