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Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10

The Upshot

With the release of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10, Novell takes some of the fear out of installation for those who cut their teeth on Windows Server. Strong application-level security, built-in support for virtualization and an intuitive administration interface provide a solid foundation for a wide range of open-source and commercial enterprise applications.

Novell's SLES has two main competitors: other Linux distributions (most notably Red Hat, the only enterprise-level Linux distribution) and Microsoft Windows. Novell has plenty of experience coexisting with Windows, from its earliest NetWare days. SLES continues building on that experience. Windows shops will find the tools Novell supplies intuitive enough to add Linux servers without breaking a sweat.

Novell provides a generous selection of tools, including mail-server software, virtualization tools and a host IPS--all of which Windows shops must purchase and install separately. The virtualization software remains quirky, and automatic security updates are free to licensed users only, but the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. Inclusion of such strong components as the YaST management tool and AppArmor security software keep Novell's latest version of SUSE Linux unparalleled in its ease of installation, use and administration.

$349, two-CPU system license and one year of upgrade protection; or $799, one year of technical support and one year of upgrade protection; a training kit bundle; volume licensing available.

You no longer have to be an uber-geek to run a Linux server. With the release of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10, Novell has at last put out a product that's as easy to install, administer and use as a Windows server--in some cases, even easier. And if you're looking for more reasons to make the move, consider the OS' wide range of free development tools, applications for everything from mail to office software, a wide choice of distributions and source code that's freely available. Most important, the OS provides a solid foundation for a vast array of enterprise-level systems--app servers, database servers and file servers, to name a few.

Linux has come in a neat package for years, but only Red Hat and Novell provide enterprise-level support. With this distribution, Novell emphasized SUSE's superior security, thanks to its AppArmor application-level security service, virtualization with Xen 3.0 and improved software and system management, using the YaST management tool.

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