Novell Upgrades SUSE Linux Appliance Toolkit

Combined with Novell Cloud Manager, the toolkit options for building workloads as virtual appliances, strive shorten customers' path to the cloud.
In addition, the toolkit adds supports KVM, the open source hypervisor created by Qumranet, now part of Red Hat. In the past, Novell has shied away from direct support of KVM in favor of open source Xen, a hypervisor that supplies the base code for XenServer. KVM, however, is backed by IBM as well as Red Hat, and has won growing favor with open source developers, who like its tight integration with the Linux kernel.

The toolkit makes use of Studio Onsite, an on premises version of Novell's Studio, a web-based appliance creation tool with 85,000 registered users launched in July 2009. Studio Onsite allows an appliance builder to start with a minimal, JEOS version of SUSE, or just enough operating system, and add to it, or a full version of SUSE Linux Enterprise System and strip it down.

The toolkit supports PXE for the booting an appliance over a network; assembly of logical disks from physical disks using LVM; the import of existing AutoYaST scripts, or commands that activate an appliance in a remote location; and import of KIWI scripts that trigger the building of a clone of an existing appliance or other automated build.

The 1.1 version of the Novell toolkit comes out nine months after the toolkit was launched on Jan. 26. The pricing announced at that time was $100,000 for large enterprise users of SUSE Linux or independent software vendors packaging their products as cloud workloads.

The toolkit can be used to prepare virtual appliance that can be handed off to Novell's Cloud Manager, a product announced earlier this month, noted Applebaum. Cloud Manager introduces a workflow to be followed in deploying an appliance and a cost structure that can be used to calculate projected costs over planned time of use.