by Michael Applebaum, Director of Linux and Appliances Marketing
These are heady times in the Linux world, with Linux at the center of how organizations are evolving and even transforming their computing infrastructures and ecosystems. Looking at recent developments, I'm struck by three observations.
The Perfect Linux Guest
First, Linux is everywhere. When we launched SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 in March 2009, we talked about the ubiquity of Linux – or, Linux how you want it, where you want it. Whether companies are deploying to bare metal, on-premise virtual platforms or public clouds, Linux is in the conversation.
From the desktop to the data center, Novell has been a leader in making Linux the default platform for thousands of organizations. Companies like Office Depot have the confidence to run mission-critical applications virtualized on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server because we've worked closely with VMware, Microsoft and Citrix to make SUSE Linux Enterprise a “Perfect Guest” on all major virtualization platforms. This means customers get great performance, coordinated joint support and the lowest cost of ownership for their virtual deployments.
Following our longstanding and successful partnership with Microsoft, we formed the second leg of our Perfect Guest strategy in February when we announced a partnership with Citrix. Together we're providing joint technical support to customers and jointly certifying the applications that run on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.
We then completed the third leg of our Perfect Guest strategy this month with a landmark strategic partnership with VMware. VMware will now distribute and support SUSE Linux Enterprise Server in VMware vSphere environments. This means the two largest virtualization platform vendors – VMware and Microsoft – are now distributing SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, which can only further accelerate the adoption of virtualized Linux.
Add virtual appliances to the mix, and it's clear Linux is continuing to explode. Appliances are an easy way for software vendors to simplify how their applications are installed and deployed, and SUSE Linux Enterprise is the operating platform for appliances. In the long term, appliances can also help app vendors ditch legacy platforms and narrow their support matrixes. The appliance approach also has the potential to be transformational through extending applications to the cloud.
The Power of the Ecosystem
Second, the ecosystem surrounding Linux keeps growing in size and strength every day. Whether we look at VMware increasing its commitment to SUSE Linux Enterprise, Ingres using Linux appliances to expand its market, or SUSE Linux Enterprise reaching the 5,000 certified application mark, Linux is delivering value for customers and partners alike.
The Path to the Cloud
Third, Linux is driving the path to the cloud. SUSE Linux Enterprise is ideally suited for the cloud because of its flexibility, high performance in virtual environments, and proven experience supporting critical workloads. SUSE Studio's ability to build SUSE Linux Enterprise images for the cloud makes it even more compelling. Fujitsu, Vodacom, Verizon and IBM are all relying on SUSE Linux Enterprise for innovative cloud solutions, and we'll be announcing more cloud partners soon.
Still, it's easy to become distracted by the siren call of cloud computing even while most workloads remain on-premise. In particular, IT executives shouldn't be swayed by cloud washing, where vendors put new clothing on last year's technology and call it “cloud.” Vendors need to provide smart, integrated, easy to implement solutions that enable the key elements of cloud computing. It's not enough to drop five disparate products in a bundle, add a cookbook, and call it a cloud solution.
IT leaders need to consider their physical, virtual and cloud deployments holistically or they end up with yet another silo. The drive to provide solutions for secure and policy-driven management of workloads across physical, virtual and cloud environments is what's behind Novell's approach to intelligent workload management. It's a work in progress to be sure, but partners like Fujitsu and Vodacom think it holds real promise.
Today we're hard at work building products that address the key elements of intelligent workload management – Build, Secure, Manage and Measure – and exploit the proven capabilities of SUSE Linux Enterprise. For workload building, SUSE Studio delivers award-winning capabilities for creating OS images and appliances across physical, virtual and cloud platforms. Novell Cloud Security Service complements Novell Identity Manager 4 for holistic cloud and on-premise security. For workload management, PlateSpin Migrate easily moves mission-critical workloads between physical, virtual and cloud environments, while Novell Cloud Manager, available later this year, is a breakthrough product for creating and managing private and hybrid clouds, according to partners. For measuring workloads, Novell Business Service Management solutions provide actionable insight that reduces IT downtime.
The momentum is palpable. How do you see Linux driving the industry evolution today?