Novell SUSE Linux 11 to Run Microsoft .Net Applications
Novell officially shipped SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 today. The really interesting part of the story involves two related projects — called Mono and Just enough Operating System (JeOS). Indeed, Mono and JeOS could give SUSE Linux 11 a lift with software developers, Microsoft .Net customers and partners, The VAR Guy believes. Here’s the scoop.
First, some basic information. The SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 product family includes a long list of targeted operating systems — desktop, server and so on (see the complete list from Novell here).
Also of note: Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 launch comes one day before Red Hat is expected to announce quarterly results. Interesting timing, to say the least.
But The VAR Guy is fixated on two key items:
- SUSE Linux Enterprise Mono Extension, which allegedly allows customers to run Microsoft .NET-based applications on Linux.
- SUSE Linux Enterprise JeOS (Just enough Operating System). Novell says JeOS and a suite of tools allow ISVs to develop virtual software alliances using only the SUSE Linux pieces they need.
Calling All Partners
With Mono and JeOS, Novell potentially changes the rules of the ISV game — or at least gives ISVs some new options to consider.
The VAR Guy has long criticized Novell for having hit-and-miss relationships with ISVs — especially open source ISVs like MySQL and SugarCRM, which tend to work more closely with Red Hat.
Assuming Mono works as advertised, Novell opens up SUSE Linux to a new, different crowd by appealing to Microsoft .Net ISVs and Microsoft’s massive installed base of application customers. It’s hard to argue with the strategy.
Meanwhile, JeOS potentially helps SUSE Linux catch on with ISVs that are virtualizing applications on-premise and across a range of cloud services. (Novell also notes that SUSE Linux supports VMware ESX, Microsoft Hyper-V and Xen virtualization.)
Admittedly, the growing ISV strategy hinges on whether Mono and JeOS work as advertised. Also, The VAR Guy needs to determine whether Novell’s strategy really is unique. He’s pinged Red Hat and Canonical for their counterpoint views.
Partners, Partners, Partners
In an interesting twist, the SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 press release talks as much about partners as it does about technology. That’s refreshing. Assuming this is more than lip service, Novell really is learning how to walk again in the channel and with partners.
Consider the following tidbits:
- Novell points to Cisco, Dell, Fujitsu Siemens Computers, HP, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, NEC, Oracle and SAP AG as key partners.
- At long last, Novell is talking about ISVs other than SAP and Microsoft. Today’s announcement and Novell’s ongoing promotional efforts will increasingly highlight lesser-known ISVs that are growing up with SUSE Linux.
And yes, there’s a desktop story in all this. Novell says:
“With SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11, Novell will continue to bring desktop Linux ubiquity to the market across a variety of devices, including desktops, notebooks, netbooks, nettops and thin clients.”
Novell will hand out a few of those SUSE Linux netbooks during an upcoming educational road show for IT managers and partners.
The VAR Guy sounds pretty upbeat on SUSE Linux Enterprise 11. But considerable challenges remain.
Most folks can’t tell you how Novell’s various products — Linux and non-Linux — fit together. Novell is finally starting to share that story, stating that SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 is part of a “comprehensive set of solutions for identity, security and systems management.”
Those are simple words, but demonstrating that integration in the market is the real challenge.
Even The VAR Guy has some skepticism. When Red Hat announces quarterly results on March 25, it should provide more clues about the head-to-head competition between Red Hat and Novell. The VAR Guy expects Red Hat to show better across-the-board growth than Novell.
Just last week, Red Hat said nearly 40,000 professionals are certified on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). The VAR Guy has to concede: He’s not sure how many folks are certified on SUSE Linux. He’s checking with Novell, but suspects the number is significantly lower than Red Hat’s number.