In a move that could be as profound as it is surprising for two former rivals, Microsoft and Novell have announced a set of broad business and technical collaboration agreements that affect server-based computing.
The companies hope the arrangement will establish a market and provide support for a series of solutions to make their products work better together. Both companies will provide each other’s customers with patent coverage for their respective products up to at least 2012. Under this new model, the two firms say that customers will realise new levels of choice and flexibility through improved interoperability and manageability between Windows and Linux.
Resolving the patent issues also enables a combined focus on virtualisation and Web services management. Microsoft and Novell will jointly develop a virtualisation offering for Linux and Windows and will also undertake work to make it easier for customers to manage
mixed Windows and SUSE Linux Enterprise environments. They hope to make it easier for customers to federate Microsoft Active Directory with Novell eDirectory.
Microsoft will officially recommend SUSE Linux Enterprise for customers who want Windows and Linux solutions. Additionally, Microsoft will distribute coupons for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server maintenance and support, so that customers can use an interoperable version of Linux with patent coverage as well as the collaborative work between the two companies.