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SuSE Linux Gets Helping Hand From Veritas

Veritas will develop its server software for SuSE's version of the open-source operating system, giving SuSE a boost against rival Red Hat.

Veritas Software Corp. has agreed to develop its server software for SuSE Inc.'s Linux, giving the latter much-needed enterprise capabilities and a boost against rival Red Hat Inc.

Veritas said Monday that it planned to ship versions of its core products for the SuSE Linux Enterprise Server in the first quarter of next year. The products include the company's file system and its volume manager for improving storage system performance. In addition, Veritas will offer its Cluster Server, which makes it possible to distribute workloads among servers if one system fails.

Veritas, which has shipped the same products for Red Hat for two years, is giving SuSE a chance to compete against its competitor within potential markets for Linux.

Many companies use the open source operating system to run Web, print, and file servers. But it's rarely seen as the underpinning for databases and business applications. That may change, however, given the growing interest among midsize and large businesses.

"People are beginning to experiment with Linux in databases," said Al Gillen, an IDC analyst. "It's not one of the major use areas yet, but it's an area where we've seen a lot of interest."

Veritas' software has become "somewhat of a de facto standard" in the Unix market, so supporting Linux will give customers an easier transition to the operating system for more serious computing tasks. "For the larger shops using Unix already, they will want to use and manage Linux in a similar way," Gillen said.

Veritas plans to first support SuSE's product line for x86 processors, such as Intel's Xeon and Advanced Micro Devices' Athlon, which run on computer systems like IBM's eServer xSeries. Later on, the server software maker will run on SuSE Linux for Intel's Itanium and IBM's zSeries mainframes.

SuSE partnered with IBM early in Europe on the mainframe, so it has become the "primary" partner for Linux on the zSeries, said Gordon Haff, a market analyst for Illuminata. This should give the German company an advantage among those IBM customers looking to consolidate more of their applications on the mainframe.

However, "this is not something that someone who has never seen an IBM mainframe is likely to adopt," Haff said.

While SuSE is stronger than Red Hat in Europe, Veritas support may help SuSE against Red Hat's lead in North America, Gillen said. "SuSE has a competitive position that they need to work on here in North America," he said.

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