Government


It’s been a whole year since the ground-breaking Novell-Microsoft Collaboration Agreement was signed and announced. The one-stop shop for official info is here: http://www.moreinterop.com So far, despite the noise in the press, MANY customers have decided to take advantage of the many benefits that the agreement brings to the table. Here’s a list of all 46 of the customers who are allowing us to mention them publicly. They include some of the largest and most recognizable organizations in the world – Wal-Mart, BMW, Costco, HSBC, Nationwide, Siemens and Southwest Airlines just to name a few…

  • 1blu
  • Abraxas Informatik AG
  • ADIF
  • AFG IT Consulting
  • Arsys
  • Arsys Internet S.L.
  • Baker Hughes
  • BATS Trading Inc.
  • BMW AG
  • State of California, Department of Fish and Game
  • State of California Department of Technology Services
  • Cash Converters International Ltd.
  • CHRISTUS Health
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • City of Los Angeles
  • CompuCom Systems Inc.
  • Conductor Tecnologia S.A.
  • Costco Wholesale Corp.
  • Flagstar Bank
  • Fujitsu Services Oy
  • Gordon Food Service
  • Gulfstream Aerospace Corp.
  • hi5 Networks Inc.
  • Host Europe
  • HSBC
  • iLoop Mobile Inc.
  • Leicester City Council
  • Kent County, Mich.
  • Mercury Insurance
  • Nationwide
  • Pioneer Corp.
  • PRISACOM SA
  • Reed Elsevier
  • Riverside County, Calif.
  • Save Mart Supermarkets
  • Siemens Corp.
  • South Carolina Department of Probation, Pardon and Parole Services
  • Southwest Airlines Co.
  • Swiss Post
  • Synovus Financial Corp.
  • TDC Hosting
  • T-Systems Enterprise Services GmbH
  • Wal-Mart
  • Washington State Department of Information Services
  • Westmont College
  • Zabka Polska S.A.
  • Links here, here and here

On top of all these customers, several other developments in the relationship have occurred during the first year. Novell and Microsoft have completed building out and are now doing real engineering work and interoperability testing in the Microsoft and Novell Interoperability Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts. More info on the lab is in the recent press release. Dell signed on as a partner for the agreement as well, working to help Linux customers with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

And most recently, Novell and Microsoft extended the agreement by agreeing to work together to make it easier for all software developers to develop applications for users with disabilities, such as blindness. From the press release:

Microsoft will make available its User Interface Automation (UIA) specification, an advanced accessibility framework that simplifies the development of assistive technology products for people with one or more disabilities, and pledge not to assert any Microsoft patents necessary to implement the specification against anyone, regardless of platform, in the open source and proprietary software communities. In concert, to promote interoperability between leading accessibility frameworks in the market, Novell will develop and deliver an adapter that allows the UIA framework to work well with existing Linux accessibility projects and complement the investments made by IBM Corp. and others. Novell’s work will be open source and will make the UIA framework cross-platform while enabling UIA to interoperate with the Linux Accessibility Toolkit (ATK), which ships with SUSE Linux Enterprise, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Ubuntu Linux. The UIA solution will ensure interoperability of nonvisual access to the next generation of software applications.

“Microsoft’s commitment to make the specification for UIA freely available to others to implement, coupled with Novell’s plans to develop and deliver an adapter that allows Linux accessibility projects to work well with the UIA framework, are tremendous examples of how industry can come together to tackle interoperability problems for blind persons,” said Dr. Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind. “The NFB challenges the entire IT industry to continue to look for creative opportunities such as this to solve longstanding interoperability challenges and reduce development barriers to accessibility.”

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Most IT shops would agree… stolen laptops are a security risk. To combat this problem, many organizations are turning to hard disk encryption as a way to prevent loss of sensitive information. Apparently the US Federal government has even mandated that disk encryption be used on laptops with sensitive data.

SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 includes some support for disk encryption natively – look here for more info. But if that does not fit your needs; or perhaps you’re looking for a cross-platform solution; or something that does “whole disk encryption”….

At least one commercial offering is also available: WinMagic, purveyor of hard disk encryption, recently announced that their product SecureDoc will be supporting hard disk encryption on Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop – their first official support of Linux (traditionally, they’ve been a Windows only vendor). The product is expected to be generally available by September 2007.

