Under a new agreement with Novell, Open-Xchange Inc. is now also allowed to offer its collaboration server to distributions beyond the Waltham, Mass.-based company, most notably to its largest competitor, Red Hat Inc.
Wasting no time in capitalizing on that provision of the agreement, Open-Xchange has announced a reseller agreement with Red Hat and the release of its Open-Xchange Server 5 product for Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
"The recently released Open-Xchange Server 5 is the industrys first fully supported, modular, platform-agnostic open-source collaboration platform.
"It enables easy migration and integration to an open-source environment, allowing IT administrators to create and implement applications without changing existing infrastructure components like databases, directory services, message transfer agents, e-mail servers or Web servers," said Frank Hoberg, the CEO of Open-Xchange.
That deal also means that Open-Xchange Server is now certified for the Red Hat Enterprise Server and Red Hat Application Server platforms. Red Hat has also agreed to provide Open-Xchange with open-source technology and services for distribution with its Open-Xchange products.
As such, Open-Xchange will also offer bundles for new customers and upgrade bundles for customers who want to migrate away from the SuSE Linux Openexchange Server to the Red Hat platform.
Hoberg trod a very fine line in commenting on the Novell SuSE and Red Hat announcements, saying on the Novell front that "by decoupling Open-Xchange from a single distribution, customers get greater flexibility and true open-source choices—while still enabling us to support and upgrade existing SuSE Linux Open-Xchange customers."
He added that SuSE and Novell have been "strong supporters and partners of Open-Xchange, and we see this change as a further strengthening of those bonds."
However, commenting on the Red Hat deal, he said, "By providing a supported Open-Xchange on Red Hats Enterprise Linux versions, customers now have real platform choices when it comes to deploying enterprise installations#151;and this is what customers want: choice. Its exciting to be able to offer Open-Xchange on the worlds leading Linux platform."
Novell spokesperson Bruce Lowry told eWEEK that Novells relationship with Open-Xchange has been in transition for some time. "For the last few years, Novell has had a licensing agreement with Open-Xchange/Netline to resell their collaboration software branded as SuSE Linux Openexchange Server. As of Dec. 31 this year, SLOX will no longer be sold," he said.
This primarily affects Novell EMEA, he said, since Novell has not actively sold SLOX in North America or the rest of the world.
"Novell will continue with its strategy of offering enterprise collaboration solutions through GroupWise, and will also continue to pursue innovative collaboration options for customers through our sponsorship of the open-source Hula project," Lowry said.
Lowry said Open-Xchange/Netline is joining Novells ISV program as a platinum partner and will continue to contribute to Hula. "So the relationship continues. They did not talk to us about Red Hat, but, as I said, our relationship has been changing for some time now, and wed already made decisions around our future path with them. Our moves were independent of anything they choose to do with Red Hat," he told eWEEK.
However, customers who did buy SLOX from Novell will be able to continue to receive SLOX support from Novell (with bug fixes or level 3 support provided by Open-Xchange/Netline) through Dec. 31, 2007, he added.
As for Red Hat, Paul Salazar, the director of marketing for Red Hat EMEA, said that by supporting Open-Xchange Inc. and its Open-Xchange Server 5, "more customers can migrate from proprietary environments to lower-cost, higher-performance solutions. We are pleased to support another choice for customers building open-source architectures based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux."
Open-Xchange Server 5 for Red Hat Enterprise Server 4 is available immediately from Open-Xchange and through some partners.
Open-Xchange Server 5 Small Business Server Edition, for between five and 25 users, includes a year of maintenance, administration interfaces, initial installation support, Outlook and Palm connectors, and a five-year guarantee, and costs $295 for the first five users, with an annual maintenance subscription fee of $25 per additional user.
Open-Xchange Server 5 Advanced Server Edition for Red Hat, targeted at 25 and more users, includes the same benefits and is priced at $850, with an annual maintenance subscription fee of $25 for every additional user over the first 25.