Remember when businesses used to talk about being "a Microsoft shop" or "a UNIX shop?" This once-popular notion of building a complete enterprise architecture around the offerings of a single commercial software vendor has all but disappeared–mainly because it simply doesn't work very well in our intensely competitive, constantly shifting, global economy.
Today, businesses need the flexibility to quickly adopt and integrate the best solutions for specific business tasks. And they require the freedom to pick and choose any technology that meets their business needs, whether it's proprietary, open source or a combination of both.
These new requirements are driving businesses toward a more open approach that preserves choice, enhances flexibility and makes it possible to combine the best open source and proprietary software into a single unified, manageable architecture. And of course, these same requirements also set the stage for a new kind of software platform that supports and enables successful open enterprise environments.
With the launch of Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise 10, that platform has finally arrived. SUSE Linux Enterprise is the first offering designed specifically to meet the needs and requirements of open enterprises. It's much more than a new Linux distribution. It's also much more than a point product or a collection of point products. Instead, it's a comprehensive software platform that provides all the tools and capabilities businesses need to build a new kind of healthy, successful open enterprise environment–from the data center to the desktop.
What does a SUSE Linux-powered open enterprise look like? First, it's optimized for efficiency, which means it enables you to share processing resources across different types of systems–regardless of what hardware and software you're running. It helps you get the most from your existing hardware and software resources. It offers you almost limitless freedom to integrate the best software for specific business purposes.
It's designed from the ground up for security and reliability. It includes all of the services and tools you need to support your open enterprise. And of course, it boosts your ability to address the challenges of intense competition, spiraling costs, growing security threats and increasingly demanding customers.
These are ambitious claims. But SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 can back them up. To prove it, let's look at some of the specific capabilities and characteristics that make SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 the ideal platform for your open enterprise–and explore how those capabilities can add real value to your business.
> The Value of an Open Enterprise Environment
The business case for SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 really starts with the money it can save your business. SUSE Linux has always been recognized as a very low-cost alternative to more expensive proprietary platforms.
It reduces licensing fees and dramatically lowers hardware costs by allowing you to run the same operating system on an impressive range of hardware–from Intel and AMD architectures to high-end Silicon Graphics processors.
In fact, Deutsche Bahn, the largest rail transportation company in Germany, saw their software licensing and hardware costs drop by 50 percent after they deployed SUSE Linux as their single consolidated operating system.
Cost is certainly a compelling reason for considering SUSE Linux Enterprise 10. But it's far from the only reason. InformationWeek Research recently conducted a survey of more than 350 business and technology professionals to determine what is really driving Linux adoption on servers and desktops. It's interesting that performance, not cost, was actually the number one factor.
Cost was second, and reliability was a close third1. The results of this survey show that businesses are quickly realizing that Linux–and the kind of open enterprise architecture it enables–can offer them value and competitive advantage in many different areas.
SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 expands this concept and makes it possible for Linux to add even more value by enhancing its inherent advantages, eliminating its shortcomings and adding new enterprise platform capabilities that simply don't exist in any other Linux offerings.
> Superior Security
Linux has built a well-earned reputation as an inherently secure, threat-resistant platform. SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 extends and enhances these characteristics to create one of the most secure operating environments in the world. For example, SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 includes AppArmor, a revolutionary application-level security service that provides ironclad protection for servers and desktops.
With AppArmor, you can quickly develop and enforce security policies to protect your infrastructure from attackers working to exploit application flaws. These policies might, for example, define the scope of an application's access to system resources or enforce beneficial application behavior. The bottom line is that SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 includes all the security tools you need to protect your open enterprise environment without huge investments in time, resources or training.
> The Power of Virtualization
In a typical data center, most servers run at less than 20 percent utilization. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 makes it possible to eliminate this waste, with the first fully supported and fully integrated version of Xen 3.0, the emerging open source standard for virtualization services.
Xen 3.0 makes it possible to consolidate multiple workloads on a single server—or allocate a single workload across multiple servers. This gives you the flexibility to reconfigure your systems and applications for maximum efficiency–and squeeze maximum value from your data center hardware.
