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What about other servers?

While Novell has no plans to support Sparc, Power, or Itanium platforms and their unique hypervisors and other virtualization technologies at this time, the company is looking into how it might interface with IBM mainframes and the z/VM hypervisor that is used to support the mainframe variant of Linux.

SUSE Linux has around an 80 per cent share of Linux licenses on System z mainframes, according to Novell, with Red Hat having most of the remaining 20 per cent alongside a few shops who rolled their own code. Mainframes and supercomputing clusters are two areas where Novell has better Linux market share compared to Red Hat.

While Novell has ceded control of supercomputer clusters to Adaptive Computing, Bright Computing, Platform Computing, and others, it is not outside the realm of possibility that Novell's Cloud Manager can't be tweaked to create something we'll call HPC Manager. If supercomputing shops begin to adopt virtualized server instances – something they have resisted doing because they don't like the CPU, memory, and I/O overhead that server virtualization imposes – to make reconfiguring clusters easier, then the changes that Novell will have to make to create an HPC Manager will be minimal.

Novell has finished building a plug-in for Cloud Manager that lets it control instances out on Amazon's EC2 public cloud, and it's putting this into technology preview today with the first release. Grubin would not say when it would be ready for primetime, and would not say what other public clouds would get adapters but conceded that Rackspace Hosting and Terremark were "on the radar."

Novell has no plans at this time to open source Cloud Manager, and is working out how to contribute to the OpenESB and GlassFish communities now controlled by Oracle.

Novell is also not providing pricing information for Cloud Manager, but Grubin says the base configuration will come with the presentation and management server and licenses to manage 25 workloads. A workload is an operating system, middleware, and an application stack rolled up into a VM. Support packs for additional workloads will be sold in increments of 50 workloads. ®

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