SUSE: More than Linux

SUSE is positioning itself as being far more than a Linux provider. It offers open-source solutions for the data center, the edge, and the cloud.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

To the strains of My Kind of Open Source, SUSE wants you to know not just a Linux distributor. While SUSE will never leave its Linux roots, it offers a wide variety of open-source based programs and services for your servers, software-defined data center, the edge and cloud computing.

At the SUSECon keynote in Nashville, Tenn., SUSE CEO Nils Brauckmann emphasised SUSE would soon be the largest independent open-source company. He's saying that because, as IDC open source analyst Al Gillen noted, IBM will soon complete its acquisition of Red Hat.

Gillen tweeted, "To put some perspective around #SUSECON statement of "soon to be" largest "independent" OSS company... execs cite $400M in revenue, biz up Y-Y 15%. Red Hat just finished its FY at +15%, with rev of $3.4B. What IBM does w/Red Hat directly impacts SUSE's future opportunity."

All true, but SUSE is counting on that "independent" part to bring them more customers. Several SUSE executives told me customers are already approaching them because they're not tied to an IBM. Brauckmann sees SUSE future as being an "independent trusted advisor and partner" to open-source and Linux-based businesses around the world.

In an interview, Thomas Di Giacomo, SUSE president of engineering, product, and innovation, said: "SUSE has very successfully delivered enterprise-grade Linux for more than 25 years, and it's only natural that we have expanded to cover the entire range of customer needs for both software-defined infrastructure and application delivery."

More specifically,  "Because our customers have a growing need for computing solutions that span the edge to the core data center to the cloud, SUSE must be able to deploy and manage seamlessly across these computing models, unencumbered by technology boundaries. This follows what we've been doing for the many years with open-source communities and software."

Here's what he's talking about:

First, SUSE will soon be releasing SUSE Cloud Application Platform 1.4. This marries the Cloud Foundry Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) with Kubernetes. It will arrive later in April. It's the first program to  a Cloud Foundry Application Runtime in an entirely Kubernetes-native architecture. This is done via Project Eirini.

With this, DevOps can create and stage Cloud Foundry application as Docker images and then deploy them via Kubernetes. It attempts to create a best of all possible worlds with PaaS and Kubernetes orchestrated containers. Or, users can still use Cloud Foundry Diego for their container scheduler. Either way, the developer experience remains the same. In other words, Di Giacomo said, "customers can pick and choose what parts of the Cloud Foundry they can use."

Speaking of Kubernetes, SUSE is now a Kubernetes Certified Service Provider. This Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) program vets service providers, which have experience helping enterprises successfully adopt Kubernetes.

Just because SUSE is joining the rush of companies to Kubernetes doesn't mean that it's giving up on the OpenStack Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) private cloud. It's not. Far from it.

SUSE OpenStack Cloud 9 will also be released in April. It's based on the OpenStack Rocky. release and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) 12 SP4.

OpenStack Cloud 9 is also the first release to integrate HPE's Helion OpenStack SUSE acquired HPE cloud assets two years ago. It's incorporating Helion's Cloud Lifecycle Manager (formerly Helion Lifecycle Manager) into the mainline product to enable template-based cloud definition. This will make it easier for cloud managers to create and manage clouds without resorting to a command-line interface.

On another front, while Red Hat is being merged into IBM, SUSE has its own big allies. SUSE also announced the availability of its first enterprise Linux image for SAP HANA Large Instances on Microsoft Azure. This SLES for SAP Applications image on Azure, SUSE claims, provides an improved customer experience by offering consistent build and management capabilities on Azure. Both Microsoft and SAP are long-term SUSE partners.

Can SUSE really live up to its claim to being the largest independent open-source company? I wouldn't bet against it. The German global company has decades of experience, powerful partners, and true dedication to open-source software.

Photos: From the first PCs to the ThinkPad – classic IBM machines

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