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SuSE signs up key software partner

SuSE Linux enlists the backing of server-software maker Veritas, an important step in supporting the needs of business computing and keeping up with top Linux seller Red Hat.

SuSE Linux has enlisted the backing of server-software maker Veritas Software, an important step in supporting the needs of business computing and keeping up with top Linux seller Red Hat.

Veritas and SuSE announced on Monday that they will cooperate in sales as well as technology.

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"The relationship between the two companies will enable joint engineering, joint support and joint marketing so we can sell into each other's customer bases," said Ranajit Nevatia, director of Veritas' Linux strategy.

In January, Veritas will begin selling SuSE versions of two of its key server products--two years after it began offering Red Hat versions. The company plans to make the announcement at LinuxWorld Frankfurt.

The software packages are Veritas' Foundation Suite, which consists of file system software and a volume manager to make storage systems faster and more flexible, and its Cluster Server software to let one computer take over if another in a group fails. The software will work with the SuSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES), SuSE's corporate operating system product, Nevatia said.

"This certainly plugs a relative gap in SuSE's product line compared to what Red Hat has," said Illuminata analyst Gordon Haff.

SuSE hopes the support will help it gain higher-end customers. "The significance of this announcement is that SuSE expands into the corporate data center. This shows SuSE can provide data integrity that enterprise customers are looking for," said Uwe Heine, SuSE's chief alliance officer.

The new software will make it easier for Unix customers to adopt Linux, Haff said. "It makes that move from a lot of Unix systems, and from Sun in particular, easier than it was before," he said. Sun Microsystems' Solaris is the most widely used version of Unix and a prime candidate for companies that want to save costs by using Linux on less-expensive Intel-based hardware.

Veritas' software makes such switches simpler by unifying the way information is stored regardless of which operating system is using the data.

Veritas will support SuSE's product line in stages, Nevatia said. First will come support for the version for "x86" processors, such as Intel's Xeon or Advanced Micro Devices' Athlon. Later will come support for SuSE Linux running on Intel's Itanium and IBM's zSeries mainframes.

AMD's Opteron processor, which can run x86 software but also departs from that design with support for 64-bit software, is another question. "The Opteron platform is still being investigated," Nevatia said, as is support for IBM's pSeries Unix servers and iSeries midrange servers.

Pricing for the Linux and Unix versions is comparable for higher-end servers. At the lower end, however, it's cheaper on Linux, Nevatia said.

Veritas has other software packages with SuSE support. Its backup software already is available for SuSE Linux, and in November Veritas will release a SuSE version of its OpForce software, which lets administrators remotely install and control the software that runs on a server, Nevatia said.