SUSE has gone through a number of transitions and ownership changes over the past two decades, and it's now changing again, as the Linux vendor re-emerges as an independent vendor.
At the SUSECON 2019 conference in Nashville, Tenn., which ran from April 2-4, SUSE's management and executive teams outlined the vision for the company as it moves forward. SUSE also made a series of product and service announcements, including an updated cloud application platform and optimizations for SAP HANA as well as new Cascade Lake Intel Xeon processors.
"SUSE is now since March 15 a fully independent stand-alone business," Nils Brauckmann, CEO of SUSE, said during his SUSECON keynote. "In fact, we are about to be the largest independent open-source company in this industry, as the red gets slowly sucked into the blue and transcendent purple."
Brauckmann's references to the "red" is about SUSE's longtime and primary rival Red Hat, which is in the process of being acquired by IBM in a $34 billion deal that was announced in October 2018 and is expected to close before the end of 2019.
SUSE knows a thing or two about being acquired as it has changed hands multiple times over the past decade. Novell acquired SUSE for $210 million in November 2003, helping to transform the company into a global brand. In 2011, Novell was acquired by Attachmate in a $2.2 billion deal. Three years later in 2014, Micro Focus acquired Attachmate for $2.35 billion. At the end of 2017, Micro Focus merged with Hewlett Packard Enterprise's software business, and after the HPE merger, Micro Focus' management decided to sell off the SUSE business unit. Finally, private equity group EQT Partner announced in July 2018 that it would take SUSE off Micro Focus' hands in a $2.5 billion deal that closed on March 15, 2019.
"Being an independent business there's really only one agenda left, and that's our own agenda," Brauckmann said. "It's about understanding the needs and the requirements of our customers and business partners and then as a business trying everything that we can do to really meet those requirements."
SUSE is moving forward with multiple new product releases, with a strong focus on cloud innovation. Thomas Di Giacomo (pictured), president of engineering, product and innovation at SUSE, said during his keynote that SUSE OpenStack Cloud 9 is nearing release, marking a major milestone.
In November 2016, HPE sold its Helion OpenStack product portfolio technology to SUSE. Di Giacomo said that with SUSE OpenStack Cloud 9, SUSE is now bringing together the codebase from HPE Helion into the platform to create a unified offering. Among the key improvements in SUSE OpenStack Cloud 9 are enhanced lifecycle management and bare metal compute capabilities.
SUSE is also advancing its cloud-native efforts with the SUSE Cloud Application Platform 1.4 update, which integrates Kubernetes and Cloud Foundry. Kubernetes is a container orchestration platform, while Cloud Foundry provides platform-as-a-service (PaaS) functionality.
"We are releasing SUSE Cloud Application Platform version 1.4, and it comes with a great management platform for IT operators as well where they can see the status of Kubernetes together with the status of the Cloud Foundry applications," Di Giacomo said.
Di Giacomo explained that what SUSE does is it containerizes Cloud Foundry so it can be deployed on top of any Kubernetes cluster. He added that working together with partners including IBM and SAP, SUSE also removed the legacy container scheduler from Cloud Foundry and integrated Kubernetes as the native container approach.
The integration of Cloud Foundry with Kubernetes is about more than just technology for SUSE; it's about enabling better business outcomes by making it easier to manage applications and the infrastructure it needs to run on. As an industry, Di Giacomo said there is now a shift for IT professionals to be more engaged in innovation for the businesses they work for.
"We are playing a much more exciting game than ever before, one that moves focus away from the plumbing and maintenance required to keep IT running, to more creative and strategic elements, working with partners and service providers that we trust to optimize and accelerate our business impact," he said.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.