Frequently Asked Questions

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1. What is the CSP Program?

The Guide to the SUSE Partner Program for Cloud Service Providers describes the SUSE program under which a service provider (such as a Hosting Provider, Managed Service Provider, Cloud Service Provider, etc.) may offer services supported by SUSE cloud products and solution subscriptions. This guide is referenced in the Cloud Services Provider Schedule (“CSP Schedule”), which contains the detailed terms and conditions to which the CSP must agree prior to reselling SUSE subscriptions for use in a cloud model.

2. Why was the CSP Program created?

The CSP Program was created in response to growing demand from service providers for a monthly-subscription-based pricing program. Service providers require a flexible cost structure that eliminates any up-front subscription fees or minimum commitments, as well as the ability to carefully manage cash flow. SUSE created the CSP Program with these core requirements in mind, so that program members will be able to build their businesses methodically and profitably. SUSE incorporated input from leading service providers to create this compelling program which is in sync with the service provider business model.

3. Who should join the CSP Program?

This program is designed specifically for service providers who provide software services, hosted infrastructure and or applications to end-user customers on a rental, subscription or services basis. In the SUSE Partner Program for Cloud Providers, Service Providers can scale their business and pay only for what their customers use or sign up for. The Service Provider provides support to the customer, and SUSE provides support to the Service Provider. There are over 10,000 service providers globally who fit this profile, and the numbers are growing with the rising popularity of Software as a Service (SaaS).

4. Who might not be interested in joining the CSP Program?

Technology resellers that exclusively sell subscriptions of SUSE software to customers are not candidates for the CSP program if ownership of the SUSE software and possession and ownership of the subscription is at the end-user's location.

5. Can existing SUSE partners join the CSP Program?

Yes, any current SUSE partner that meets the qualifications can join the CSP Program. Existing SUSE partners may apply online via the SUSE Partner Portal and sign the CSP Schedule.

6. Is there a fee to join the CSP Program?

There is no entry fee to join the SUSE Partner Program for Cloud Service Providers. Because CSPs are required to provide technical support to their customers, the program requires CSPs to have staff with SUSE skills certifications. CSPs should ensure their staff are registered at the SUSE Partner Portal and correctly associated with the CSP Portal account.

7. How can a partner join the CSP Program?

To enroll in the SUSE CSP Program, speak with your SUSE representative or send an email to publiccloud@suse.com and a SUSE CSP program representative will follow up promptly to initiate the process.

8. What is the SUSE Partner Portal?

The SUSE Partner Portal offers partners access to information, benefits, training and program resources to improve our partners’ ability to drive business results and service customers. All SUSE Partners must register at the SUSE Partner Portal: https://partner.suse.com/.

9. What is a CSP Fulfillment Agent and what do they do?

A CSP Fulfillment Agent (CSP FA) recruits, manages, and supports CSPs, as well as aggregating monthly reports from all the service providers in their respective region. SUSE works with designated authorized CSP FAs. This model is extremely efficient, and is in sync with how other ISVs (e.g. Microsoft) manage their service provider business. The incentives for CSP FAs are rebates tied to KPIs around on-time reporting of CSPs in their network and recruiting new CSPs. The CSP Program launched with a core group of CSP FAs in North America, EMEA, and APAC.

10. Who supports CSPs?

General Program questions can be directed to the CSP’s designated SUSE Partner Executive. The CSP is required to provide Level 1 (L1) and Level 2 (L2) support to their end customer. SUSE support is delivered as Level 3 (L3) support to the CSP partner, SUSE does not provide support directly to the end customer. Support level definitions are provided in the Glossary or in the SUSE Support Handbook located at: https://www.suse.com/support/handbook

11. What are the SUSE Skills Certification Requirements?

Cloud Partners must earn and maintain a minimum of two SUSE certifications within the first six months of signing the CSP Agreement, in line with the services they offer. All SUSE Cloud partners have access to online SUSE product and solution enablement training. Classroom training can be arranged with one of SUSE’s Training Partners if desired. SUSE is currently developing new Cloud Specific training opportunities, see your Partner Portal for updated information.

12. What Pricing Options Are Available in the CSP Program?

The CSP program offers different pricing models. These include three consumption types:

  • Subscribers
  • Virtual Instances
  • Physical Servers

Pricing options include hourly or monthly pay-as-you-go, and one-year or three-year pre-paid subscriptions. Pricing for the SUSE subscriptions offered under the SUSE Cloud Service Provider Program is governed by the SUSE Cloud Services price list.

