A BrainShare That Matters

Novell's BrainShare had declined with NetWare's shrinking market, but Linux's promise has brought it new life. Now the question is, Can Linux's arrival keep Novell going?

Last year at its annual BrainShare trade show in Salt Lake City, Novell Inc. promised that it would deliver on products and services that would combine the best of NetWare with the best of Linux from then newly acquired SuSE Linux. This year, from March 20 to 25, Novells partners return to Salt Lake City to kick the tires of the reality of a Linux-powered NetWare and Novell.

Its a critical time for Novell. Its a time when the company must live up to the promises it made over the last year.

In a back-handed compliment, Microsoft Corp., which has ignored Novell in recent years, is once more attacking it.

In a recent press release Microsoft announced with its partner Quest Software Inc. that they have successfully migrated more than 1.5 million Novell NetWare users to Microsoft Windows Server 2003.

Digging beyond the operating system to go after Novells application customers, the two companies also announced that they were offering a list price discount to enterprise customers with more than 1,000 seats of Novell GroupWise—the companys e-mail and groupware program—to license Quest GroupWise Migrator. In addition, