IBM Canada is promising customers improved installation experience, performance and cost of ownership for SuSE Linux Enterprise Server on its DB2 software through the opening

of a Toronto-based integration centre.

The two firms said the centre will dedicate hardware, software and human resources to create model customer environment and test scripts for certification work. SuSE, based in Germany, offers the first distribution of the Linux open-source operating system to be certified on all hardware platforms supported by DB2. IBM has also been offering its own Linux certification program for DB2 for about two years, and SuSE has been a part of that from the beginning.

IBM’s Toronto software lab has similar integration centres for customers running DB2 on SAP, HP, Sun, PeopleSoft or Siebel software, said Bob Picciano, Big Blue’s director of database technology.

“”It was very natural for us to extend an infrastructure that we have here with other software and hardware partners,”” he said. “”What we try to do is look for ways to collaborate at a deeper engineering level to create differentiation.””

Late last month Provo, Utah-based Novell Inc. said it plans to acquire SuSE for US$210 million. Novell executives said one of the merits of the deal would be the ability of Novell’s worldwide channel and consulting network to offer technical support of SuSE products.

Picciano said the project to create an integration centre with SuSE preceded Novell’s announcement, but he was uncertain how the relationship would be affected once Novell’s purchase is complete. “”I have no sense of that,”” he said.

Tapas Shome of Keen Computer Solutions in Winnipeg, said in his personal opinion IBM is partnering with SuSE to avoid some of the legal troubles that have afflicted Red Hat as a result of SCO’s allegations it owns some intellectual property in versions of the Linux kernel. SCO has said Red Hat has violated its copyright, which has prompted Red hat to sue SCO. Meanwhile, SCO is suing IBM for US$3 billion.

“”One of the problems we face with SuSE Linux is not having a North American technical support and base,”” he said. “”IBM can (offer that support). But for the average company, not having technical support in North America is a big concern.””

Picciano said SuSE technicians would be on site at the centre to work on projects on a case-by-case basis.

“”We’ll work out some of the details on when we need local assistance with engineering,”” he said. “”We have points where we do deep dives — looking at the big technology picture and things that we would want to exploit in the areas of asynchronous I/O — and we’ll pull engineering resources together to build joint plans.””

The integration centre will examine potential client SuSE applications, topologies and hardware configurations, Picciano added. IBM will conduct an analysis of workloads in order to ensure good performance.

“”Linux is absolutely being considered in the deepest reaches of the data centre,”” he said. “”What people are saying is the most attractive points for Linux is the initial price, the reliability. One of the motivating factors is licensing platforms.””

DB2 ships across 34 operating platforms in 100 languages, Picciano said.

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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