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SUSE Makes Waves At OpenStack Summit


Building on Linux pedigree, execs assured SDxE that HPE’s Helion and Cloud Foundry PaaS are in good hands

By Lorna Garey, Editor in Chief

While SuSE is in the news thanks to its purchase of HPE’s OpenStack Helion IaaS and Cloud Foundry PaaS business, the company has been adding engineers and updating its offerings and channel program since coming under the ownership of software and consultancy services provider Micro Focus International in 2014.

“Micro Focus said, ‘Go do your thing,’” Mark Smith, OpenStack marketing manager for SuSE, told SDxE in an interview at the recent OpenStack Summit in Boston. “We have tremendous growth potential, we've got 130 vacancies, we've crossed 1,000 staff middle of the year. And of course, we've just acquired the assets of the people and code from HPE. So things are going on.”

On that to-do list are a new cloud monitoring system based on OpenStack Monasca, a strategic alliance with Fujitsu, more than doubling the size of its OpenStack team through the HPE deal and assuring Helion customers that it’s committed to the product, work on the Ceph open source project to deliver the software-defined storage SUSE says customers want, and a new program to educate partners to deliver the company’s enterprise Linux, software-defined storage, OpenStack cloud and systems management offerings.

SUSE is also marking 25 years in business; it launched in 1992 and released SLS, the first comprehensive Linux distro.

Today, Smith says monitoring is a particularly rich opportunity, based on the new OpenStack user survey.

“Three-quarters of the OpenStack projects had between six and 11 of the OpenStack elements, all producing logs, all producing monitoring data, and a lot of it,” he says. “This tool brings it all into one place.”

Pete Chadwick, who is responsible for cloud infrastructure strategy and products for SUSE, says OpenStack expertise is key to moving from a traditional model one to that’s got more software-defined infrastructure capabilities built in.

“We see OpenStack starting to evolve as the API for the software-defined infrastructure,” says Chadwick. “It almost becomes the control layer.”

He says SUSE understands that bringing small and midsize enterprises into the OpenStack fold will take consultative expertise, and he sees partners as key to that transition.

“We have consultants, but our large-scale model is really to work through SIs or value-add resellers who want to build some skills and help somebody get an OpenStack cloud up and running,” said Chadwick. “To us that's a high-value opportunity for our partners.”

To resellers that don’t see the margins in open source, Smith says check the analyst figures.

“It’s going to be a $5 billion market by 2020,” said Smith. “With most customers it's not a case of ‘I'm going to have that cloud or this cloud.’ It’s going to be ‘I’m going to have these clouds.’”

As a services play, helping customers repatriate workloads from public cloud into a private cloud is less about cost savings, more about control, predictability and minimizing shadow IT.

“Roll out this internal cloud offering, and people start to say, ‘Oh, I can run that in house, I don't need to run in Amazon anymore, and I've got more control and visibility,” says Chadwick.

Containers On Queue

Chadwick weighed in on the security concerns around containers and microservices.

“People are also concerned as you move from a VM model to a container model — what are the security implications around that?” he said.

One answer is certification, the testing and signing of distribution packages that SUSE and other Linux providers have done for years. The company’s Containers as a Service Platform, which became available in March, comprises SUSE Linux Enterprise MicroOS and a container orchestration solution based on Kubernetes.

“You know that you're getting it from SUSE and we have done a reasonable level of making sure that there's nothing nasty about the code,” he said.

Of course, that holds only as long as developers stick to containers and microservices issued by providers. Chadwick recommends that companies stick to the same security policies when moving to a containerized infrastructure as a more traditional physical-level virtual infrastructure.

“That's a value-add that we believe we can bring to the to the customer,” he said.