Posted by Frank Rego
Senior Product Manager for SUSE and
Fabio Cavalcanti da Cunha, Technical Product Manager at Microsoft

In November 2006, Microsoft and Novell signed an interoperability agreement and an innovative laboratory concept was created -- a place where architects and developers from both companies could now share experiences, as well as source code, while improving interoperability between Windows and Linux.

When Microsoft Hyper-V was still in development, the laboratory facilitated the joint development and testing of a suite of integration components for Linux servers allowing SUSE Linux Enterprise Server to use the high performance features of the soon-to-be-launched Microsoft virtualization platform. Also on the laboratory agenda were cross platform management, identity federation and document interoperability.

Five years later, the Microsoft and SUSE alliance is still moving forward full throttle on the technical and business fronts. The original integration components, now called the Linux Integration Services, have become a part of the Linux kernel, and collaboration efforts have expanded to include new
projects that address the market demand for mixed-source private and public cloud scenarios. More than 800 customers worldwide have benefited from the success of the interoperability lab and leveraged the resulting solutions to improve performance and decrease costs associated with running a heterogeneous
data center.

In these years, the collaboration between Microsoft and SUSE has evolved and so have the technical engagements. As compute environments have gone largely distributed and cloud based, so now has the interop lab. Most importantly, it has a challenging new agenda: helping customers get the most
benefit out of cloud computing by addressing the interoperability needs it introduces.

This new, virtual interoperability lab is now where Microsoft and SUSE engineers still work jointly, envisioning, developing and testing solutions for cloud computing, virtualization and cross-platform management. Though the physical lab has evolved into a distributed virtual lab, our goal is the same as it was in 2006; making heterogeneous computing easier, whether in the data center or in the cloud.