IBM, SuSE Form Linux Services Alliance

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2002-03-27 Print this article Print

IBM and SuSE Linux have joined forces to provide Linux support and services to their combined global client base.

IBM and SuSE Linux have joined forces to provide Linux support and services to their combined global client base. "In the past we have had development relationships with SuSE to build distributions to run across our eServer line. But this is a global services relationship that focuses exclusively on professional services and support items," Peter Neilsen, manager of Linux offerings for IBM Global Services in Austin, Texas, told eWEEK on Tuesday. "It lets us collaborate on customer engagements and supplement each others skills to provide a formidable Linux services delivery capability for corporate customers." In essence, the deal allows IBM and SuSE, which is headquartered in Nuremberg, Germany, to use one anothers staff as subcontractors in professional services engagements.
The alliance gives SuSE access to IBMs scale and relationships with enterprise customers, while IBM gains access to SuSEs product skills. The alliance also offers maintenance and support.
IBM will package and support turnkey implementations of SuSE Linux Enterprise Server, which will be backed by SuSEs development, maintenance and support teams, Neilsen said. Although IBM will also act as "a kind of reseller" of SuSEs enterprise server product, "we are not a distributor, but we will be helping them in this regard," Neilsen said. While this is the first time IBM Global Services has used this comprehensive alliance agreement model with one of its Linux distribution partners, the company hopes to roll out similar agreements with other Linux distributors and is talking to some in that regard, he said, declining to give specific details. "Were interested in relationships with any Linux services company that our customers are engaging with. Partnerships are very important to the success of the Linux environment," Neilsen said. But Big Blue will not be using SuSE expertise for all its Linux-related solution problems and implementations. If an IBM customer has a problem with a non-SuSE solution, "we will find that specific resource in the industry. SuSE will not be our only resource for Linux-related matters," an IBM spokesman confirmed. Gerhard Burtscher, the CEO of SuSE Linux, said the alliance is a major step to making Linux corporate computing a reality. IBMs Neilsen agreed, saying the deal with SuSE is an important step in accelerating the adoption of Linux in the enterprise and that IBM expects this to be a "breakout year" for Linux.
Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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