Feeds

Novell SUSE appliance toolkit hugs Amazon EC2

Testing its WorkloadIQ

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Novell might not be sure about what it wants to do with itself, but the company has been pretty clear what it wants you to do with its products. It wants to build virtual software appliances with all kinds of software stacks running inside of virtual machines and atop its SUSE Linux Enterprise distro.

Today, Novell spins up the SUSE Appliance Toolkit 1.1, an online tool that the company unveiled last year as SUSE Studio and improved earlier this year to help developers create virtual software appliances, keep them updated with security patches, and share with their partners privately or through a public gallery.

With the 1.1 release of the toolkit coming out today, Novell is making good on its promise of supporting the deployment of virtual software appliances on Amazon's EC2 compute cloud, which is based on a variant of the Xen hypervisor and supporting its own Amazon Machine Image (AMI) format. SUSE Appliance Toolkit 1.1 can also package up virty software appliances for the KVM hypervisor - including the KVM hypervisor that is in SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 as well as embedded in Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5.5 and Ubuntu 10.04.

Red Hat has also created a stand-alone version of KVM (an open source project that it controls) called Enterprise Virtualization (or RHEV for short). Finally, the updated tool also can spin up an appliance and plunk it into an Open Virtualization Format (OVF) container, which is a semi-portable format that may some day evolve into a truly portable virtual server container.

SUSE Studio went into alpha testing in February 2009, and was an online tool for creating appliances to run atop a streamlined SUSE Linux stack that was in turn plopped into a VMware ESX Server virtual machine. SUSE Studio went into production in July 2009, a few months after the SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 was delivered, and in January 2010, SUSE Studio was transformed into the SUSE Appliance Toolkit, with the intent of supporting a mix of hypervisors used for private and public clouds.

The 1.0 release of the toolkit could spin up software appliances for Xen (from Citrix Systems, Oracle, Red Hat, or SUSE) hypervisors or VMware ESX Server or ESXi hypervisors. It could also spit out images in a raw ISO image so they could be deployed on bare metal, as well as put LiveCD images on USB sticks, CDs, or DVDs. For the ESX Server hypervisors, the toolkit spits out VMDK images (that's a VMware format) and has been tested on ESX Server 3.5 and 4.0; Novell has not yet tested the appliance toolkit's output to see how it supports ESX Server 4.1.

Being able to spin up appliance images for EC2 and spit them out onto the Amazon cloud meshes with Novell's EC2-based SUSE Linux licensing, which was announced back in August. Novell is only selling priority-level (24x7) support contract for SUSE Linux licenses on Amazon, and the pricing through Amazon comes to $50 per month, $140 per quarter, or $480 per year. Assuming you can get a lot of server slices on an internal cloud based on the same iron Amazon is using, the Amazon EC2 pricing for SUSE Linux was considerably higher. But it is not convenience to buy, management, and power your own server, either.

Novell may be open when it comes to hypervisors in the SUSE Appliance Toolkit, and itwas certainly open even when it came to its openSUSE open build service, which predates the toolkit and which allowed companies to spin up SUSE, Ubuntu, Debian, Red Hat, and CentOS images for deployment on bare metal machines. But the openSUSE Build Service didn't help sell SUSE Linux, and the toolkit is absolutely designed to help push modified versions of SUSE Linux into the market and to generate a support revenue stream. So don't look for Novell to package up appliances running anything but SUSE Linux.

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Next page: Redmond love

More from The Register

next story
'Kim Kardashian snaps naked selfies with a BLACKBERRY'. *Twitterati gasps*
More alleged private, nude celeb pics appear online
Wanna keep your data for 1,000 YEARS? No? Hard luck, HDS wants you to anyway
Combine Blu-ray and M-DISC and you get this monster
US boffins demo 'twisted radio' mux
OAM takes wireless signals to 32 Gbps
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
EMC, HP blockbuster 'merger' shocker comes a cropper
Stand down, FTC... you can put your feet up for a bit
Apple flops out 2FA for iCloud in bid to stop future nude selfie leaks
Millions of 4chan users howl with laughter as Cupertino slams stable door
Students playing with impressive racks? Yes, it's cluster comp time
The most comprehensive coverage the world has ever seen. Ever
Run little spreadsheet, run! IBM's Watson is coming to gobble you up
Big Blue's big super's big appetite for big data in big clouds for big analytics
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.