Novell is expanding its relationship with enterprise software vendor SAP with the release of a new optimized Linux operating system. The SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP offering builds on previous collaborations between Novell and SAP.
The new optimized version of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) comes during the same week that Oracle announced its own optimized Linux release for Oracle applications.
"SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications is an optimized version of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 SP 3," Josh Dorfman, Novell's director of global alliances marketing, InternetNews.com. "SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP applications uses the standard SLES 10 Linux kernel, Linux kernel 2.6.16."
Novell and SAP have had a working partnership for several years to make their solutions work well with one other. Dorfman noted that nearly four years ago Novell came out with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server Priority Support for SAP Applications, for instance. The priority support offering allowed for seamless joint support from both companies for SAP workloads.
Though the new SAP-optimized SLES offering is being announced this week, it isn't using the latest leading edge of Novell's Linux releases. Novell released SLES 11 in March 2009.
"In terms of why SLES 10SP3 versus SLES 11, the reality is that when we first began working on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications, we did not have SLES 11 certified on all of the applications SAP and Novell wanted to support with this offering," Dorfman said. "We expect to be on SLES 11 for this offering sometime next year."
SLES for SAP Applications differs from a standard SLES release in a number of key optimizations that are specific to SAP. One of the key new additions is an automated end-to-end installation framework for the deployment of SAP solution.
The support infrastructure is also different, Dorfman noted, explaining that there is a separate update channel maintained by SAP and Novell.
"Additionally, SAP and Novell offer customers the option of joint support, ensuring customers receive seamless and integrated maintenance and support for both SAP applications and the operating system," he said.
The sales forces of both companies and their channel partners will sell the new solution, and Dorfman noted that SUSE Linux Enterprise is the exclusive operating system for a number of SAP Solutions.
"Since SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications is the only supported operating system for several SAP solutions ... SAP's direct sales and channel partners will include SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications as part of the discussion of the overall solution," he said.
The SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications is not yet available as a virtual software appliance. Novell has a technology called SUSE Studio for building integrated software appliances with the SLES operating system, but isn't using it for a commercial SAP solution, at least not yet.
"SAP and Novell are seeing customer demand for this type of solution, so it is something that we are investigating," Dorfman said.