In an effort to streamline the management of operating system licenses on blade servers, IBM and Novell this month will begin offering SuSE Linux 9 on a per-chassis subscription basis.
Instead of having to buy a single license for each blade server, end users will be able to buy one subscription that will cover whatever blades they choose to run within IBM's BladeCenter chassis. The chassis holds a maximum 14 blades and supports, Intel-, AMD- and Power-based systems. Starting price for the annual subscription, expected to be available by the end of the month, is US$2,792.
"If a customer were to buy a fully loaded chassis and were to deploy all 14 blades, on the full chassis it would save them US$17,000," says Juhi Jotwani, director of xSeries and BladeCenter solutions at IBM.
End users will realize savings with as few as eight blade servers in the chassis, she says. The idea is to give end users the flexibility to add and remove blade servers and reprovision systems as workloads demand without having to worry about operating system licenses, Jotwani says.
HP made a similar announcement in August when it said that it would begin offering its BladeSystem servers bundled with management software and Red Hat Enterprise Linux, all priced on a per-chassis basis. Jotwani says IBM's offering is different because it is strictly the Linux operating system and does not include management software.
"We almost think of [HP's offering] as a way of upselling their management tools, where this is just the pure chassis license for the operating system, giving the customer more control and letting them scale and buy more servers and software as they need," she says.