As the other Linux provider, Novell goes to great lengths to differentiate its offering from rival Red Hat.
The company's expansive version 11 platform is no exception, and is said to promise unique advances in virtualization, management, interoperability, high availability and desktop computing.
Version 11, for instance, incorporates the latest Xen 3.3 hypervisor and is optimized to run at "near native" performance on all leading hypervisors, including VMware ESX, Microsoft Hyper-V and Xen. Rival Red Hat has opted to support the KVM hypervisor rather than Xen over the long term.
Novell also plans to deliver in April the SUSE Linux Enterprise JeOS (Just enough Operating System) which will give ISVs the core operating system components necessary to build virtual appliances.
Novell's tight relationship with Microsoft also gives SUSE 11 users unique advantages for application support not offered on Red Hat Linux, Novell maintains.
As part of its version 11 rollout today, Novell introduced a new Mono extension for version 11 that allows customers to run .NET applications on Linux -- including on IBM System z mainframes -- without recompiling the application. Novell maintains it is the only Linux provider to offer the latter for companies opting to consolidate workloads on IBM's z mainframes.
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 and Desktop 11 as well as the SUSE Linux Enterprise Mono Extension are available today, the Waltham, Mass. company has announced.
Novell claims it has designed SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 to "work seamlessly with Microsoft Windows in the areas of cross-platform virtualization, systems management, identity/directory federation, document compatibility, Moonlight (Microsoft Silverlight on Linux) and desktop accessibility for the disabled."
SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11 features, for instance, new support for Silverlight (Microsoft's competitor to Flash), "the ability to play Windows multimedia file formats and the latest version of OpenOffice.org Novell Edition that supports a range of Microsoft Office file formats," the company said.
The SUSE desktop is loaded on select HP and Dell systems today and Novell hinted that it will be loaded on many more systems with the release of v. 11.
"Currently, customers deploying Linux desktops have been able to obtain SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop preloaded from leading hardware vendors, including Dell and HP. With SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11, Novell will continue to bring desktop Linux ubiquity to the market across a variety of devices, including desktops, notebooks, netbooks, nettops and thin clients," the company stated in a release issued today.
Novell also announced two other products -- the Novell ZENworks Linux Management 7.3 and SUSE Linux Enterprise High Availability Extension -- to enhance management and high availability support for version 11.
Zenworks Linux management 7.5 brings policy-driven automation to SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 and is available today.
The High Availability Extension is a clustering product that ensures uptime for mission-critical applications and will be available in April, the company said.
And more. "SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 also supports swap over the NFS (Network File System) protocol to leverage remote storage for local server needs and avoid costly application downtime," the company announced. "In addition, SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 provides the fastest package update stack of any enterprise Linux distribution, with new technologies to automate and accelerate installing, removing, upgrading and configuring software packages."
Later this year, Novell said it will release updates to SUSE Linux Enterprise Point of Service, SUSE Linux Enterprise Real Time Extension and SUSE Linux Enterprise Thin Client.
Partners SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 will be supported by Novell's global strategic partners including Cisco, Dell, Fujitsu Siemens Computers, HP, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, NEC, Oracle and SAP AG.
Additionally, SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 will be certified and supported in Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud to ease deployment of applications to the cloud, Novell announced.
"Novell is collaborating with IBM to deliver SUSE Linux Enterprise 11-based virtual instances of IBM DB2, Informix Dynamic Server, WebSphere sMash, IBM Lotus Web Content Management and IBM WebSphere Portal instances for cloud environments."