Dell Joins Microsoft-Novell Alliance
Dell has become the first hardware maker to join Microsoft and Novell in their
effort to enhance interoperability between the Windows and Linux platforms.
As part of the agreement announced Sunday, Dell will buy SuSE Linux Enterprise
Server certificates from Microsoft and push non-Dell Linux customers to the
SuSE implementation of the open source Linux operating system.
The agreement states that Dell will form a marketing team to drive the effort,
using three key elements: interoperability workshops, migration proofs-of-concept
and migration services.
An interesting aspect of the agreement is that Dell already offers a Linux
choice on its servers, but it's a chief competitor to SuSE: Red Hat Linux. Dell,
however, may have been influenced by the initial success of the Microsoft-Novell
partnership; since the initial
announcement of the partnership in November, more than 40,000 new certificates
for SuSE Linux Enterprise Server support have been activated, according to a
Microsoft press release. That's more than half of the original allotment of
75,000 SuSE Linux Enterprise Server certificates Microsoft obtained as part
of the deal with Novell.
That initial announcement of the Microsoft-Novell partnership shocked much
of the IT world, as Microsoft and the Linux community have always been antagonistic,
and at times at open warfare with each other. The deal between the companies
was meant to smooth interoperability and manageability in heterogeneous environments
that relied on both Windows and Linux. The cooperation extended to four main
areas necessary for successful collaboration: virtualization, Web services management,
document compatibility and directory and identity federation.
"Dell's embrace of the Novell-Microsoft agreement reflects a growing market
reality: The two platforms of the future are Linux and Windows, and customers
want them to work better together," said Susan Heystee, vice president
and general manager of global strategic alliances at Novell, in the press release.
Dell, despite its rock-solid and extremely profitable relationship with Microsoft,
has been trying for years to make Linux a viable alternative to Windows. It
began selling Linux PCs in 1999, and added laptops a year later. It eventually
abandoned the effort due to poor sales, but just last week, Dell announced that
it will begin offering Linux again on consumer PCs, this
time the Ubuntu distribution.