Novell and IBM are trying to make it easier for data-center hardware buyers to deploy Linux on blade servers. Companies can now buy a per-chassis license for Novell SuSE Linux running on IBM blade servers, as opposed to purchasing an individual support license for each blade in the box. The license would cover chassis with up to 14 Linux blade servers, with the choice of Intel, AMD or IBM's Power processors running on the hardware.
The two companies say users can save as much as $17,000 on a single IBM BladeCenter chassis by buying Linux blades this way, as opposed to licensing the software individually per-processor.
This is good news for those running Linux-based blade server data centers; according to IDC, half of the blade servers shipped in the second quarter of this year had Linux pre-installed on them. Although blade server sales still represent a small piece of the overall server picture.
Linux blade servers are a key tool in such areas as geophysical research, genetic mapping and other compute-intensive products, since the technology allows users to pack Linux machines into a tight space, then run the nodes as a cluster, forming one giant virtual processing powerhouse. IBM and HP are dominant in the Linux blade market, but the field is still niche enough that specialty vendors such as Egenera, Penguin Computing and Pogo Linux can find room too.