Dell's recent decision to distribute Novell's version of Linux on its servers marks a welcome boost for enterprise Linux choice by giving customers a viable alternative to Red Hat, according to Gartner.
George Weiss, Gartner vice president, advised most enterprises to carefully consider both Linux distributors in the wake of Dell's agreement with Novell to distribute and support the Linux-based SuSE Enterprise Server 9 operating system on single- and dual-processor servers.
Dell will offer SuSE Enterprise Server 9 on the PowerEdge 1850 single-processor rack server, 2800 dual-processor tower server and 2850 dual-processor 2U rack server.
The SuSE Linux licence will cost $175 per year for a single-processor server, or $269 per year for a dual-processor.
"This announcement aligns with Gartner's prediction that SuSE Linux will take a larger share of the expanding Linux market," said Weiss.
"Dell has historically taken a methodical approach to the introduction of new technologies, based on careful assessments of markets and volume opportunities.
"Its decision to rely more heavily on Novell/SuSE likely reflects strong customer pressure for a SuSE alternative, and concerns about the potential loss of business to competitors such as IBM and Hewlett Packard."
Weiss went on to explain that Dell's expanding Linux support for SuSE will offer enterprises an important competitive alternative in enterprise applications.
This in turn will offer independent software vendors, many of which have been reluctant to support another version of Linux, an impetus to consider SuSE as a port.
"Dell's strong emphasis on keeping costs low will maintain the pressure on Red Hat to compete on pricing, and to consider enterprise-wide subscription support licensing for high-volume and large-enterprise accounts," said Weiss.
Gartner recommends enterprises with strong Linux/Unix skill sets to consider both Red Hat and Novell/SuSE Linux, unless their platforms or applications have not been certified for the operating system.
"By evaluating both distributors, and by including Dell as a server option, enterprises may also realise higher cost savings from Linux subscription support and competitive pricing on hardware," Weiss added.
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