Through the new partnership, Novell has certified Suse Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) as a guest operating system platform for use within Citrix XenServer -- and along with that, both companies will be able to provide joint technical support to customers running within this configuration. As a result of this agreement, more than 4,500 enterprise applications that are already certified as Novell Ready for SLES will also now be certified as Citrix Ready community-verified when running in an SLES guest virtual machine on Citrix XenServer.
The agreement also allows Citrix to participate in the PlateSpin Recon for Assessment Program. This gives Citrix services and Citrix channel partners the ability to offer customers virtualization, server consolidation, and cloud readiness assessments using Novell's toolset acquired from PlateSpin. The PlateSpin Recon tool provides consolidation planning and capacity management and gives customers a view of their physical and virtual infrastructure. Providing this type of information is needed in order to accelerate the move to virtualization.
This new partnership agreement rasies a host of questions for Novell's virtualization approach. Which way does the virtual wind blow for Novell -- is the company's focus on Xen? And if so, what does that mean for KVM? After all, we recently heard about Novell participating in a new open source KVM project, AlacrityVM. And didn't Novell also announce a preview of KVM support in SLES 11? Where does Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware vSphere fit into all of this?
Simon Crosby, Citrix CTO of its Data Center and Cloud Division, doesn't seem a bit confused about Novell's intentions. In fact, he recently blogged that it makes perfect sense for Novell to support both Xen and KVM.Crosby writes:
Novell SUSE Linux is, after all, an enterprise Linux distribution. And KVM is just a kernel.org driver that comes with mainline Linux. So it's logical to expect Novell's customers to be aware of KVM and to expect them to ship and support it -- like any other mainline feature.
Crosby adds that Novell is one of the key contributors to the Xen project and has a seat on the Xen Project Advisory Board. As important as Novell's support is for Xen, perhaps equally important is Novell's support for SLES on Xen. That sentiment seems to tie in well with the recent partnership announcement made between these two companies.
According to Michael Applebaum, a senior member of Novell's marketing team, Novell's virtualization strategy has not changed.
"Novell is pursuing a heterogeneous, multiplatform hypervisor and guest OS approach that gives our customers maximum choice, flexibility, and value," said Applebaum. "This is what our customers want."
Applebaum said that Novell has taken a three-pronged approach to its virtualization strategy, making SLES what Novell calls the "Perfect Guest."
First, the company has optimized the performance of Suse Linux Enterprise for virtual environments. To go along with the company's Perfect Guest strategy, SLES has been optimized for the Xen platform: Novell's Xen platform, Citrix XenServer, and others. But the company has also made sure to optimize for KVM, VMware, and Microsoft platforms as well.
Second, Novell is making sure that its customers are fully supported no matter which vendor is chosen. To that end, it has established cooperative support agreements with VMware, Microsoft, and Citrix.
And third, Novell will offer competitive and affordable virtualization pricing. Its pricing policy allows customers to run unlimited guest VMs of Suse Enterprise Linux Server on a single physical system for the price of a single subscription. It doesn't matter which hypervisor platform you choose.
"Novell's commitment to interoperability, customer choice, and value are fully apparent in our virtualization strategy, partnerships, and offerings," said Applebaum. "No matter what a customer's current environment or future plans, we offer solutions that fit into their enterprise and complement and extend their existing investments."