Once SUSE completes a separation from Micro Focus sometime next year, the goal for the again independent company will be to drive continued investments in a range of open source technologies that collectively advance DevOps.
Michael Miller, president of strategy, alliances and marketing for SUSE, said the acquisition by EQT, a private investment firm, is part of a three-to-five-year plan to invest in technologies that complement existing SUSE products and services. Core products and services are centered around a distribution of Linux, the OpenStack cloud management framework, the Cloud Foundry platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment and Kubernetes container orchestration software, he said.
As part of that strategy, Miller said that may mean acquiring complementary open source or proprietary security and management technologies. Any proprietary technology that SUSE would acquire would be turned into an open source project later, he said.
Because it has been operating as an independent business unit, no one should expect to see any significant changes to the overall SUSE strategy beyond making additional investments in products and services or how the company will be going to market in 2019, he noted.
At the core of its strategy is a portfolio of open source PaaS and container-as-as-service (CaaS) environments that organizations of all sizes are employing to drive digital process transformation using custom applications that have now easier to deploy and maintain, Miller said.
Unlike many other investments involving private equity firms, EQT’s decision to acquire the company is being driven by a desire to invest for the long term rather than sell assets off in a piecemeal fashion, Miller noted. Micro Focus this week agreed to sell SUSE to EQT for $2.54 billion in part to help pay for the software assets it gained following a $8.8 billion merger with the software business unit of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE). The company has been part of Attachmate, which Micro Focus acquired in 2014. Earlier this year, Micro Focus CEO Chris Hsu was replaced by Stephen Murdoch, who was COO of Micro Focus.
Once the deal closes, SUSE will become an independent company for the first time since 2003, when it was acquired by Novell. Attachmate acquired Novell in 2010.
It remains to be seen whether SUSE will be spun out as public company or sold off to yet another vendor. For now, however, it may end up with more resources to combat its rivals, including Red Hat, than it would have had as a unit of Micro Focus.
In the meantime, the company—much like Red Hat—should continue to benefit from the massive amounts of research and development being poured into projects such as Kubernetes and OpenStack. At the same time, it continues to invest in Linux. The company recently released SUSE Linux Enterprise 15, SUSE Manager 3.2 and SUSE Linux Enterprise High Performance Computing 15 as part of an effort to drive a multimodal IT strategy around a common code base that includes MicroOS, which is optimized for containers and makes use of the same code base as SUSE Enterprise Linux.
While Red Hat may be the dominant provider of open source operating systems, SUSE has not given up. Meanwhile, the battle for control over open source PaaS and CaaS environments is still in its early stages. In fact, DevOps teams distributed across the enterprise most likely will determine the ultimate victor.