Novell Takes SuSe Direct With Dell

Linux Server software

Early next year, customers buying Dell's PowerEdge 1850, 2800 and 2850 servers can get them loaded with Suse Linux Server 9 software for an annual maintenance subscription of $175 per single-CPU server, said Linda York, vice president of global alliances marketing for the product group at Dell, Round Rock, Texas.

Software subscriptions for dual-CPU servers of the same Dell models will cost $269, she said.

Ron Hovsepian, president of Novell North America, Waltham, Mass., said the new relationship with Dell won't undermine the bottom line of Novell solution providers, even though the Suse software will be available direct, with Dell as first point of contact for service issues.

"We want to set an environment that creates channel harmony," Hovsepian said. "More of our solution partners are in services-based businesses, and we believe [this deal] will create more services opportunities out in the market."

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Many partners said Hovsepian's assumption was reasonable.

"I'm sure the Dell deal is going to [anger] a lot of hardware resellers, but from a service point of view we are project-oriented. We are going to get hired to do service atop the OS," said Paul Anderson, CEO of Novacoast, Santa Barbara, Calif.

Paul Hillman, president of C/D/H Consulting Services, said his Grand Rapids, Mich.-based firm wouldn't suffer either as a result of the Dell deal. If anything, he said, "Dell's acceptance of Suse further legitimizes it as an enterprise-class OS." C/D/H's service business may increase with the deal along with Suse's install base, he said.

Dell also sells Red Hat Linux software but York said there would be no change in that relationship in light of the Novell Suse deal.