Dell OEM Systems, SUSE Partner on Linux-Based Enterprise Systems

By Alison Diana  |  Print this article Print

Dell OEM Systems and SUSE are creating new Linux-based enterprise systems for businesses that incorporate computers into their final products or solutions, such as MRI manufacturers and firewall appliances.

Dell OEM Systems and SUSE are now offering customizable, integrated systems based on SUSE Linux Enterprises, and supported worldwide by Dell, the companies announced on Jan. 24.

The two organizations are targeting the vast market of businesses that incorporate computers into their final products or solutions—but who are not computer manufacturers. Dell OEM Systems customers, for example, include MRI manufacturers and makers of firewall appliances, said Jeff Otchis, Americas marketing director at Dell OEM Solutions, in an interview.

Often, these companies manufacture their own computers in-house—a time-consuming, expensive side-road away from their primary businesses. Or they turn to regional OEMs that typically cannot offer the same level or range of support a global provider like Dell, Otchis told Channel Insider.

"Customers have really realized the value of partnering with a Tier One computer manufacturer. You don’t have to worry about quality or support," he said. "We can help them come to market quickly, much more efficiently and focus on differentiating themselves from their customers."

The market for embedded systems, sometimes called intelligent systems, is expected to reach more than 4 billion units and create $2 trillion in revenue by 2015 vs. $1 trillion in revenue last year, according to IDC. In 2015, these systems will account for about one-third of all unit shipments of major electronic systems, compared with 19 percent in 2010, the research company said. These systems collect data and automate actions in consumer and industrial applications, including vending machines, refrigerators, cars, and assembly lines.

Use of Linux to power these and other devices is also increasing, researchers found. In one Gartner study, more than half of 547 IT leaders in 11 countries surveyed have adopted OSS as part of their IT strategy; almost one-third cited benefits such as flexibility, increased innovation, shorter development times, and faster procurement processes, as well as lower total cost of ownership, Gartner reported.

Through this agreement, Dell and SUSE are simplifying the process and extending their existing relationship, Kerry Kim, director of solution marketing at SUSE told Channel Insider.

"We’re seeing increasing demand for companies wanting to deploy integrated systems – take hardware and software and customize it for a specific need--as companies are realizing, 'Yes, I used to do this myself, but I’m better off letting the folks who are expert do it because, at the end of the day, it’s much most cost-effective,'" he said. "Dell's got a really good supply chain foundation of expertise. They’ve got a great factory for turning out [systems]. And we’ve got a really good customizable Linux operating system."

Dell will use SUSE Studio, an image customization and provisioning tool, to build and deploy application stacks based on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server onto Dell OEM Solutions’ embedded, built-to-order, and customized solutions. With SUSE Studio, Dell can help its OEM customers reduce the complexity and overhead costs associated with bringing integrated systems to market.

Perhaps the biggest challenge is changing the mindset of organizations that have grown used to building their own systems, said Otchis.

"There are a lot of companies out there that have historically done this themselves. They may already be working with SUSE or a variety of Linux. We’re offering them the opportunity to get out of that, and focus on what they do best," he said. "A lot of companies up until now have not had the choice of incorporating Linux into their operating system in this well-supported fashion. They’ve been doing it on their own."

Dell OEM Solutions technologies, based on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, are slated to become available in the first half of the year. Partners, including solution providers, can get involved now, Kim said.