SUSE is expanding the support on its flagship Linux distribution from 10 years to 13 years. The enterprise Linux vendor is also expanding its partnership efforts with Microsoft as well as its ecosystem efforts to improve Linux drivers.
Nils Brauckmann, president and general manager for SUSE, announced the new longer-term support for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) during the SUSECon event held this week in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. During the event, Brauckmann announced the support term extension for SLES 11, which had previously been seven years of standard support, with an additional three years of extended support. SLES 11 will now have 10 years of standard support, with three years of extended support for customers who pay for the extra support. SUSE calls the extra three years of support Long Term Service Pack Support (LTSS).
SUSE last extended its support term length in 2011 for its SLES 10 release, offering a total of 10 years including the LTSS. Rival Linux vendor Red Hat has been providing its customers with 10 years of standard support since the beginning of 2012.
Brauckmann noted during his SUSECon address that SUSE now has more than 19,000 active customers with paid subscriptions to SUSE services, up from 15,000 a year ago. He added that in its last fiscal year, SUSE generated $230 million in revenue and is now a profitable company.
One of the continued drivers for SUSE's growth is its partnership efforts, in particular, its multiyear partnership with Microsoft. Microsoft entered into a landmark partnership deal with SUSE's predecessor company Novell in 2006. Novell was acquired by Attachmate in 2011 for $2.2 billion, and SUSE is now being run as a stand-alone business.
As has been the case since 2006, Microsoft resells SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Dobrin Dobrev, product manager at SUSE, told eWEEK. Following the acquisition of Novell by Attachmate, Microsoft reaffirmed its commitment to SUSE, extending the relationship through 2016. Part of that partnership extension included a $100 million investment from Microsoft used to acquire SUSE Linux Enterprise certificates for customer support.
This week at SUSECon, SUSE extended its relationship with Microsoft with a new management pack for Microsoft's System Center, enabling System Center users to more effectively manage SUSE Linux Enterprise Server deployments. The management pack brings to general availability a beta that was started last year, according to Dobrev.
SUSE is also aiming to expand its partner ecosystem with the relaunch of its Linux driver initiative, formerly known as the Partner Linux Driver Program and now being rebranded as SolidDriver.
Scott Bahling, senior manager of technology accounts at SUSE, explained to eWEEK that the SolidDriver is not about getting drivers into Linux.
"The program is about 'packaging' and 'delivering' those drivers in the most compatible and comfortable way for customers to deploy on SUSE Linux Enterprise," Bahling said. "Most important, it's about standardization and tight integration with SUSE Linux Enterprise installation processes."
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.