This will allow SuSE, based in Germany, to reach the larger corporate customers that have been out of its reach to date, according to chief executive Gerhard Burtscher.
"Large enterprise customers expect a level of service and support, and that was the missing piece of our strategy," he said. "We are finally able to deliver the support that our customers are used to."
IBM will package and support SuSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) implementations from the planning stage onwards, Burtscher said. It will provide worldwide support, backed up by SuSE's own development, maintenance and support teams, he said.
The deal means IBM is effectively acting as a high profile distributor of SuSE, Burtscher said, but one that is able to give a consistent offering worldwide to large clients. "We will charge each other for support and professional services that we provide, and will in turn charge customers for the services. It's not that different to what we have with other resellers," he said.
Services offered will include system integration and customisation, rollout and implementation, system management and 24-hour maintenance and support worldwide, SuSE said.
Deutsche Bank and Alcatel have already announced plans to implement SuSE Linux systems, and their decisions were both based on the IBM agreement and the worldwide support it would bring, Burtscher said.