Following Microsoft’s desktop software deal with the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) in 2004, Novell has recently announced that it would be providing security and systems management software for the English NHS through the National Programme for IT. However, it may be another part of the new Novell contract that will take some shine off the earlier deal for Microsoft.
Novell has signed a three-year licensing deal with the UK’s National Health Service.
Microsoft’s landmark 2004 agreement was so large that it brought down the contract costs through volume discounts for the rest of the UK public sector. This arrangement enabled the NHS to use up to 900,000 licenses, with those licenses being held on a perpetual basis rather than being annually renewed. At the time of the deal, it was agreed that the option to use open source software in the future would continue to be evaluated by the NHS.
Novell’s three-year GBP21.8 million ($39 million) agreement should also be an important deal, although perhaps in a rather different way. The new Novell licensing agreement allows NHS-wide use of Novell Identity Manager for security and access control, and Novell ZENworks for desktop management. Additionally, it also includes big discounts on Novell Open Enterprise Server, the technology that Novell acquired when it bought German Linux distributor SuSE.
Novell has specifically included Open Enterprise Server so that the large number of NetWare users in the NHS can transfer their existing deployments to a Linux platform, rather than migrating to other products such as those from Microsoft. To standardize technology deployed across the NHS, UK Department of Health agency NHS Connecting for Health will promote adoption of specifically designed Novell solution packages across the entire NHS IT infrastructure.
Unfortunately for Microsoft, its earlier agreement with the NHS didn’t include server software, and the company may have missed a trick, as with highly accessible pricing, plus the proven support of Novell, the option to deploy Linux for purposes other than hosting NetWare becomes very attractive
It will be interesting to see how many NHS trusts decide that the Linux platform is now a viable alternative.
Source: OpinionWire by Butler Group (www.butlergroup.com)