Novell Wednesday released the beta of its new "Just Enough" SUSE operating system targeted as a platform for Linux-based appliances.
The company is releasing the beta in conjunction with the creation of the SUSE Appliance Program targeted at independent software vendors (ISV) who want to package their applications with SUSE Linux on an appliance.
In March, Novell unveiled a strategy that focuses on providing modular network infrastructure services to corporations including distributions of its core OS software tuned for physical or virtual servers. The services, which can be plugged together, also include virtualisation, orchestration, policy, identity, compliance, management and collaboration tools.
"The appliance initiative is not necessarily front and centre as part of the overall strategy so I don't see it as a main building block but it will become one over time," says Al Gillen, an analyst with IDC. "It is very much a step in the right direction."
The Just Enough Operating System (JeOS), which is available now in beta, is a version of SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 SP2 that is reduced to just the components needed to run any given application and/or its third-party components.
The JeOS beta is available in several virtual image formats, including VMware VMDK, Xen and as a raw hard disk image. Novell plans to release later this year a Microsoft VHD format that will run on Windows Hyper-V, which is slated to ship in the fall.
Novell said that ISVs whose applications are certified to run on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server would be able to carry those certifications onto JeOS.
As part of the SUSE Appliance Program, ISV's will be able to create appliances that can run on x86 hardware or as virtual machines.
Novell says it plans to work with ISVs to tune the operating system as the foundation for appliances. Novell plans to release several new components to facilitate the work, including an automated tool to build appliances.
Novell rival Red Hat in November announced the Red Hat Appliance Operating System (AOS). Red Hat plans to provide ISVs with a preconfigured version of AOS for use on appliances. Similar to the Novell plan, Red Hat will package with AOS a virtual appliance software development kit.