Microsoft and Novell celebrated the third year of their interoperability agreement at an event taking place at the Society for Information Management, SIMposium09, conference in Seattle on Nov. 9.
Microsoft and Novell celebrated the third year of their
interoperability agreement at an event taking place at the Society for
Information Management, SIMposium09
, conference in Seattle on Nov. 9.
Indeed, three years after Microsoft and Novell first signed their
groundbreaking interoperability collaboration agreement, more than 475
customers have successfully future-proofed their Windows and Linux IT
operations by helping ensure business continuity, minimize risk and
optimize mixed-source infrastructure, said Susan Heystee, vice
president and general manager for Strategic Alliances at Novell.
And the companies said more than 20 of these new joint customers
have signed up for a subscription service launched a year ago by
Novell. The service provides expanded support, and for customers
running other Linux distributions, including Red Hat Enterprise Linux,
the support subscriptions qualify them for intellectual property (IP)
peace of mind from Microsoft, while they transition to SUSE Linux
Enterprise Server from Novell.
"We've grown the number of customers by 58 percent," Heystee said in
an interview with eWEEK. She said the two companies have focused on
three primary areas: eliminating business constraints by expanding
support, mitigating risk and enhancing interoperability solutions.
"Forward-thinking companies are realizing the benefits of an
interoperability collaboration designed to address the mixed-source
realities we're facing today and will continue to face tomorrow," said
Ted MacLean, general manager for Strategic Partnerships and Licensing
at Microsoft, in a statement. "Over the past three years, we have
demonstrated our interoperability dedication time and again through the
delivery of cross-platform technical solutions that carry the benefits
of IP peace of mind. These solutions, coupled with Novell's proven
technical support programs, make it easier than ever for our customers
to have confidence that their existing infrastructure investments will
serve them well into the future."
Business continuity was cited as a key factor for customers signing
up for Novell's new SUSE Linux Enterprise Server with Expanded Support
service subscription. Novell extended its offerings through its
collaboration agreement with Microsoft last year to help ensure that
those using Red Hat or unsupported distributions of Linux also could
benefit. With this offering, customers can elect to receive support for
their existing operations for up to three years, and as part of this
support, receive the IP peace of mind provided by Microsoft.
"Novell's enterprise-grade Linux systems support offerings give IT
executives immediate flexibility and control over their disparate Linux
distributions without sacrifice," Heystee said in a statement. "In
addition to support for legacy systems, we have also seen a growing
number of organizations opt to use our Expanded Support service to help
them press forward with plans to consolidate their Linux-based
operations from Red Hat and other distributions onto SUSE Linux
MoneyGram International Inc., which provides money transfer and bill
payment services across a global agent network spanning 190 countries
and territories, is one of more than 20 companies that have taken this
step, MacLean told eWEEK. "When we chose to migrate from Red Hat to
Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES), we were looking for a
highly available solution that would help minimize and ideally
eliminate service interruptions, reduce maintenance and licensing
costs, utilize our Windows Server investments, and make it possible to
support growing business demands," said Paul Boespflug, senior manager
of technology services for MoneyGram International, in a statement. "As
a result of standardizing our Linux infrastructure, and leveraging the
Expanded Support offering from Novell, our systems are more cohesive,
and we have been able to realize immediate cost reductions and improve
our system reliability and stability."
Greg Lamm, director of information technology at Connexion
Technologies, which is a customer of both Novell and Microsoft, said
the biggest benefit he has seen from the Novell/Microsoft collaborative
agreement is "we've seen some really great support from both Novell and
Microsoft on this. And we've been able to combine that support into one
offering. So there's no finger pointing back and forth."
Connexion Technologies designs, builds, rents and operates Fiber to
the Home (FTTH) networks in residential properties throughout the U.S.,
Lamm said. Connexion Technologies migrated from unsupported Linux to
Novell SLES on the back end to simplify support and improve the
resilience of its IT infrastructure to meet the demands of its rapidly
expanding business, he said.
"We've seen some nice momentum in the context of a challenging
economic environment," MacLean said. "And we've taken advantage of
opportunities to help customers take out cost and run more efficient
As of the end of Novell's third fiscal quarter, which ended July 31,
2009, the two companies have sold $226 million in certificates for
Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server support and maintenance.
Through the Microsoft and Novell Joint Interoperability Lab in
Cambridge, Mass., engineers from both companies have been working side
by side to create technical solutions that help address customer
challenges related to the complexity of managing and administering
"For customers considering a dual-platform strategy with Windows
Server and a widely used Linux server product, they will come to
realize that the interoperability between Microsoft and Novell
platforms helps offer a clear advantage in cost reduction," said Wang
Lei, project manager, China Telecom Ningxia Branch, in a statement. "As
a long-standing customer of Microsoft using Windows Server, we require
optimized virtualization solutions and the ability to expand the
capacity of our system administration. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server
from Novell is an ideal choice for the Linux systems we operate and
Chris Voce, an analyst with Forrester Research, said, "From a
Microsoft perspective we've seem a climate shift over the last couple
of years from a combative stance against open source to more of a
stance of 'coopetition.'"
Voce also noted that although the Novell/Microsoft agreement was
initially viewed with skepticism by many observers, the deal later
gained a level of acceptance "because there is some real, clear benefit
for customers there," he said.