Three years after Microsoft Corp. and Novell Inc. first inked their groundbreaking interoperability collaboration agreement, more than 475 customers have successfully future-proofed their Windows and Linux* IT operations by helping ensure business continuity, minimize risk and optimize mixed-source infrastructure. As a result of this unique industry relationship, Microsoft and Novell announced that more than 20 of these new joint customers have signed up for a subscription service launched a year ago by Novell. The service provides expanded support, and for customers running other Linux distributions, including Red Hat* Enterprise Linux, the support subscriptions qualify them for intellectual property (IP) peace of mind from Microsoft, while they transition to SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server from Novell.
Microsoft and Novell marked the third anniversary of the collaboration agreement during a gathering of IT executives at the Society of Information Management SIMPosium 09 conference in Seattle today.
"Forward-thinking companies are realizing the benefits of an interoperability collaboration designed to address the mixed-source realities we're facing today and will continue to face tomorrow," said Ted MacLean, general manager for Strategic Partnerships and Licensing at Microsoft. "Over the past three years, we have demonstrated our interoperability dedication time and again through the delivery of cross-platform technical solutions that carry the benefits of IP peace of mind. These solutions, coupled with Novell's proven technical support programs, make it easier than ever for our customers to have confidence that their existing infrastructure investments will serve them well into the future."
Business continuity was cited as a key factor for customers signing up for Novell's new SUSE Linux Enterprise Server with Expanded Support service subscription. Recognized for its outstanding Linux systems support programs, Novell extended its offerings through its collaboration agreement with Microsoft last year to help ensure that those using Red Hat or unsupported distributions of Linux also could benefit. With this offering, customers can elect to receive support for their existing operations for up to three years, and as part of this support, receive the IP peace of mind provided by Microsoft.
Expanded Support Service Ensures Business Continuity
"Novell's enterprise-grade Linux systems support offerings give IT executives immediate flexibility and control over their disparate Linux distributions without sacrifice," said Susan Heystee, vice president and general manager for Strategic Alliances at Novell. "In addition to support for legacy systems, we have also seen a growing number of organizations opt to use our Expanded Support service to help them press forward with plans to consolidate their Linux-based operations from Red Hat and other distributions onto SUSE Linux Enterprise Server."
MoneyGram International Inc., which provides money transfer and bill payment services across a global agent network spanning 190 countries and territories, is one of more than 20 companies that have taken this step. "When we chose to migrate from Red Hat to Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, we were looking for a highly available solution that would help minimize and ideally eliminate service interruptions, reduce maintenance and licensing costs, utilize our Windows Server investments, and make it possible to support growing business demands," said Paul Boespflug, senior manager of technology services for MoneyGram International. "As a result of standardizing our Linux infrastructure, and leveraging the Expanded Support offering from Novell, our systems are more cohesive, and we have been able to realize immediate cost reductions and improve our system reliability and stability."
IP Assurance Helps to Mitigate Risk
Reducing risk was another necessary requirement, according to customers. The intellectual property provisions provided through the collaboration agreement between Microsoft and Novell offer customers IP assurance and confidence in the viability of the solutions being delivered by the two companies.
Infracom Italia SpA also has elected to leverage interim support from Novell as it transitions from a competitive platform offering to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. "The relationship forged between Microsoft and Novell offers companies like ours - who do, and will, run their operations in a mixed environment - a tremendous benefit and increased efficiencies," said Aldo Serraglio, systems director of Infracom Network Application at Infracom Italia. "Novell's Expanded Support program for Red Hat will help us reduce costs immediately and optimize resources as we transition to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. In addition to the intellectual property peace of mind it offers us, the improved interoperability enables us to keep more resources focused on our core business."
Interoperability Solutions Optimize IT Infrastructure for Future Demands
Customers also identified optimizing IT infrastructure and enabling greater interoperability as critical needs addressed through this collaboration. Through the Microsoft and Novell Joint Interoperability Lab in Cambridge, Mass., engineers from both companies have been working side by side to create technical solutions that help address customer challenges related to the complexity of managing and administering mixed-source environments.
"For customers considering a dual-platform strategy with Windows Server and a widely used Linux server product, they will come to realize that the interoperability between Microsoft and Novell platforms helps offer a clear advantage in cost reduction," said Wang Lei, project manager, China Telecom Ningxia Branch. "As a long-standing customer of Microsoft using Windows Server, we require optimized virtualization solutions and the ability to expand the capacity of our system administration. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server from Novell is an ideal choice for the Linux systems we operate and manage."
Progressive Approach Defies Economic Downturn
Viewed as a model for the industry, as the two companies collaborate yet still compete in the marketplace, the interoperability agreement between Microsoft and Novell has produced steady growth and traction with customers and partners alike. As of the end of Novell's third fiscal quarter, which ended July 31, 2009, the two companies have sold $226 million in certificates for Novell® SUSE Linux Enterprise Server support and maintenance. To date, we have served more than 475 customers across a broad range of industries and geographies.
"As a multi-vendor systems integrator supporting a broad base of mixed-source IT environments, we at Continental Resources have been witness to the positive impact this collaboration is having on the industry," said Ken Simon, vice president of sales, Enterico Division, Continental Resources Inc. "Those organizations we work with closely are benefiting greatly via the streamlined management functionality, more effective cross-platform support, IP assurance and industry-specific solutions that these two vendors have devised to help us and our customers respond to diverse business challenges and heightened cost concerns."
Additional information about the Microsoft and Novell agreement, customer migrations and their joint Interoperability Lab is available online at http://www.moreinterop.com.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
Novell, Inc. (Nasdaq: NOVL) delivers the best engineered, most interoperable Linux platform and a portfolio of integrated IT management software that helps customers around the world reduce cost, complexity and risk. With our infrastructure software and ecosystem of partnerships, Novell harmoniously integrates mixed IT environments, allowing people and technology to work as one. For more information, visit www.novell.com.
Novell and SUSE are registered trademarks of Novell Inc. in the U.S. and other countries. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.