Novell Plots Server Strategy

NetWare to be folded into open enterprise server.

Novell Inc. is upbeat about NetWare, even though its flagship networking software wont be available as a stand-alone product next year.

The Provo, Utah, company announced at its BrainShare conference here last week that NetWare will be a core part of its upcoming Novell Open Enterprise Server platform when it ships at the end of this year.

Novell CEO and Chairman Jack Messman said in an interview that the company has not sacrificed NetWare at the Linux altar and that NetWare will be supported into the future. In fact, Messman said, the kernel from the next release of NetWare, Version 7.0, will be included in the first version of Open Enterprise Server.

The SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 kernel will also be included in Open Enterprise Server—but in addition will be retained as a stand-alone SuSE Linux product—as will a collection of networking services, including Nterprise Linux Services, which will interoperate between the two environments, Messman said.

SuSE Linux, which Novell acquired earlier this year, will roll out SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 9—which is based on the new Linux 2.6 kernel—around midyear, giving users performance improvements, Direct I/O and improved memory support, SuSE officials said.

Some Novell customers are happy. "[This] is a good move. It gives us flexibility, while at the same time allows us to pursue our IT goals," said Anthony Hill, chief technology officer for Golden Gate University, in San Francisco.

Messman said that while theres not a lot of profit to be made on Linux per se, revenue will come from selling the services that go with it. "The extent to which people adopt Linux and need those up-the-stack services, thats the extent to which our Linux business will grow and be profitable," Messman said.

Alan Nugent, Novells CTO, said the NetWare focus is far more on the up-the-stack services than on the base kernel. As such, the NetWare kernel base for Open Enterprise Server 9 will be essentially the NetWare 6.5 kernel.

"I dont anticipate any substantial changes in the kernel architecture of NetWare 6.5. The kernel doesnt need to change much, as its all the stuff above it that changes," Nugent said.

Novell is committed to a strategy of offering proprietary software as well as embracing Linux and open source, but it plans to give back more to the open-source community than it takes, Messman said.