According to their press announcement

“In recognition of the increased demand for Linux, WinMagic has developed an end-point encryption solution which will make it simple for Linux users to protect data at rest no matter where it may reside,” said Thi Nguyen-Huu, CEO of WinMagic Inc. “In developing and testing SecureDoc for the Linux environment, WinMagic’s main focus was to provide the marketplace with an encryption product that will not yield on performance, functionality, or ease of use,” Nguyen-Huu continued. “Our support for Linux is yet another sign of WinMagic’s dedication to open system standards and to furthering those standards for the data encryption market place.”

(Updated) Found another commercial offering for Linux hard disk encryption… CheckPoint’s Pointsec Hard Drive Encryption. Supports SUSE and Red Hat.

(Updated, Oct 9) Here’s a non-commercial “free” product for entire hard disk encryption… TrueCrypt. Although it does not do “whole disk encryption” it does do partition-level encryption. According to the website it supports openSUSE and Ubuntu.

What’s been your experience with hard drive encryption thus far?? Any other vendors in this space you might be aware of?

If you’re in the Albany NY area this week, stop by the Goverment Technology Conference at the government plaza (under the “Egg”) on Thursday the 27th of September and you’ll learn all about how to take advantage of Open Source in Government.

Here’s the agenda and though pre-registration is closed, you can get in at the event the morning of.

See you there!

RossB

According to an SGI press release and article on CNN.com, they’ve had several recent customer wins. Here’s a list of the organizations they specifically mentioned who are using SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 on their recently purchased SGI servers:

  • IFREMER, the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea
    • SGI Altix ICE 8200 blade cluster powered by 256 Intel Xeon cores and a 16TB SGI InfiniteStorage 4500 system
  • The Center for Parallel Computing (NACAD) at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro: UFRJ)
    • 152 Intel Xeon cores and 304GB of memory. UFRJ also upgraded its SGI Altix 450 system to a configuration with 32 Intel Itanium 2 processor cores and 64GB of memory. The SGI systems, which run SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 from Novell, are backed by an expanded 32TB SGI InfiniteStorage 4050 network attached storage solution.
  • University of Minnesota Supercomputing Institute for Digital Simulation and Advanced Computation
    • 2,048-core SGI Altix XE 1300 cluster,… Outfitted with more than 4TB of memory across 256 compute nodes. Minnesota’s system also is linked via a high-bandwidth InfiniBand connection and runs SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 from Novell
  • Dedic, the contact center company from Portugal Telecom Group
    • Powered by a total of 56 Intel Xeon cores and 72GB of memory
  • Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP), School of Chemical Engineering
    • 136-core, 272GB SGI Altix XE1300 cluster supported by an 8TB network-attached SGI InfiniteStorage 350 solution
  • Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP), CENAPAD, a National Center for High-Performance Computing
    • 176-core SGI Altix 450 compute solution and a combination of new and upgraded SGI InfiniteStorage systems that added more than 56TB of capacity
  • The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in Phoenix AZ
    • SGI Altix 4700 system with 576GB memory and 48 Intel Itanium 2 cores running Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10
  • University of West Florida’s School of Science and Engineering
    • SGI Altix 450 system with 32 Intel Itanium 2 Dual Cores (64 core total) and 248GB memory, with SUSE Enterprise Linux 10
  • European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EGBL)
    • 256GB of memory, all of which can be made available to a single data mining problem, the 16-core SGI Altix 450 server

I don’t know about you, but I’m always impressed by the compute power that organizations are implementing these days… especially when talking about SGI.

Looking for more examples of who’s using SUSE Linux Enterprise? Stop by Novell’s customer success home page or the list of Novell press releases and see who else has a documented success story for SUSE Linux Enterprise.

Overview

Do you really understand the shift in models that has occurred with the introduction of Enterprise versions of Open Source products? Let’s take a look at Subscription and License models and why one might make more sense for your needs than the other.

Proprietary Licenses

First off, most if not all traditionally commercial software is licensed with a proprietary license that has serious and onerous restrictions. For example, Microsoft and many other companies (including Novell) have large portfolios of proprietary software that has a EULA (End User License Agreement) which among other things typically states that the vendor has all the rights in the licensing situation, there are no warranties or guarantees and effectively you can lose the right to use that software/code for almost any type of violation of the License terms.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Proprietary Licenses are wrong, heck, I have books on the market and those are certainly not just free for the taking, intellectual property is important, but so is how it’s presented and protected. Imagine that you are company, official organization or country that uses such proprietary software for your needs and suddenly the vendor exercises the right to deny you that use of their software, what can you do? More on protecting yourself from this situation later.

