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Avnet Teams with IBM, Novell to Encourage Linux in SMBs
By John Hazard


Distributor Avnet has parceled together a pair of Linux stacks for the small and midsize business market, with support from IBM and Novell, with an eye to introducing the open-source operating system to first-time users.

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The bundled solutions, "Integrated Stack for Linux," in enterprise infrastructure solution and Web application and database solution versions, are designed to simplify implementation and improve reliability for a technology that has failed to make headway into the resource-starved SMB market.

Both solutions are built to integrate into Microsoft Windows environments. Using Centeris and support and maintenance from IBM and Novell, they are designed to make the open-source OS as reliable as proprietary versions running database and application server software.

"When considering Linux as an alternative for their workloads, SMB customers are concerned with customer support," said Sara Jensen, vice president of product marketing at Avnet Partner Solutions' IBM Business Unit.

"By working closely with IBM and Novell, Avnet Partner Solutions has developed a solution that includes a range of support to match each customer's unique requirements. It's an excellent entry point for new Linux users."

Built on Intel-based IBM xSeries servers and Bladecenter, the bundles enable SMBs to leverage the cost advantages of open source and no-charge production middleware, Avnet officials said. Primarily for print, file and Web applications, Avnet will be providing hardware and software integration for the IBM integrated Linux stack. Novell will provide support through partners.

Novell made its own moves toward the SMB market in January, when it announced it would bundle support and training offerings with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for small and medium-sized businesses via its channel partners.

The Linux support company also ended the practice of forced CLAs (contract license agreements), which attached service and maintenance agreements to the software deal and repelled some customers, especially SMBs.

The goal, Novell officials said, was to provide channel partners, who drive adoption in the SMB market as trusted advisers, with an integrated Linux technology, support and training offering that they could explain, deliver and support for their customers.

The enterprise infrastructure solution includes Centeris Likewise Version 1.0, a management tool facilitating Windows integration and Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9.

The Web application and database solution includes IBM DB2 Universal Database Express-C Edition, a no-license fee database server for development and deployment and IBM WebSphere Application Server Community Edition, an open-source application server for easy deployment of Eclipse, and Java applications.

Web application customers can also deploy Apache and PHP-based applications on DB2 Express-C.

     
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