Novell Inc. is selling itself off in pieces, and VMware is one of the bidders, according to reports circulating this week.
The New York Post first reported Wednesday that a 'strategic buyer' would acquire the SUSE Linux portion of Novell's business, without naming the buyer. A subsequent report in the Wall Street Journal Thursday named VMware as the 'strategic buyer.'
While the reports remain unconfirmed, some users say it fits VMware's pattern of expansion into a software stack beyond the hypervisor, which has included acquisitions of SpringSource and Zimbra as well as a partnership with Salesforce.com.They just got rid of the last vestiges of Linux from the vSphere platform ... It's sort of like getting rid of the covered wagon and then going out and buying a horse.
Novell SUSE would give "VMware that missing piece in the computing stack, the operating system," if the reports are accurate, wrote Eric Siebert, a system administrator for Boston Market, in an email to SearchServerVirtualization.com. "Having an OS will complete their stack from the virtualization layer all the way to the application layer and will help them better compete with Microsoft. It also gives them a OS to use for their numerous virtual appliances."
There hasn't been any indication that VMware is pursuing parts of Novell's business beyond the SUSE OS, but Rick Vanover, an IT infrastructure manager at a large Midwestern financial services firm, said that he hopes VMware will also acquire intellectual property from Novell's PlateSpin virtualization management suite.
In particular, "the Forge feature, which is like a virtual data center in a box for disaster recovery, integrates conversion technology with a modified ESX hypervisor with failover and failback," appeals to Vanover, as does Novell's conversion tool, which he described as the "best of breed, which works with many hypervisors."
But not everyone is enthused. "From a corporate point of view, I would rather they focused on their core product, though I can understand how VMware would like to be seen as a data center management solution," said Chris Dearden, a U.K.-based senior hosting center engineer for one of the world's largest accountancy and professional services firms. "I'm not quite sure why VMware would want this, other than being able to own another part of the stack in the same fashion of the Zimbra purchase."