Novell Alliance Builds Microsoft’s Interop Muscle

Siemens and BMW are the latest enterprise-scale customers stepping up to the Microsoft-Novell alliance plate.

Under the Microsoft-Novell alliance, business customers pay Microsoft for certificates that get them Novell Suse Linux and services.

Microsoft and Novell are teaming up to maximize interoperability between their systems, which in the end benefits the customer, the companies said. Underlying the deal, however, is the agreement that neither party would sue clients of the other for patent infringement, a provision that upset the open source community.

Siemens, Suse, SAP

That Siemens should be working with Suse Linux is hardly news. Siemens was one of the early class-act success stories of Linux. After a proof of concept some years ago, Siemens’ senior-level engineers and managers began speaking enthusiastically about the engineering ease of moving from Unix to Suse Linux, of Linux flexibility in adapting to Siemens’ customers’ needs, and of Linux showing proven compatibility with SAP applications.

Opposing camps in the open source community do not favor the Microsoft-Novell alliance, however, a fact not lost on Novell.

Redmond Realities

“No doubt, there is a part of the open source community that is vocally opposed to the agreement,” Joshua Dorfman, Novell senior product marketing manager, Linux and open platforms, told LinuxInsider. Others, he said, see the agreement as key to the future of Linux. “Microsoft is a reality in the market, and if we want Linux to succeed, it has to work alongside Microsoft.”

Under the agreements, Microsoft will deliver certificates for three-year support subscriptions to Suse Linux Enterprise Server. Meeting the realities of corporate customers has become a Novell mantra.

Interoperability Tops

“Interoperability remains one of the top challenges for our customers, and through our current alliance with Microsoft we are providing solutions to meet this challenge,” said Susan Heystee, vice president and general manager of global strategic alliances for Novell, in her company’s announcement.

Interoperability as a solution is profitable for Novell, Dorfman said.

“We have signed several large Linux customers thanks to the agreement, including Wal-Mart, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, AIG, HSBC. Our announcement today with BMW and Siemens is further proof that IT buyers are excited that we are working with Microsoft to solve end-user needs.”

Bridging the Gap

Beyond Novell, “bridging the gap between Linux and the Windows world” was good for the community at large, Dorfman said.

BMW and Siemens are to run a combination of Linux and Microsoft Windows. At BMW, the two operating systems support BMW’s data center approach for corporate computing services, human resources, marketing, and financial applications.

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