With Xen 3.0 and SUSE Linux Enterprise 10, you can easily increase server utilization levels to more than 70 percent. Efficiency is a key characteristic of a successful open enterprise, and SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 clearly delivers that.
> Total Manageability
Successful open enterprises are both centrally managed and highly distributed. In a complex environment running a mix of proprietary and open source resources, you must be able to identify inefficiencies and fix problems quickly. SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 gives you that ability with a number of important new and enhanced management tools. First among these is the new Novell Customer Center, which introduces a whole new paradigm for software and subscription management. The Novell Customer Center is a centralized online portal you can use to obtain the latest software updates and patches–and access Novell customer support quickly. Over time, this unique portal will evolve and expand to offer a wide range of day-to-day management tools. Even more important, the Novell Customer Center is tightly integrated with the Novell ZENworks management suite, so you can use the Customer Center as a gateway to a comprehensive resource management solution for your whole open enterprise environment. (See Figure 1.)
> World-Class Reliability, Performance and Engineering
It's no accident that many of the world's most prominent independent hardware and software vendors already use SUSE Linux to achieve world-record performance benchmarks. SUSE Linux has proven time and time again that it can deliver superior performance in a wide range of business settings. And SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 builds on this legacy with a meticulously engineered, rigorously tested and finely tuned platform that delivers new levels of performance and reliability.
The SUSE Linux Enterprise platform was created using AutoBuild, a unique Novell development and testing methodology. AutoBuild ensures every line of code in SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 meets the highest technical standards. It allows Novell engineers to create and deliver important software updates in hours, rather than days or weeks.
It also enables developers to create SUSE Linux Enterprise for many different hardware platforms simultaneously. That means you can build a more efficient, reliable and effective infrastructure by running the same high-performance operating system on your mainframes, GRIDs, clusters, workstations and desktop systems–and create a flexible, optimized foundation for every part of your open enterprise.
> Superior Services and Support
An open enterprise environment requires the same levels of service and support as any proprietary architecture, and Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 offers the most complete, far-reaching arsenal of global Linux service and support programs in the industry.
It starts with the acclaimed Novell technical support. Novell is the only Linux vendor that has received Support Center Practice (SCP) certification from the Service and Support Professionals Association (SSPA). And the most recent Var Business Report Card ranked Novell number one in server operating system support, primarily because Novell technical support meets more than 99 percent of its Service Level Agreements.
When you invest in SUSE Linux Enterprise 10, you gain access to these award-winning support services–along with software enhancements, bug fixes and security patches–through the Novell Customer Center. A SUSE Linux Enterprise subscription also entitles you to run any enterprise Linux release, including future upgrades, so you can constantly enhance the value of your investment and deploy SUSE Linux Enterprise across your whole organization with complete confidence.
SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 also benefits from robust partner programs, a complete software developer kit and other developer programs, mature training and education programs, a seven-year life cycle guarantee, the industry's most complete indemnification protection and much more. In other words, Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 includes all of the programs and services you need to support and develop a healthy, successful open enterprise environment.
> From the Data Center to the Desktop
SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 is an open enterprise platform in every sense of the word, because it provides the foundation for an unprecedented range of different workloads, applications and solutions–from the data center to the desktop. You can use the same SUSE Linux Enterprise operating system for everything from core infrastructure computing in your data center and enterprise database deployment to line of business applications and desktop computing at the edges of your business. SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 offers significant enhancements and improvements in all of these areas, including the desktop.
Linux has offered an attractive, low-cost desktop alternative for fixed-function workstations, transactional workstations, technical workstations and basic corporate desktops for some time. But there has always been a functionality and usability gap between Linux and Windows, especially when it comes to meeting the needs of corporate power users.
SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 closes that gap, with major new advances for Linux desktop users. The SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop is the very first Linux desktop to use Xgl graphical rendering technology to provide a much richer, more usable interface. (See Figure 2.)
In fact, the many usability improvements found in the SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 Desktop make it the equal of any desktop environment in the world. For the first time, there is a viable Linux desktop alternative that is capable of meeting the needs of general knowledge workers in your enterprise. This translates into a new world of cost-saving opportunities, both in terms of lower licensing fees and the efficiencies that come from running the same operating platform on servers and desktops.