by Peter Galli on November 18, 2008 10:16pm

It is two years this month since Microsoft and Novell struck their ground-breaking technical collaboration agreement, a move that has effectively ensured greater interoperability between Windows Server and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

This technical collaboration has already resulted in a number of milestones, including two new offerings announced today: the availability in the first half of 2009 of an Advanced Management Pack for SUSE Linux Enterprise for Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2, and a free beta download of Novell's Moonlight, a rich media application.

Some analysts, vendors and enterprises have said the company that develops effective cross-platform management tools will have an advantage and strategic differentiator over its competitors who do not. Microsoft is already doing that.

The Microsoft Operations Manger 2007 Cross Platform Extensions enable the assessment and management of Windows and Linux servers from a single, unified console, eliminating the costs and complexities of having multiple management consoles. The Advanced Management Pack extends this Linux monitoring capability.

Also, given the current tough economic environment, this solution helps reduce training costs since staff only need to be trained on one management tool for both Windows and Linux environments.

Attendees at the Microsoft TechEd EMEA conference in Barcelona earlier this month got to see a technical preview of the Advanced Management Pack, whose release will coincide with that of Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2.

A beta of Novell's Moonlight, an open source implementation of Microsoft Silverlight, will also be released going forward as an open source plug-in for the Firefox web browser.  Moonlight brings Linux-based users the same high-definition media capabilities currently available for the Windows and Apple environments.

So, expect to see a lot more solutions in the next year that promote interoperability and help ease customer pain-points  across their heterogeneous environments.