Open Source Licenses

There are many sources for understanding the Open Source and Free Software licensing models, suffice it to say that my explanation will be a wrapup and condensation of all those sources.

Effectively, the Free Software and Open Source licenses are a guarantee of openness, and not an attempt to restrict peoples usage of the code by control and charging for access. For example, if a government grant is used to write a particular project’s code, there are those who very convincingly argue that the code from such a funded project should at the very least be Public Domain, ie free for all to take and to whatever they should wish with, commercial, public or internal.

Some proponents of Free Software and Open Source would make it more restrictive, that all important software should be licensed under a model where if you make any changes or modifications to the code that those changes must be made freely and easily available to all who want it, and that your changed version of the code must be labeled clearly as such.

The very fact that the licenses such as the GPL make it easy to understand how you can use and benefit from the code licensed under that model makes it much more likely that those who need the most unfettered access to the code will pick that model to run their mission critical processes on.

The Protections Free Software/Open Source Gives

When you use Open Source-licensed products, you have to realize that if you follow the license’s terms, you cannot be denied usage of that code under any circumstances. It’s controversial to use such examples, but very illustrative to say that you can use Free Software and Open Source for any purpose, such as a large corporation’s datacenter, a small mom & pop hardware store, a revolutionary movement, a gun shop, a community bank or an abortion clinic. The key is to realize that there is no danger that you will lose your ability to use the software, no matter what business or activity you conduct with the software, as long as you keep the terms of the license agreement. That’s not to say that various law enforcement or regulatory authorities won’t disagree with WHAT you DO, but you can’t lose the rights to the code just because someone disagrees with your chosen profession or method of making money.

Where Subscriptions Matter

When you have Open code being used for business or commerce, there is a certain stress that comes to make sure that the code is properly maintained, updated, patched, fixed and supported. For example, if you really like what openSUSE does, the product really makes it easy to use for your business, but you don’t really have the staff to maintain it and keep up with the patches and fixes, then it makes sense to use a supported Enterprise edition, such as SUSE Linux Enterprise Server or Desktop, where the whole burden for support, patch/fix and updating of the code base and collected distribution falls upon the vendor (Novell/SUSE) instead of your already overworked staff.

Subscriptions are a very good deal for a commercial entity, they offer many things such as the above, but also when you’re subscribed to SLE, you have the most effective upgrade protection (my, how Microsoft has almost ruined that phrase, hmm?) that you can get.

SLE products have a 7 year life cycle, from the initial release to the effective end of life, so a subscription to SLES for example would entitle you to use any supported/in lifecycle version that you wanted, they’re all supported and being updated until they reach end of life.

The Bottom Line

Oh, and don’t forget one of the best things about subscriptions with SUSE Linux Enterprise, we offer subscriptions on the physical machine, the entire machine, even virtual instances of the same OS on that machine, so one subscription gives you the right to run as many virtualized instances as you can possibly pack on that machine. We also offer blade-rack subscriptions, where a bladcenter/bladesystem is subscribed at the chassis level, usually breaking even about blade 5 or so, giving you substantial savings.

CFO’s LOVE subscription models, they are flat, easily negotiable and usually stay at a particular level for several years, all traits in a contract that endear it to a CFO’s oft-flinty heart.

RossB

Another major win for SUSE Linux Enterprise – this time in India! From the press release

The Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu (ELCOT) in India is rolling out SUSE Linux Enterprise across 30,000 desktops and 1,880 servers in Tamil Nadu’s schools, after ELCOT itself has migrated its entire IT infrastructure from Microsoft Windows to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop from Novell.

They are so excited about the benefits they’ve seen from their adoption of open source, they even created their own success story video and are sharing it on YouTube. The video highlights their use and experience with SUSE Linux Enterprise, common questions, and even talks about the opportunities that this strategy is opening for them — including being able to bring an ATM to market for 1/5 the cost of competitors! Very cool! Here’s where you can see the official Novell success story and PDF.

More Novell announcements from Linux World.

I remember during a recent customer briefing, that one of the attendees was primarily concerned with power savings and energy savings in the data center. Do you have a major interest in these “green” initiatives and what IT can do to help?

In the Linux World speech Novell CEO Ron Hovsepian gave yesterday, he highlighted some of our initiatives in that space. Not a lot of detail, but a good/quick review.

Check out the video clip here on CNet.

More green-related articles.

More Novell announcements from Linux World.

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