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Christmas comes early for chameleons: SUSE feels jolly after closing Rancher deal

Kubernetes, Kubernetes, how shalt I manage thou, Kubernetes?

SUSE has finalised its purchase of Kubernetes management specialist Rancher Labs as industry talk of an impending IPO for the Linux veteran circulates.

While keeping shtum on the sums involved, the duo said existing product subscriptions would "remain in full force and effect according to their terms" but future versions of SUSE's Container as a Service (CaaS) would be based on Rancher's technology.

The adoption of Rancher for SUSE's CaaS platform is not entirely surprising. The overlap is clear; CaaS is "is an enterprise class container management solution" and, while SUSE's take has reached version 4.5, an infusion of Rancher's technology is inevitable.

SUSE has been on a bit of a roll of late, reporting impressive growth for the fourth quarter of its fiscal year. It claimed a 21 per cent year-on-year increase in customer deals worth more than $1m and trumpeted 15 consecutive quarters of year-over-year increases in cloud annual contract value.

Handy, if rumours of a 2021 IPO for the chameleon-obsessed Linux vendor turn out to be true. Reports last month placed a possible €5bn valuation on the company should EQT, which bought the company from Micro Focus in 2018 for $2.5bn, pursue an offering.

Micro Focus itself has seen revenues decline by approximately 10 per cent to $3bn for FY2020 compared to the previous year. CEO Stephen Murdoch remarked: "We are in extraordinary times as a result of COVID-19."

As for SUSE, the company told The Register in August that it "didn't have the capacity to do what we've just done with Rancher" under Micro Focus.

With the Rancher deal now closed, SUSE's charge to the Edge with Kubernetes will continue apace. "A combined SUSE and Rancher provides the only enterprise Kubernetes platform that manages all of the world's Kubernetes distros, regardless of what underlying Linux distro they use and whether they run in public clouds, private data centers or edge computing environments," said Sheng Liang, former Rancher CEO and, as of today, the new president of Engineering and Innovation at SUSE.

The duo have also professed their commitment to open source, with Liang insisting the company will keep contributing to upstream open-source projects and "continue providing true 100 per cent open-source solutions".

Handy, because as Frank Strecker, SVP, public cloud managed services and big data at T-Systems, observed in his praise for the venture: "Some open-source companies are more open than others." ®

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