13. Who will provide technical support to end-users?

The CSP is responsible for providing L1 and L2 support to their end-user customers. SUSE will provide L3 support to the CSP based on the level of support associated with the subscriptions that the CSP purchases from SUSE. (See Support Level definitions in the Glossary.) All SUSE part numbers on the SUSE Cloud Services Price List come with L3 support from SUSE available in two support options:

  • L3 Priority provides 24x7
  • L3 Standard provides 12x5

The Cloud Partner may only purchase subscriptions at one level of support; these subscription types should not be mixed. For more detail on hours of coverage, response times and the process for opening a service request, see the SUSE Support Handbook located at https://www.suse.com/support/handbook

14. Who will provide support to the cloud partner?

SUSE provides support to the Cloud partner. SUSE does not communicate with the end customer. SUSE will provide five service requests for free to the Cloud Partner while the CSP is working to earn the certifications required to provide L1/L2 support.

15. What are the usage rights under the CSP Program?

For details on usage rights, see the SUSE Products T&Cs document: https://www.suse.com/products/terms_and_conditions.pdf

The usage rights under the CSP Program are:

  1. The right for the service provider to provide software services to third parties.
  2. The right for the service provider’s customers (end users) to access or use the SUSE subscription products running in the service provider’s environment.
  3. The right for the service provider to provide multi-tenancy (more than one customer) to use the SUSE server products subject to subscription terms and conditions.
  4. The right for the service provider to provide a dedicated (single customer) environment for a customer in their offsite environment.
  5. The right for the service provider to deploy subscriptions from their off-site License Servers into a customer’s premises, on hardware owned either by the CSP or the customer, and managed from the CSP’s datacenter, as long as the customer does not have the ability to manage or access the licenses.
  6. The right to no up-front subscription fees and no minimum revenue commitments.

16. What is an “offsite multi-tenant environment”?

The CSP Program and the terms of the CSP Program Agreement limit the usage of SUSE products to an “offsite multi-tenant environment” or an “offsite dedicated environment”. This is defined as a CSP’s site (or co-location facility) where the CSP has a shared set of servers providing services to its customers. Specifically, the CSP Program is restricted to CSPs using SUSE products in an offsite multi-tenant environment, and is not a program that end-user organizations can directly participate in. Instead, end-user organizations will subscribe to CSP partners’ hosted offerings. In the case of a customer wanting a dedicated set of servers for their company, a CSP can set up a dedicated environment within their offsite or co-location site.

17. Can a CSP place subscriptions on customer premises or customer-owned hardware?

Yes, under specific circumstances CSPs can place subscriptions on customers’ premises. CSP usage rights also allow CSPs to deploy subscriptions from their off-site subscription servers into customers’ premises on CSP- or customer-owned hardware, managed from the CSP’s datacenter, as long as the customer has no ability to directly manage or access the subscriptions.

18. Can CSPs offer both “offsite multi-tenant environments” and annual subscribed hosted offerings to end-users using SUSE products?

Yes, CSPs can purchase annual subscriptions for SUSE software, and offer them as part of hosted services to their customers. CSPs must maintain separate hosting environments for annual and monthly subscriptions, with separate subscription servers.

19. What are “active subscriptions” and why are they popular with CSPs?

The SUSE Active Subscription Model is actual-usage-based pricing. It is very popular with CSPs. CSPs offer hosted infrastructure or application services, per month, per end customer. In the SUSE model, the service provider only reports and pays for those subscriptions that are in service. The active subscription model accommodates variability in month-to-month usage and is based on usage during the preceding calendar month time period. CSPs report finding the SUSE Active Subscription Model extremely fair and appreciate the utility-based nature of the model. Active Subscriptions afford the CSP the added benefit of being able to calculate exactly what their subscriber revenue will be on a monthly basis, while also guaranteeing that their costs will never exceed their revenue.

20. What is the difference between “051-” SKUs on the Cloud Price list and “874-” SKUs listed in the SCC?

The SUSE products listed on the SUSE Cloud Price List all have part numbers (SKUs) that begin with the three-digit code “051-”, along with a full text description of the product. These SKUs are used for ordering and reporting purposes only. However, the subscriptions listed in the CSP’s SCC account all have SKUs that begin with the three-digit code “874-”. These SKUs are used only to track active subscriptions in the CSP’s SCC account. The difference in these two SKU prefixes reflect the SUSE product part numbers or SKUs required by our internal systems.

SUSE SKU/Part Number Guide:

  • Use “051-” SKUs and product descriptions when ordering and reporting your subscriptions usage.
  • Use “874-” SKUs and product descriptions when tracking your Activation Keys in your SCC account.

