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IBM, Novell To Offer Chassis-Based Blade Linux Licensing

IBM and Novell are making it easier to buy and manage blade servers by offering a one-price licensing agreement for Novell SUSE Linux on IBM's BladeCenter chassis.

Under the new subscription option, which the companies jointly unveiled Wednesday, customers of IBM's blade servers would pay for one license for SUSE Linux to cover the entire BladeCenter chassis, regardless of how many and which types of blade servers are in it. The new licensing model is expected to be available late this month.

The chassis licensing scheme can be a big money-saver for customers, said Juhi Jotwani, director of IBM's BladeCenter and xSeries solutions. The license covers up to 14 Intel-based, AMD-based or PowerPC-based servers, either single- or multi-processor units. A one-year license for the full chassis lists for $2,792, and a three-year license costs $6,980, meaning that a customer can save up to $17,100 over a three-year period using the chassis license, she said.

For example, a one-year operating system license for SUSE Linux for a blade server with two Intel processors costs $349, while the same license for a PowerPC-based server costs $689, according to Jotwani. Using the PowerPC license as a base, it would cost customers about $24,080 to license SUSE Linux for three years for 14 servers, compared with $6,980 using the new chassis license, she said.

And such savings are only a start, said Jeff Medeiros, CEO of rs-unix, a San Francisco-based IBM partner. The solution provider has been putting Linux on IBM blade servers for about eight months, but as with any operating system, the management of server licenses becomes difficult over time as the number of servers grows, he said, noting that there’s a new license to track every time a new blade is inserted into a chassis.

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