Novell Inc is lining up the next step in the integration of NetWare with Linux, providing an upgrade path to take NetWare customers to Linux and a future direction for NetWare.
The Waltham, Massachusetts-based company’s new Open Enterprise Server product will go into public beta testing in early November, and will provide the company’s networking and systems management software as well as both NetWare 7.0 and SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 9.
We have transitioned all of our existing products into Linux, said Novell chairman and CEO, Jack Messman, unveiling the product at the company’s BrainShare Europe conference in Barcelona. If you want to use NetWare forever, you can use OES as the next version of that.
Having acquired SuSE Linux and Ximian, Linux is now Novell’s ongoing strategic platform, but the company was quick to point out that those that want to stay on NetWare will be able to do so.
The NetWare you know and love is not going away, Messman told the company’s partners and customers. OES is an easy path to introduce Linux to your environment.
OES provides a combination of open source and proprietary Novell products that Messman said would be the model Novell continues to follow despite its recent conversion to open source. The future’s going to be both source, not open and not proprietary, he said. We need to have proprietary software as well because as more software is contributed to open source, more people will demand proprietary software to run on top of it.
The company will continue to monitor the development of open source alternatives, however, and is prepared to drop proprietary products in favor of open source alternatives as it has done with the adoption of the MySQL database and JBoss application server products.
OES also provides a lot of networking services on top of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, but for those customers not requiring NetWare functionality, Novell is recommending they stick with SuSE Linux Enterprise Server.
People that are really just after Linux we would recommend SLES, said the company’s vice president and general manager of Nterprise platform services, Angie Anderson. Depending on the actual use of that in an enterprise environment, they would make that choice.
President of Novell EMEA, Richard Seibt, revealed that the rate of existing customers leaving NetWare has slowed following Novell’s acquisition of SuSE Linux, from a double-digit decline to just 2%. Customers now know they don’t need to change, he said.
Anderson is also hoping OES will bring new customers to Novell. There’s a pretty big opportunity out there for customers on [Windows] NT 4, where Novell lost some customers, she said.
Evidence that some non-NetWare customers may see potential in OES comes from the product’s closed beta program, which includes a mix of Windows, Unix and NetWare users, Anderson said. According to data from beta applicants, of those companies considering a move to Linux in the next 18 months, 48% are looking to replace Windows 2000 or 2003.
In order to encourage those and other organizations to move, Novell has also created a new Porting and Migration Network in partnership with the likes of IBM Corp, Hewlett-Packard Co, Intel Corp, and Oracle Corp, and has created a new Porting and Migration Center in Germany to provide a testing environment for application developers porting their applications to Linux.