874 vs. 051 SKUs EXAMPLE:

SKU Name
874-006905 SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications, x86-64, 1-2 Sockets or 1-2 Virtual Machines, Priority Subscription

Covers ALL of these “051-” SKUs on the Cloud Price List:

SKU Cloud Segment SUSE Brand Product Description
051-005251 Cloud Enterprise Server Products SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications, x86-64, 1-2 Virtual Cores, L3-Priority Subscription
1 Hour
051-005269 Cloud Enterprise Server Products SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications, x86-64, 1-2 Virtual Cores, L3-Priority Subscription
1 Month
051-005287 Cloud Enterprise Server Products SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications, x86-64, 1-2 Virtual Cores, L3-Priority Subscription
1 Year
051-005305 Cloud Enterprise Server Products SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications, x86-64, 1-2 Virtual Cores, L3-Priority Subscription
3 Years

21. How can a CSP get L1 and L2 Support to get started?

SUSE gives you a free 5-pack of support to get you started. You can purchase additional 5-packs if needed. The Service Pack will provide five support incidents to cover internal break-fix issues that impact the services CSPs offer to your customers. If the CSP needs support beyond the initial five incidents, additional support packs can be purchased.

CSP Partners that do not have SUSE skilled personnel on staff to provide L1 and L2 technical support (see Glossary for L1, L2 & L3 support definitions) for their customers are required to purchase a CSP Service Pack to avoid delays in receiving technical support from SUSE. The skills certifications required are listed in the Program Requirements table.

22. Does SUSE have consulting services?

Partners that need assistance with design and implementation should work with SUSE’s consulting and services team or send an email to cloudpartner@suse.com

Term Description
Service Provider A service provider provides IT solutions and/or services to end users and organizations.
CSP Offers some components of cloud computing to third parties, including infrastructure, applications, and storage as a service.
CSP Fulfillment Agent (See FAQ #9) Similar to a Distributor, a CSP Fulfillment Agent (CSP FA) manages the billing and invoicing for CSPs that choose to work with them. CSPs must still sign the CSP Schedule with SUSE, but the CSP FA handles the royalty reporting to SUSE.
Participation Agreements For CSPs with multiple affiliate locations in different countries, the HQ can sign the CSP Schedule, and each affiliate location signs a Participation Agreement to accept the terms and conditions of the SUSE CSP Schedule.
Internal Use The CSP’s own usage of the services offered, together with the components used to manage the environment.
Evaluations Evaluation Offerings. SUSE may offer limited Subscription Offerings for evaluation purposes. These Evaluation Subscription offerings are time limited for sixty (60) days unless otherwise agreed to between You and SUSE. You agree not to use such Subscription Offerings in any production environment or for commercial use.
Tenant A tenant is a group of users (single legal entity) who share a common access with specific privileges to the software/hardware platform. Often a customer is referred to as a tenant.
Multi-tenant – Cloud SKU A multi-tenant environment is a cloud computing architecture that allows customers to share computing resources in a public or private cloud. Each tenant's data is isolated by virtualization and remains invisible to other tenants.
Single-tenant – Hosting SKU Subscriptions sold on a single system (or virtual machine running on a hypervisor) that is dedicated to no more than one end customer for the term of the subscription. Dedicated subscriptions may not be shared by more than one customer.
Active Subscription A subscription that’s currently under support.
Activations & Renewals Subscriptions expire based on their SKU type and can be renewed prior to expiration. Partners should track their subscription renewal dates and request renewals prior to the expiration date.


Support Level
Definitions
Level 1 Problem determination by diagnosing configuration. Installation assistance, usage support, ongoing maintenance, and troubleshooting. Involves the collection and current on Maintenance in order to be entitled to support. analysis of logs to understand the cause of a problem and to make recommendations on how resolve the issue. Customer needs to be current on Maintenance in order to be entitled to support.
Level 2 Problem isolation including core dump analysis and problem duplication. In this level, resolution is provided for problems not resolved by Level 1 Support. Problem resolution may include reasonable workarounds and suggestions on what problems might be. These suggestions involve in-depth configuration understanding on basic best practices to make recommendations on customer environments. This level draws the line between usage and configuration problem versus software defect.
Level 3 Problem resolution at a code level. Resolution means closure of the problem defined in the incident and may include configuration changes, implementation of a workaround, or providing a software patch. Resolution is not possible in all circumstances. Level 3 Support (L3) is part of SUSE Research and Development (R&D) which drives software defect resolution. Software defects can only be escalated to the L3 team by the L2 support engineer assigned to the support incident.

For CSP subscription instances, the CSP is required to be the first point of contact for all technical support issues. These include all Level 1 and Level 2 issues. The CSP can provide this support as part of their own support offerings to the end customer.

If additional support requirements are needed, please contact your SUSE representative or Fullfillment Agent.