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SAP, Novell form support partnership

SAP and Novell announced last week that SAP is offering support for Novell’s SUSE Enterprise Linux through its Solution Manager, the solution through which customers report and track troubleshooting tickets.

The partnership is designed to cut down on “finger-pointing” that can arise when users running SAP applications on Linux file a ticket which is tracked to a problem with the operating system itself, according to Frank Witte, director of SAP’s global open source office.

Once SAP’s Linux lab determines that the problem is with the OS itself, customers often find they do not have an adequate support contract from their Linux distributor, Witte said. Under the partnership, customers will be able to purchase a “premium” support package from Novell through the Solutions Manager application, he said.

In addition to SUSE, SAP is also certified under Red Hat and Red Flag, a Chinese Linux distribution. Of those, only SUSE is currently included in the Solutions Manager, but Witte said SAP is in negotiations with Red Hat would consider a deal similar to the one with Novell.

SAP is also endorsing SUSE Enterprise Linux as a “preferred platform” and plans to work with Novell on future integration, including virtualiation and stability under high-load situations, Witte said.

Other Linux companies have announced similar programs that aim to deliver customers a complete stack with a single point of contact. Oracle, one of SAP’s main rivals, announced in October its Unbreakable Linux, a support program for a clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Red Hat itself unveiled the Red Hat Exchange (RHX) earlier this month, a Web portal through which the Linux vendors distributes and supports third-party applications.

But Witte said the SAP-Novell deal, which was first brainstormed a year and a half ago and ramped up about three months ago, was driven by customer demand and is not a response to other companies.

Yuval Shavit

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