SALT LAKE CITY—In a first for a Novell BrainShare conference, the company held a fireside chat between its own CTO Jeff Jaffee and Craig Mundie, the chief research and strategy office at Microsoft, the companys latest and most controversial partner, as part of the opening keynote address March 19.
But the two steered clear of any discussion about their patent pact, the most controversial aspect of that deal.
Interestingly, when Mundie was introduced by chat moderator, Novell Chief Marketing Officer John Dragoon, he received more applause than did Jaffee, who told the opening keynote crowd that the IT industry was going to consolidate on two platforms, Linux and Windows, with Novell now well positioned to support both of these, but leading with Linux.
Mundie agreed that consolidation would result in two platforms, with customers having mixed environments.
"Customers want interoperability as well as innovation, and Microsoft wants to build bridges with the broad software community," he said, noting that the industry is behind where customers want it to be with regard to reducing costs.
There are also misconceptions about the viability of interoperability between products from Microsoft and Novell, and the recent deal between them showed that "it is possible to build bridges between these two environments and allow them to coexist within a customers environment," he said.
Jaffee also pointed out that interoperability is by no means a new challenge for Novell, and has been an issue that it has been dealing with for years.
Asked about how the data center will change over the next three years, Jaffee said those changes will be around consolidation, virtualization and the management of physical and virtual resources.
Mundie said its absolutely clear that a heterogeneous environment will exist in the data center and that interoperability is key, while management of the environment is also very important and there needs to be a more natural coexistence of all this between these environments.
It has been five months since the agreement between Microsoft and Novell, which was very well received by their joint customers, and all is going well on that front, he said.
From Novells perspective, Jaffee said its driven to the deal after listening to customers.
Ongoing innovation is also essential, and Novell wants to make Linux critical to the enterprise.
"We are going to host applications from multiple operating systems and we will be hosting those on top of Linux, while Microsoft wants to host those on top of Windows," he said.
To Mundie, one of the core tenets of the agreement for customers is that it "brings together another level of choice for customers," he said.
After the chat, Novells Dragoon said, "I guess pigs do fly."