Novell’s Next SUSE Linux Appliance Move: Enterprises
Novell’s SUSE Linux software appliance strategy has attracted key partners — including GroundWork Open Source, Ingres and Zmanda — to the SUSE party. Next up, Novell will turn its SUSE Linux attention to enterprise developers, according to Novell Channel Chief John Dragoon (pictured). Here’s why.
First, a little background: From the early days of NetWare to the recent SUSE Linux push, Novell has struggled quite a bit with ISV (independent software vendor) relations. Novell began a top-down review of its ISV programs about three years ago and the progress is impressive. CEO Ron Hovsepian says more than 5,000 ISVs now back SUSE Linux, up from about 400 ISVs three years ago.
Next up, Novell in mid-2009 launched the SUSE Studio and SUSE Appliance toolkit. The concept: Help ISVs to build software appliances that channel partners and customers can quickly deploy. Here again, Novell is showing progress: From July to November 2009, Novell says 43,000 users had signed up for SUSE Studio and there were roughly 11,000 to 14,000 builds per week.
At this week’s BrainShare conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, nearly a dozen SUSE Linux appliance builders were on hand to show off their applications. Novell also attracted executive attention: Groundwork Open Source CEO Peter Jackson, Ingres CEO Roger Burkhardt and Zmanda CEO Chander Kant were on hand for a video recording with Novell’s Dragoon. The conversation, which included Nine Lives Media Inc.‘s Joe Panettieri (how’d he get an invite?), is expected to go viral across numerous video web sites in a few days.
By bringing smaller ISVs into the SUSE market, Novell has successfully pushed its partner conversation beyond old reliables like IBM and SAP. Smart move.
Calling Enterprise Developers
No doubt, Novell will continue reaching out to ISVs. But Novell will also try to pull enterprise software developers toward SUSE Appliances, according to Dragoon. The effort, The VAR Guy believes, will start sometime in the second half of 2010 — or perhaps sooner.
Consider this: Big Wall Street firms, insurance firms and massive service providers continue to develop and manage their own internal applications. Novell believes those audiences are primed for SUSE Appliances, because the appliance approach simplifies operating system, middleware and application management, asserts Dragoon.
Sounds promising. But Novell’s work isn’t done. Some pundits on Wall Street remain preoccupied with potential takeover talk involving Elliott Associates (a hedge fund) and Novell. And key rival Red Hat continues to enjoy mind share and market share advantages over Novell.
Still, the SUSE Appliance efforts seems to be a key victory for Novell’s ISV efforts. And now that initiative is set to focus on enterprise developers as well.