VMware has posted an End of Availability Announcement for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES).
Virtzilla used to hand full, and fully-supported, SLES licences to some vSphere buyers. As Vmware's page describing the offering states, the licences came “complete with patches and updates”. Those don't come free: SUSE's support pricing page lists prices starting at $US349 per physical server and $529 for a virtual server.
That price is important because VMware uses SUSE as the operating system for its virtual appliances. Indeed, SUSE proudly states SLES is “integrated” with Virtzilla's appliances. With free licences no longer on offer, future users running a VMware appliance may find it is more expensive to do so if they choose to subscribe to SUSE's support services.
Gartner's Michael Warrilow, who covers virtualisation for the analyst firm, told Vulture South VMware likely had a deal with SUSE to cover the cost of providing patches and updates to users. It appears likely VMware has terminated any such arrangement.
Warrilow also said he doesn't feel the change will be much of an impost on VMware users, or tarnish the vendor's reputation among users.
The EOL announcement is at pains to point out that nothing changes for current users, at least in terms of being able to use SUSE licences handed out in the past. If you like the idea of getting your hands on the licence, that is still possible provided you do so before July 25, 2014.