IBM, Novell Bet on Linux Blade Subscriptions

IBM and Novell have conjured a new subscription plan to make it easier and more cost-effective for corporate customers to run and manage Novell’s Linux operating system on IBM blade servers.

The option calls for a single subscription of Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for as many as 14 blades within the BladeCenter chassis, regardless of whether a customer is using Intel, AMD and IBM Power-based chips.

Users will be able to configure, re-provision and add blades on the fly within an IBM BladeCenter chassis without having to purchase additional subscriptions to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. Customers can mix and match any number of blade servers with in a single chassis with this single subscription.

IBM said in a statement the new plan will help customers control how much they spend by reducing the need for separate subscriptions on each blade server.

This new pricing model starts at $2,792 per annual Novell upgrade protection subscription, and will be available later this month.

The plan is a departure from traditional offerings that bundle multiple server subscriptions and charge based on chassis orders. Big Blue reasoned that customers could pare their subscriptions costs by as much as $17,000, depending on the blade configuration.

The move is especially geared toward ensuring the proliferation of Novell Linux on IBM blades at a time when Linux is the fastest growing server OS and IBM is the market leader in blade server sales and shipments.

Sales of Linux machines grew
45.1 percent from the second quarter of 2004, making of up 32.1 percent of servers shipped.

The deal could help Novell find more placement for its enterprise server as it competes with Red Hat’s OS, and help IBM extend its lead in modular computing.

In related news, IBM and Novell are also collaborating on the formation of, an organization aimed at promoting and furthering blade technology.

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