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HP Eases Linux Subscriptions with Novell

The question of how operating systems vendors charge for multi-processor and virtualized instances is not an easy one to answer.

In the case of Linux at least, depending on which vendor you choose, you could be paying more or less for each virtualized Linux instance.

HP today announced a new deal with Novell that aims to simplify subscription pricing of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server running on a variety of HP hardware systems.

The new bundle may potentially offer better terms for certain customers than an existing bundle agreement HP already has in place with Linux leader Red Hat.

The new HP bundle, the Enterprise Linux 8-License Value Pack, features Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 (SLES) and includes Novell's AppArmor Linux security application.

The bundle provides a subscription of SUSE for a total of eight HP ProLiant and BladeSystem servers.

Last year, HP announced a similar subscription bundling deal with Novell's Linux rival Red Hat, though there are a number of important differences.

"The Red Hat offering is focused on blades," Jeffrey Wade, worldwide marketing manager for HP's open source and Linux organization, told internetnews.com.

"The thing that is unique about this offering is that customers can combine different types of servers in this subscription, tower, rack or blade, 8 of those in any combination."

Beyond the difference in supported physical hardware, there is also a difference between the terms of how Novell and Red Hat handle virtualized machines.

"Red Hat requires that you have a subscription per virtual machine," Wade explained.

"Novell is clearly being a bit more aggressive in this space and they're offering a subscription per physical machine and allowing up to 4 processors in that physical machine and any number of virtual machines on that physical machine."

Wade was quick to point out that HP does not recommend one Linux vendor, be it Red Hat or Novell, over the other. The recommendation of which Linux distribution should be used depends on what the customer is trying to do, he said.

That said, Novell's offering does offer a particular advantage.

"If a user was interested in virtualization then the Novell subscription bundle would offer the best value," Wade said.