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January 27, 2010
Novell turned some heads in 2009 with SUSE Studio — a tool for building SUSE Linux application appliances. Now, Novell is back for an encore — this time with SUSE Appliance Toolkit, which is designed to help ease the development, deployment and management of software appliances. Here are the implications for solutions providers.
First, a little background. The VAR Guy’s blog team spent much of 2008 calling on Novell to enhance its SUSE Linux ISV (independent software vendor) strategy. After all, broad application support is the secret to operating system success. Just ask Microsoft, Apple or Red Hat.
Novell bolstered its ISV strategy in 2009 by launching SUSE Studio — which attracted plenty of ISVs. Now Novell is back with the SUSE Appliance Toolkit, an onsite version of SUSE Studio, plus plenty more. According to Novell, SUSE Appliance Toolkit is for “building, testing, updating and configuring software appliances across physical, virtual and cloud environments.” It’s combined with new management tools that allegedly let ISVs and enterprises slice their development time, reduce installation cycles and cut down on all the maintenance costs.
ComputerWorld notes that the toolkit costs $100,000 for enterprises but is free for ISVs, who would build a business model around Suse Enterprise Linux. For VARs that want to become ISVs, that free offer could be tempting.
Here are details from a white paper on what the SUSE Appliance Toolkit includes:
SUSE Studio Onsite, a local, behind the firewall version of the online appliance creation tool, SUSE Studio Online. Since its July release, SUSE Studio has built more than 250,000 appliances and has nearly 55,000 registered users worldwide. SUSE Studio Onsite provides the same configuration, easy to use interface and integrated testing features that make SUSE Studio Online popular, but will provide them on a server hosted within an ISV’s data center.
WebYaST, a tool for enabling remote, Web-based configuration of the SUSE Linux Enterprise.
SUSE Lifecycle Management Server, a tool for authentication, entitlement and access control that makes it easier to distribute software patches and updates.
Support for KIWI, the image creation tool behind SUSE Studio. KIWI is a command line tool for creating appliances.
Will SUSE Appliance Toolkit work as advertised? We can’t say for sure. But Novell’s ISV efforts seem to be gaining momentum.
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