VANCOUVER, British Columbia – SUSE will soon have a new owner, but it remains focused on easing the cloud native migration path for enterprise customers. In an interview with SDxCentral at this week’s Open Source Summit event in Vancouver, British Columbia, SUSE CTO Thomas Di Giacomo said the company plans to invest more into its core operations, but will also look at new acquisitions.
That investment push comes on the heels of Swedish private equity fund EQT VIII announcing plans to acquire SUSE for $2.5 billion. SUSE has been owned by Micro Focus since late 2014 where it has operated as a semi-independent business under CEO Nils Brauckmann.
SUSE’s new owner plans to leave the company as an independent entity though with additional financial backing. That strategy will support strengthening SUSE’s position as an open source player both organically and through consolidation.
“We will be looking to grow through acquisitions,” Di Giacomo said.
SUSE is also looking to boost its headcount. The firm has increased its workforce by 20 percent since last year pushing its total employment base to around 1,400 workers. More than half of those employees are focused on development and support, and Di Giacomo notes the firm expects to add another 200 total positions in the near term.
“We have 200 open positions at the moment,” he said.
The company also touted its recent financial growth. For the six-month period ending April 30, SUSE reported a 17 percent year-over-year increase in revenues to $182.9 million. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) surged 23 percent over the same time period to $56 million. That growth came on the back of its previously reported $320 million in sales for the 12 months ended Oct. 31, 2017.
SUSE was founded in 1992, and it was the first provider of an enterprise-grade open source Linux operating system. Di Giacomo explained that this history has provided it with a business model very different from many of its newer rivals in the space.
“We don’t have the same challenges as someone like Docker,” Di Giacomo said. “They don’t have recurring revenues from their legacy operations to help support growth in new areas. Since we have a buffer with our Linux history we can invest in emerging technologies.”
SUSE remains very active in the Linux space. Earlier this month it rolled out a custom-tailored Linux kernel for enterprises running its Linux Enterprise Server 15 platform on the Microsoft Azure cloud that provides up to 25 percent faster network throughput and a 23 percent drop in average latency for on-demand instances.
OpenStack, Cloud Foundry, Kubernetes
In addition to Linux, SUSE has a strong history with OpenStack. It purchased some of Hewlett Packard Enterprises’ OpenStack and Cloud Foundry assets in 2017. And this past May, SUSE unveiled its OpenStack Cloud 8 release based on OpenStack Pike.
The company is also very active in the Cloud Foundry ecosystem and has a growing business around Kubernetes. The company in April moved to tie those two components together into a single managed platform. It used most of the Cloud Foundry components, but tapped Kubernetes instead of a Cloud Foundry product for deploying containers.
Jennifer Kotzen, senior product marketing manager at SUSE, at that time said that it was important to provide both Kubernetes and the Cloud Foundry interface for users. But, the company does see a point in moving more work to Kubernetes.
Di Giacomo echoed that sentiment this week, noting that SUSE was expanding its use of Kubernetes as a deployment platform. But it also plans to remain with Cloud Foundry as a way to further abstract management for enterprise customers.
“[Cloud Foundry] is lightweight and makes it easy to develop and expand any Kubernetes infrastructure,” he said.
This broad support is becoming increasingly important for enterprises that are running through various stages of their cloud native transformation. Di Giacomo said he views the company as a vital buffer for its customers in being able to support legacy systems while also adopting new ones.
“That is really part of the value we bring,” Di Giacomo said. “We help enterprise customers by supporting those open source platforms that are mature or that we see will have a future.”