I recently had the opportunity to catch up with SUSE, where things are now settling downfollowing the Attachmate acquisition of the Linux vendor's parent, Novell, last spring.
Under Attachmate, SUSE and Novell are now operating as separate business units, an arrangement that appears to be sharpening SUSE's focus. On the server side, the company is gearing up for a second major update to its SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11, with features aimed at converting Solaris shops to SLES.
The Unix conversion strategy is a page out of Red Hat's playbook, and SUSE believes that its partnerships with Microsoft, which was recently renewed, and with VMware, will enhance that game plan. Client-side, it appears that SUSE is paying attention to Red Hat as well, as the company is reevaluating the large investments it's made pushing Linux on the corporate desktop.
Novell's developer tools business around Mono, the open source implementation of Microsoft's .Net, has been ceded to Xamarin, but SUSE intends to continue supporting and selling Mono on the server.
Given SUSE's new focus and existing products and partnerships, I think an opportunity exists for SUSE in VMware's open source Cloud Foundry project (see my Cloud Foundry review), which taps partners to support new language runtimes for the project. A SUSE-led effort to bring Mono-based Web applications to Cloud Foundry would highlight SUSE's stack, and offer .Net shops another alternative to Microsoft's Azure.
During last month's VMworld conference, Red Hat was running a poll on developer preferences for the cloud which pointed to Microsoft's C# as the second most popular language for developers eyeing the cloud. Though Red Hat has a PaaS product of its own, OpenShift, the company is unlikely to add Mono support to its mix.
I raised the issue with SUSE during my briefing, but the company would only promise more PaaS news to come around next month's Brainshare.