VMware and Novell have made Suse Linux Enterprise Server available free of charge to buyers of VMware vSphere licenses and subscriptions.
On Thursday, the Suse Linux Enterprise Server for VMware offer announced by the companies in June came into force for all purchasers, having been rolled out previously to a few selected customers, according to Novell.
People who buy a license and subscription for VMware's vSphere virtualisation platform will also receive a subscription for patches and updates to Suse Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) instances that can be deployed across vSphere virtual machines at no additional cost. If they want technical support services for Novell's operating system, they can buy these through VMware.
"With Suse Linux Enterprise Server for VMware, both companies intend to provide customers the ability to port their Suse Linux-based workloads across clouds. Such portability will deliver choice and flexibility for VMware vSphere customers and is a significant step forward in delivering the benefits of seamless cloud computing.," the companies said in a statement at the VMworld conference.
The move is part of an effort by the companies to make it easier for businesses to develop virtual appliances based on SLES and to use the operating system with a variety of applications. The push kicked off in February 2009, when Novell and VMware offered a variant of SLES to independent software vendors.
SLES currently can run over 6,000 separate applications and can sit on top of four major hypervisors — the hypervisor in vSphere, Microsoft's Hyper-V, Citrix's Xen and Linux's KVM.
"Suse should be optimised to run at near-native operational performance regardless of the hypervisor," Novell marketing executive Justin Steinman told ZDNet UK. However, he would not clarify whether Novell will tailor the operating system to hypervisors other than VMware's, saying only that the company had no short-term announcements planned.
Steinman did note Novell's 2008 purchase of virtualisation management provider Platespin, which has allowed the company to build portability in SLES so that users "can go from physical to virtual to cloud and back again".