Microsoft, SUSE Renew Linux Agreement With $100M Deal

The relationship extends through Jan. 1, 2016, with Microsoft committed to invest $100 million in new SUSE Linux Enterprise certificates.

Microsoft and SUSE have begun preparing the next phase of their cross-platform interoperability story. Microsoft and SUSE, now an independent business unit of Attachmate, announced a four-year extension of the agreement struck nearly five years ago between Microsoft and Novell for broad collaboration on Windows and Linux interoperability and support.

This relationship will extend through Jan. 1, 2016, with Microsoft committed to investing $100 million in new SUSE Linux Enterprise certificates for customers receiving Linux support from SUSE.

"Surveying the progress we have made over the past five years, I expect our technical collaboration specific to cross-platform virtualization and systems management will serve as a critical building block in the very heterogeneous world that exists within today's data center as we strive to help our customers embrace the cloud," Sandy Gupta, general manager of Microsoft's open solutions group, wrote in a blog post. "[The] announcement is a response to sentiments expressed by customers far and wide that Microsoft and SUSE begin crafting the next chapter of the cross-platform interoperability story."

The joint Microsoft-SUSE collaboration has served more than 725 customers worldwide across a range of industries, such as manufacturing, oil and gas, health care and financial services. In addition, through this alliance, SUSE enables customers to consolidate their Linux support by offering subscription support for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and community Linux distributions such as CentOS.

"As one of the largest banking corporations in Spain, we offer our clients a broad portfolio of financial products and services," Fernando Martinez, infrastructure manager at BBVA Bank, said in a statement. "In an operational environment this dynamic and stratified, the personnel, teamwork, ethical principles and technology define the backbone of our business. We rely on the SUSE Expanded Support Program to migrate part of our IT operations to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, as it supports our objectives for greater interoperability for our Windows and Linux systems."

Microsoft and SUSE officials said they would continue their technical collaboration on solutions to help customers work more efficiently in the areas of cloud, virtualization and manageability. One such example is through the combination of a cross-platform solution with Microsoft Hyper-V Cloud and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, giving IT managers a solution to migrate to a private-cloud architecture. The companies also plan to extend Microsoft System Center through integration with SUSE Manager and select technologies to enhance Linux deployment, patching and updating.

"The Microsoft-SUSE expanded support program has helped a number of our customers standardize on SUSE as an optimized guest on Hyper-V, as well as provide a highly cost-effective support program for non-SUSE distributions, including Red Hat," said James Largotta, global vice president of sales for BridgeWays, an independent software vendor that develops management packs to extend the cross-platform capabilities of Microsoft System Center. "Because of this, we find the interoperability partnership between Microsoft and SUSE to be highly complementary to the work we do, especially with the emergence of the private cloud."

A joint Microsoft-SUSE press statement said as this collaboration moves forward, the two companies will continue to offer the "highest levels" of interoperability and assurance that both companies stand behind their solutions. Microsoft's Gupta said he has met directly with a number of IT executives around the world over the past 12 months who have spoken highly of the solutions they have delivered jointly with SUSE to their organizations that address priority problems - whether it be different workloads such as HPC, solutions for virtualization, and/or management within a heterogeneous data center environment.