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Dell Leans on SUSE for OEM Linux Solutions

Dell OEM Solutions is partnering with SUSE to deliver Linux for embedded and customized solutions. The partnership is the first by Dell that will bring a certified Linux solution to its OEM customers

Jeff Otchis, Americas marketing director for OEM solutions at Dell, explained to InternetNews.com that Dell OEM Solutions is a business unit that sells to the product development side of the business. The unit currently has more than 2,000 OEM customers where Dell technology can be used anywhere computing power is needed.

SUSE is now officially joining the Dell OEM Partner program, which means that Dell partners can purchase SUSE Linux through Dell's configuration processes. A key part of the partnership involves Dell's use of the SUSE Linux Appliance programs so OEM customers can leverage purpose-built Linux appliances.

In January 2011, Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) first announced that it was joining the SUSE Linux Appliance Program, which enables vendors to build and manage their own Linux software appliances. Kerry Kim, senior solution marketing manager at SUSE told InternetNews.com that this new agreement is all about enabling Dell's OEM business to make use of the SUSE Appliance tools.

Overall Dell and SUSE have partnered on various efforts since at least 2004. Dell's Otchis said that on the OEM side, Dell has spent the last year building up its' partner program.

"As our customers are taking a step back to leverage Intel's Sandy Bridge technology for product rollouts, it's a great time to pull in SUSE," Otchis said. "A lot of our accounts are looking to leverage SUSE technology when they do their next design cycle."

One thing that is apparently not a big issue for Dell's OEM customers is the intellectual property deal SUSE has with Microsoft. In July 2011, Microsoft extended its patent deal with Novell to SUSE, which was spun out as a separate business unit after Attachmate acquired Novell for $2.2 billion. The Microsoft patent covenant protects SUSE users against alleged intellectual property infringement that may or may not be present in the underlying open source base of SUSE.

Otchis said that he has not heard a single Dell OEM customer mention SUSE's deal with Microsoft as having an impact.

"Clearly indemnification is important to some people, but perhaps what's more important is the fact that SUSE is a customizable open source platform that has less risk of technological obsolescence," Kim said.

While Dell partners with other Linux vendors in other areas of its business, Otchis said that on the OEM side the partnership with SUSE is unique.

"Our customers have been pulling this forward asking for SUSE on Dell OEM offerings and this is the first Linux based solution that we've got," Otchis said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist

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This article was originally published on January 24, 2012
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Tags: Linux, Dell, SUSE
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