SUSE Linux Reemerges for zEnterprise

SUSE Linux, the leading Linux distribution on the System z, seemingly went AWOL following the acquisition of Novell by Attachmate. It shouldn’t have been that way; Attachmate said almost all the right things.

But there was this one little thing about Microsoft buying in. Since IBM has announced Windows will be supported in upcoming x86 blades on the zEnterprise, people can rest easier. Meanwhile, SUSE apparently went dark while Red Hat, following a successful spring user conference in Boston, suddenly was everywhere with exciting tools to put Linux applications, including z-based Linux applications, in public and private clouds.

With last week’s announcement of the SUSE Studio Version 1.2 SUSE Linux has returned. The latest SUSE Studio promises to help organizations more easily build, update, and manage application images across x86, public cloud, and IBM System z deployments, significantly reducing the overhead associated with managing a heterogeneous IT environment. With the announcement, SUSE becomes a full-fledged zEnterprise hybrid computing player.

As importantly, SUSE’s effort dovetails with industry efforts to expedite the movement of applications to the cloud and goes far to eliminate doubts about its intentions. Says Brett Waldman, senior research analyst at IDC: “With the recent acquisition of Novell by Attachmate, there has been some uncertainty around the future of the SUSE Appliance program. However, with the announcement of  SUSE Studio v1.2, the newly formed SUSE group has put that uncertainty to rest.”

Cloud computing helps organizations improve IT efficiency by switching IT delivery to a demand-driven service consumption model.  With SUSE Studio’s support for System z, enterprises can use the same tool to deploy versions of the same application across x86, public cloud, and System z private cloud deployments; thereby reducing the overhead associated with managing a heterogeneous environment. It also allows organizations to take advantage of the on-demand nature of the cloud by providing the ability to scale up or down as needed.  One way to do this is through virtual software appliances.

With SUSE Studio’s support for System Z, enterprises can use the same tool to deploy versions of the same application across x86, public cloud, and System z private cloud deployments. Furthermore, SUSE Studio establishes a bridge between x86 microprocessor architectures and mainframes by simplifying the creation, testing, maintenance and deployment of software applications on the mainframe.  Now, customers running hundreds of mission-critical Linux images on mainframes can save time by leveraging an easy-to-use interface for building mainframe workloads.

Mono, the last piece of the SUSE Linux on z puzzle, also seems to be falling into place. DancingDinosaur has written previously about Mono, the open source .NET app server that comes with SUSE Enterprise Linux on System z, most recently here  and here

 A few System z shops experimented with Mono on z but nothing ever came of it. Apparently, it was not quite ready for prime time. In the Attachmate acquisition, Mono seemed to be falling through the cracks. However, it resurfaced in May as the Mono team, laid off by Attachmate, set up shop at

Xamarin,  which licensed the Mono code from Attachmate and is now the official developer and maintainer of Mono.  The company’s focus is Mono for the smartphone market, but Sine Nomine Associates, known for leading the efforts to port openSolaris to z,  has been given the OK to revive work on the System z port of Mono.   At least one company, reportedly, has .NET-based systems they want mainframe-enabled. DancingDinosaur will continue to follow the Mono on z saga.

Please note: DancingDinosaur will be closed July 27-Aug. 10.  New posts will appear the week of Aug. 15.

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