What the heck is Novell and VMware announcing?  At first read, it would appear to be a lot of sound and fury, signifying very little.  Novell is announcing it will support SUSE/SLES as a guest in a VMware virtual machine with a little bit of SAP migration from UNIX brought into play.  These aren’t that interesting; support for an operating system as a guest is fact of life these days and the SAP migration seems thrown in as a bone for a UNIX migration application play.

What’s interesting here is the fact that VMware has in essence decided to fight Microsoft’s integration of Hyper-V with Windows Server by creating more integration with SUSE Linux.  And in doing so, they chose this over RHEL (no doubt due to KVM) and other operating systems.  In essence, this is an OEM deal for SUSE in terms of VMware being the go to market play.

The other part of the announcement has to do with SUSE Linux being the “distribution of choice” for VMware appliances (note: our backup appliance runs on VMware 3.5 and VMware vSphere 4 in both ESXi and ESX, and runs on top of CentOS, so there’s a conflict of interest here in terms of my opinion.)   It’s my opinion that this isn’t a big deal – people are going to run appliances on hypervisors based on their environment of choice and won’t care much about VMware’s partnership here.

What does this have to do with backup?  Well, it’s fascinating to me that several years ago everyone was preaching the end of heterogeneity because either Microsoft was going to take over the world or VMware was.  What’s occurring is more flexibility and more choice, not less.  From the standpoint of backup, it boils down to meaning that you really want to make sure that whatever backup solution you choose, that you have true heterogeneous platform, operating system, hypervisor, storage, etc. support.