Dell joins Microsoft/Novell server alliance

8 May 2007

Dell has become the first major computer manufacturer to join the business collaboration on open source that was formed by Microsoft and Novell in response to customer demand for greater interoperability and intellectual property (IP) assurance around Linux server technologies.

As part of the agreement, Dell will purchase SUSE Linux Enterprise Server certificates from Microsoft and establish a services and marketing programme to migrate existing Linux users who are not Dell Linux customers to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

“We’re focused on delivering solutions that help simplify customers IT operations,” said Rick Becker, vice-president of solutions at Dell Product Group. “Our customers have told us they want interoperability and expect technology vendors to work better together.”

Under the agreement, Dell will establish a customer marketing team for migrating Linux users who are not Dell Linux customers to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. The marketing effort will focus on three areas: interoperability workshops, migration proof of concepts and migration services.

“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.

Last November longtime sparring partners Microsoft and Novell joined forces in an agreement to make Windows and Linux operating systems work together better.

The collaboration agreement is set to run until 2012 and includes both technology and business elements, with the companies intending to build, market and support “a series of new solutions” to make their existing products more compatible.

The move is a significant milestone in bridging the gap between proprietary software — as represented by Microsoft –and the open source model, which Novell has championed for some time, particularly since its acquisition of SUSE Linux three years ago.

“The Microsoft-Novell agreement was a result of our customers demanding more of our industry in interoperability and IP protection,” said Susan Hauser, general manager of strategic partnerships and licensing at Microsoft.

“Customer response to our agreement with Novell has been overwhelmingly positive. Dell has recognised this demand, and it is the first mover in its space to provide these benefits to its customers,” Hauser said.

By John Kennedy