Novell, VMware push virtual appliances on Suse Linux

A new partnership aims to help software companies develop Suse Linux Enterprise-based virtual appliances that are tailored to VMware's ESX platform

Novell and VMware have teamed up to work with software makers to develop virtual appliances based on Suse Linux Enterprise, the companies announced at the VMworld Europe 2009 conference in Cannes.

As part of the agreement, independent software vendors using VMware Studio to create virtual appliances for VMware's ESX hypervisor are being offered a "free evaluation redistribution of appliances" built on the Suse Linux Enterprise operating system, Novell and VMware said in a statement on Tuesday.

In addition, the partners are helping third-party vendors to build Suse Linux Enterprise-based virtual appliances under the VMware Ready scheme, aimed at spurring the creation of VMware-friendly virtual appliances that can be put to use with little installation and configuration.

Novell and VMware also announced another collaboration agreement on Tuesday. Novell said its Suse Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) will also become a "fully-supported and optimised" guest operating system for VMware's ESX virtualisation platform.

VMware's vice president of alliances, Parag Patel, said in the statement that the companies expected their collaboration to "yield increasing value… as more and more customers seek to achieve full virtualisation, including mission-critical applications such as SAP".

The extension of the alliance between VMware and Novell follows announcements of collaborative moves as companies try to position themselves in the growing virtualisation market. Last week, Microsoft and Red Hat said they intend to make sure their separate virtualisation software products will work smoothly together, while VMware on Tuesday announced a new client hypervisor collaboration with Intel. VMware is the leader in the global virtualisation market.

Novell and VMware also announced at VMworld that on 18 March, they will launch a further collaboration with SAP to help the enterprise software company's customers migrate from Unix to VMware-virtualised Suse Linux Enterprise.

Also on Tuesday, VMware and Fujitsu Siemens said they are teaming up to offer a new version of FlexFrame for SAP. The product integrates VMware Infrastructure physical and virtual datacentre infrastructure, virtualised network and storage components and "comprehensive services" into one package.

FlexFrame for SAP, which is available immediately, provides various quality-of-service features. These include a tool to monitor SAP application components and another to automatically restart applications on any available virtual or physical system if there is a hardware failure.