Novell Inc. announced on Tuesday a program to speed the process of building software and virtual appliances.
The idea, according to Novell Canada chief technology officer Ross Chevalier, is to deliver a package that makes it easier and faster for independent software vendors (ISV) to create appliances that run on-premise or in the cloud.
“This is a very effective manner to build software solutions,” Chevalier said.
The SUSE Appliance program includes:
* SUSE Studio, a free, Web-based tool for building appliances and custom-configuring the SUSE Linux Enterprise operating system;
* SUSE Linux Enterprise JeOS (pronounced “juice”), or “Just enough Operating System," a minimal configuration of Enterprise Server for ISVs manually creating appliances;
*SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for Amazon EC2, an OS configuration optimized for Amazon.com’s cloud infrastructure;
* A technical preview of the SUSE Appliance Toolkit to be launched this fall, including Lifecycle Management Server, WebYaST for remote configuration and a Mono server extension to deploy applications developed on Mincrosoft Corp.’s .Net on Linux;
* Marketing support for ISVs, including joint marketing and redistribution agreements.
Chevalier calls the last element “fundamentally different.” Once ISVs build applications, usually, their on their own, he said. “We’re going to be working with our ISV members to get their message out” and use Novell’s distribution channels, Chevalier said.
Jacques Sauve, president and CEO of Ste-Therese, Que.-based ISV Adaris Technologies Inc., said he’s been working with Novell executives on taking advantage of that channel support, though “that’s not my main target.” Alaris’s main market for its ZenWorks configuration management bundled appliance aZension is Microsoft customers.
Sauve said he’s found that Microsoft shops either have no tools for ZenWorks management, or several disparate tools. It’s just as easy, if not easier, to manage through a Linux-based appliance.
Tim Hickernell, lead analyst with Info-Tech Research Group Ltd. in London, Ont., said his first reaction was that Novell was trying to muscle its way back into the application platform business, as it was positioned with NetWare. But it is part of a significant trend — applications can be delivered not just as software-as-a-service or on-premise, but on a continuum between the two.