Novell Maintains a Steady SuSE Drive

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2005-03-25 Print this article Print

The Open Enterprise Server aims to facilitate migration to Linux.

While many customers have tentatively embraced Novell Inc.s latest foray into the world of open source, the company still faces stiff challenges in trying to persuade NetWare customers to choose SuSE Linux over Windows or Red Hat Inc.s Red Hat Linux.

To ease such a transition to SuSE Linux, the Waltham, Mass., company earlier this month released its OES (Open Enterprise Server), which places NetWare services on top of the NetWare or SuSE Linux Enterprise Edition kernel.
Novell CEO and Chairman Jack Messman said at the companys BrainShare event here last week that a key to Novells success will be its ability to migrate those NetWare customers to Linux.

"We are giving customers choice, and so when they now look at license renewals, they also look at Linux," Messman said. "In many cases Microsoft [Corp.] comes to the table and keeps their business by lowering its prices. But how long can they sustain that?"

Microsoft hasnt given up the fight. The Redmond, Wash., software company and partner Quest Software Inc., based in Irvine, Calif., said last week they have migrated more than 1.5 million NetWare users to Windows Server 2003 in the past three years. Read more here about Novells vice president of Linux desktop engineering touting the companys advancements over Windows. Microsoft also touted a Yankee Group Research Inc. study of 100 NetWare users, 80 percent of whom said they will be migrating off NetWare to Windows Server 2003 by next year, with 14 percent saying they will move to Red Hat Linux and just 6 percent saying they will switch to SuSE Linux.

Novell executives, partners and some customers dismissed the data, calling it little more than Microsoft propaganda.

"The biggest benefit for us of Novell embracing open source and Linux is that it gives us a flexibility that we just did not have before," said Roger Fenner, infrastructure services manager for Cincinnati-based Comair, a wholly owned subsidiary of Delta Air Lines Inc. "We were very limited in our infrastructure choices before, but this open model has created new opportunities for us."

Next Page: Rate of migration.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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