SUSE Linux, now owned by Attachmate, will unveil some partner and customer surprises at Novell BrainShare (Oct. 10-14, Salt Lake City), the company confirms. Meanwhile, Michael Miller, VP of global alliances and marketing, has been polishing partner and cloud services strategies for SUSE. And Miller has been busy meeting with strategic SUSE partners like Microsoft, SAP, VMware, IBM, Dell, HP and Fujitsu. So, what's the message from Miller to SUSE Linux partners and customers? The VAR Guy got the answer.

First, some background. Attachmate acquired Novell and the SUSE Linux business in April 2011. By May 2011, Attachmate CEO Jeff Hawn declared his commitment to SUSE customers and partners. And by July 2011, Microsoft agreed to pump $100 million into the SUSE relationship.

Now, Miller is adding his voice to the SUSE conversation. His two core messages:

1. SUSE Linux Is Here to Stay: "There’s a misperception in some places about whether SUSE is here to stay," said Miller. "It’s a topic I address directly and proactively. We’re here to stay; we have a mandate to grow this business. If there’s a perception we’ll get stripped down and turned around and sold, that’s wrong. We’re here for growth."

2. SUSE Linux Is a Global, International Business: "Our team is located internationally and our headquarters is in Germany," said Miller. "But that doesn't mean we're Europe-only or Germany-only. We're here for a global play. We're seeing phenomenal growth in Asia Pacific and China in particular. And we've got good presence in Latin America, just to name a few regions generating momentum."

Also of Note

Some other highlights from the conversation:

1. Business Starts With People: Miller emphasized the point that he's been busy meeting with key executives and partners at Microsoft, SAP, VMware, IBM, Dell, HP, Fujitsu and more. "It's really about connecting with our core alliance partners; we've got some exciting surprises coming with them."

2. Marketing and Partner Relationships: "Our key priority is to grow our business through strategic alliances. And on the marketing side, we really want to promote and unleash the SUSE brand. We'll define who we are and what we're going to do with SUSE. We'll have more details at BrainShare but in short we're focused on profitable growth."

3. SUSE and Cloud Computing: "We see a real demand from both partners and customers; there's real demand for a flexible, open and open-source-based cloud infrastructure for both public and private clouds. We're very interested in seeing SUSE Linux as the foundation for those trends."

In recent months, he adds, SUSE on Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) has experienced double-digit month over month growth in terms of utilization rates.

4. SUSE Desktop and Mobile: "Those are more of a niche, to be really direct, particularly in the mobile space. We're really focused on the enterprise, business and server running in the cloud. We want to help customers and partners run the most demanding, data intensive workloads."

5. Management Team: Miller indicated that SUSE has the right management expertise in place, and the team is working closely with Attachmate CEO Jeff Hawn, he added. "We've got the right team to march forward. Our team has been in place since right after the close of the transaction. It's a great team of practical minded people. Everyone is firing on all cylinders.

Key Competition

Miller certainly sounds upbeat. But SUSE faces entrenched competition from Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Plus, Red Hat is connecting the dots between multiple efforts (RHEL, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, OpenShift and CloudForms) to build a comprehensive cloud strategy.

Can SUSE carve out unique market and partner opportunities? The VAR Guy expects to hear more during Novell BrainShare in October 2011.