What do IBM, VMware, SAP and Dell have in common? They're all using Novell to build Linux appliances.
Dell officially announced this week that it is joining the SUSE Appliance Program, financial terms of the partnership are not being publicly disclosed. The SUSE Linux Appliance Program is an extension of the SUSE Studio appliance technology and enables vendors to build and manage their own Linux software appliances.
"Dell and Novell have had an alliance for over 16 years, and this is an expansion to that relationship," Josh Dorfman, director of strategic alliances at Novell, told InternetNews.com. "Dell has been actively looking at the appliance market opportunity, and SUSE Studio helps them easily develop appliance solutions."
According to Dorfman, Dell will be creating software, hardware or virtual appliances. He noted that additional details are not being disclosed at this time about the specifics of Dell's Linux appliance deployments.
The SUSE Linux Appliance Program includes an on-premise version of SUSE Studio, which is a cloud-delivered service for building Linux appliances. Dorfman noted that Dell will be using the full set of Novell appliance build tools from the the SUSE Appliance Toolkit, which includes SUSE Studio Onsite. He added that he was unable to comment on Dell's cloud deployment plans, if any, in regards to Linux appliances.
Dell joins a growing list of leading technology vendors partnering with Novell for the SUSE Appliance Program and with Novell on Linux appliance technology in general. VMware is using Novell's SUSE for vSphere appliances. IBM uses Novell for Lotus and Websphere appliances. SAP also has a partnership with Novell for Linux appliances that includes an SAP StreamWork collaboration appliance.
"The deals are all similar in that VMware, Dell, IBM and SAP are utilizing the SUSE Appliance Program to create software appliances," Dorfman said. "However, the details of each agreement have been customized to fit the needs of each partner."
Dorfman noted that in his view the Novell SUSE Appliance Program is a significant differentiator for Novell against Red Hat and others. Novell itself is currently undergoing a period of transition and is set to be acquired by privately held Attachmate for $2.2 billion.
"Going forward, you should expect to see more ISVs and OEMs join the program and begin offering appliances across their product lines," Dorfman said. "As more ISVs join and begin offering their application as preconfigured appliances, we're starting to see more recognition and pull from end-user customers. Educating the market about the benefits of software appliances will be a key challenge in 2011. "