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SUSE isn’t offering an AI product; it’s offering a platform on which businesses can build their own private, open-source AI services.

Berlin: Almost all the AI powers want customers to use their chatbots, their large language model (LLM), and, by the way, trust them with information. Not SUSE. The leading European Linux and open-source company, with its SUSE AI strategy, wants to help businesses move into the generative AI space. This ambitious plan, announced at SUSECon, aims to bring open-source, secure and enterprise-grade generative AI (GenAI) to businesses of all sizes.

As Pilar Santamaria, SUSE’s VP of AI Worldwide, passionately explained, “Customers realize the promise of democratic AI is not a reality for them today. There’s an opportunity gap.” She cited a survey indicating that 84% of customers plan to move to open-source GenAI solutions for cost and control reasons.

But, Santamaria, whose work with AI includes stints with Cisco, Google, and Microsoft,  emphasized, businesses face a major challenge with current GenAI offerings: “Many companies cannot give their confidential data to a third party. When they try to choose a platform, they realize it’s processing personal data elsewhere on the planet, often non-compliantly. They lack the AI resources and expertise, and models can hallucinate or infringe intellectual property (IP).”

SUSE AI aims to solve these issues by providing a modular, secure vendor—and large language model (LLM)-agnostic GenAI platform built on SUSE’s open-source Linux, Kubernetes, and security offerings. This turnkey solution enables enterprises to run private GenAI solutions on-premises or in the cloud with the LLM of their choice, ensuring data privacy, compliance and cost control.

In particular, Thomas Di Giacomo, SUSE’s Chief Technology and Product Officer, highlighted the role of confidential computing and SUSE’s NeuVector security offering in securing AI workloads: “You get confidential computing for any type of data, even AI data generated during inference, keeping it encrypted between the CPU and memory. NeuVector also secures containerized AI applications at runtime.” With confidential computing, your data is always encrypted at rest, on the network, and in use. In a word, it’s “safe.”

SUSE AI’s privacy-by-design approach allows confidential data processing locally, with enterprise-grade security controls, vulnerability scanning, and the ability to run without an internet connection for restricted use cases. This addresses compliance risks, shadow AI, vendor lock-in, and skyrocketing costs associated with early-stage AI solutions.

In addition, Santamaria said,  “We believe in choice because LLMs are being commoditized. There’s a race to improve accuracy, reduce IP infringement with synthetic data, and separate knowledge, behavior, and skills into purpose-built models optimized for specific use cases,” Santamaria explained. “SUSE AI gives customers the freedom to keep up with innovation and choose the best LLM for their needs.” So, they’ll be able to use the LLM and AI tech of their choice on a private platform, whether on-premise or in the cloud.

To get the AI show on the road, SUSE is launching the SUSE AI Early Access Program. This program will bring together customers, partners, and SUSE’s GenAI experts to shape the future of secure, open-source AI for enterprises. Early Access customers will access the latest SUSE AI builds, work with SUSE consultants, and realize the promise of “Private AI.”

The SUSE AI Early Access program is available today. But, as Dirk-Peter van Leeuwen, SUSE’s CEO, explained, “There’s nothing experimental here.” He expects the SUSE AI program to be released commercially by the end of the year.

With SUSE AI, the company aims to unlock the value of GenAI for customer insights, productivity, data analysis and more while ensuring affordability, control and enhanced security. As Santamaria proclaimed, “We’re making AI democratization a reality for all.”

SUSE’s open approach to AI aligns with its commitment to open-source principles, security and customer choice. By empowering enterprises to harness GenAI on their own terms, SUSE hopes to disrupt the AI market and bring the benefits of this transformative technology to all businesses.