As Novell’s Markus Rex prepares to deliver his keynote at LinuxCon next week, he took a few minutes to share with us Novell’s latest work on its Linux and open source efforts as well as his predictions for 2010 milestones. Rex is Senior VP and General Manager of Open Platform Solutions at Novell.
See Rex speak next week at LinuxCon specifically about “tomorrow’s Linux workloads” – – Wednesday, August 11, at 9 a.m. ET.
Earlier this year, Novell announced that 5000 ISVs are certified for SUSE Linux Enterprise. What is attracting ISVs to the platform?
Rex: ISVs are attracted to SUSE Linux Enterprise for a number of reasons. As Linux has entered the mainstream, the breadth and depth of application support for SUSE Linux Enterprise makes it the logical choice for end users who require flexibility and versatility to deploy a variety of applications and workloads on different hardware and across virtual and cloud infrastructures.
Novell is deeply committed to enabling ISVs to deliver the applications most in demand by their customers. We have focused on creating the industry’s strongest Linux application ecosystem and developing new tools and programs to support ISVs. Our most well-known ISV program is the SUSE Appliance Program, a comprehensive business and technology program that helps ISVs rapidly build, test, sell and manage software appliances. This includes SUSE Studio, the easiest and fastest way to build software appliances for physical, virtual or cloud deployment.
Other programs for ISVs include the SUSE Cloud Program, which allows ISVs to offer a wide range of software on reliable, fully-supported enterprise Linux platform, backed by flexible, pay-as-you-go pricing. Additionally, partnerships with leading technology vendors means SUSE Linux Enterprise Server works with a wide variety of hardware and software, making it ideal for today’s heterogeneous IT environments.
How are your enterprise customers using Linux today? Are cloud computing and virtualization driving deployments? Tell us about some of your recent news announcements in this area.
Rex: We see Linux as one of the technologies that will bring the potential of cloud computing and virtualization closer to reality. We continue to engage with our customers around these new markets and we are increasingly seeing them deploy critical business services in virtual and cloud environments.
Linux serves as one of the foundations of our strategy to become the leader in Intelligent Workload Management, bolstered by our security and systems management capabilities. Recently, we announced partnerships with Vodacom and Fujitsu, both of whom are partnering with Novell to use SUSE Linux Enterprise to deliver their cloud solutions.
Our SUSE Appliance Program with our appliance building solution, SUSE Studio, is the fastest way for ISVs and enterprises to build virtual appliances and extend their applications to the cloud. More than 4,500 ISVs are members of the SUSE Appliance Program, including IBM, Adobe, GroundWork Open Source and Ingres.
For virtualization, customers are choosing SUSE Linux Enterprise due to its optimized support for the all hypervisors, allowing near-native performance in almost any virtual environment. We have announced an extension of our existing partnership with VMware, where VMware will deliver and support SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for VMware vSphere environments. This aligns with our “perfect guest” strategy of optimizing SUSE Linux Enterprise the leading virtualization platforms.
This year represents the 10-year anniversary of Linux on the mainframe. What’s the significance of this milestone and how have things changed over the decade?
Rex: In early 2000, IBM, based on client demand, expanded use of open source software and enabled Linux to run on IBM mainframe computers. With the mainframe’s reliability, availability and serviceability coupled with a suite of robust virtualization capabilities, customers saw the mainframe as an ideal platform on which to run multiple Linux servers to make more efficient use of their computing resources. This combination of Linux on System z is now an outstanding platform to support cloud computing as well.
Today, Novell dominates the Linux for mainframe market with 80 percent market share. Novell is the only OS vendor to support Linux on IBM mainframe servers for its entire 10-year history and continues to capture market share with new customers and channel partners.
Over the past 10 years we have seen many changes. The Linux for mainframe market has grown with customers using the technology for a wide variety of mission-critical computing needs. Linux and IFL processors have allowed the mainframe to offer a much lower cost of acquisition. The number of supported applications has also changed dramatically over the past decade. More than 1,000 certified third-party commercial applications are available in Novell’s ISV catalog for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for System z including applications from Chordiant Software, IBM Cognos, IBM DB2, IBM WebSphere, IBM Tivoli and SAP.
Can you give us a Linux industry prediction for this year? What Linux milestone will we see by the end of 2010?
Rex: My prediction for 2010 is more Linux, more Linux, more Linux. We will see the continued march of the penguin as Linux becomes the de facto operating system across a wide range of technologies. Today, Linux can be found in almost every data center and is making progress across a wide range of consumer technologies, including smartphones, netbooks and car entertainment systems. Linux has expanded its ecosystem and is now being deployed in a variety of different environments, including physical, virtual and cloud.
You have been very involved with the Linux Standard Base, even spending time as a fellow at The Linux Foundation. Can you give us a brief update on the standard and what the workgroup is focused on today?
Rex: It’s all about not limiting product potential. More than ever, customers want simplicity, flexibility and choice. Yet it’s these wants that typically equate to application developer headaches with complexity, platform-specific customization and configuration, as well as increased testing matrixes and support. This is the very thing that drives the LSB team to continue evolving the standard.
Their mission is to lower the overall cost of supporting the Linux platform. Having delivered the new tool sets and test coverage as LSB 4.0 last year, the LSB team is now working towards a maintenance update release later this year. The update will provide additional test coverage, additional library support and broader platform support. With all the major Linux distributions being LSB certified, including SUSE Linux Enterprise 11, developing and supporting applications on Linux across today’s and tomorrow’s platforms becomes a very compelling proposition.