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Novell Notches New Partners

Linux vendor Novell announced at LinuxWorld in San Francisco a number of partnerships geared toward expanding its presence in the enterprise Linux space.

The Waltham, Mass.-based company has been looking to expand Linux beyond the servers that run on the SUSE platform. One of the partnerships is with Market Start, and it is designed to push Linux and open source applications by supporting the project or a specific vendor's efforts to market and sell their software.

Under the Market Start program, Novell signed six new partnerships: Astaro, a firewall and network security vendor; IT infrastructure monitoring developer GroundWork, InsynQ, a software outsourcing firm; systems integrator Lumen Software, Pentaho, an open source business intelligence vendor; and SugarCRM, an open source CRM developer.

Novell also expanded its agreement with professional open source vendor MySQL AB, which hosts the popular MySQL open source database. Novell will now directly resell MySQL support services, which officials say is the first such agreement between a Linux vendor and MySQL AB.

The MySQL Network is a subscription-based service that provides full technical support, access to software updates and upgrades, as well as alerts and advisories and a knowledge base for users.

MySQL is used by a number of high-profile companies like Yahoo , the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and The Associated Press.

Novell's MySQL inclusion builds on the company's announcement last week to provide support for the JBoss Enterprise Middleware System (JEMS) suite of software.

Dean Patrick, Novell vice president and general manager of operating system platforms and services, said the goal is to deliver a one-stop support shop for Linux, Apache, MySQL and Perl/PHP, otherwise known as LAMP. Having support services for these software components in place will drive enterprise adoption. Novell, he said, has already seen some evidence of that belief in securing partnerships with application providers.

"We've dramatically increased our portfolio of applications now running against SUSE Linux [and] we are also now winning a number of significant enterprise deals," he said at a press conference at LinuxWorld. "I think when you look at the real large enterprise deployments, this is an area of real strength of Novell's because of our history of being a global company working with enterprises around the world."

Novell also announced a partnership Tuesday with VMware, developer of a data center virtualization product that delivers server consolidation, migration, provisioning and workload optimization functionality.

As part of the agreement, Novell will now provide VMware technical support for customers using the software on its Novell product line. Novell will also provide design, consulting and integration services for Novell customers using VMware.

Patrick said the offering will not compete with its ZENworks suite, which provides some of the functionality provided by VMware. He said the expanded relationship provides the company's customers with a choice when rolling out virtualization services.

Novell is one of several companies that announced a pact with VMware to create open standards around virtualization.

AMD , Cisco , Dell , IBM and others joined the company. Partners in the program have access to VMware's source code and interfaces to more quickly bring about open standards in the area.

In related news, Novell announced a significant Linux win in Indiana. The company said the state is moving to Linux to meet the needs of its Affordable Computers for Every Secondary Student (ACCESS) initiative. The state will initially put 1,600 Dell desktop PCs loaded with SUSE Linux as the operating system.

According to Mike Huffman, Indiana Department of Education special assistant for technology, the goal of ACCESS is to provide a one-to-one ratio for students and computers. Ultimately, officials said, more than 300,000 students will be included in the program.

"With Linux desktops providing all of the functionality students need in an open environment at an extremely low cost, schools will be better able to educate students and prepare them for life after high school," Huffman said in a statement.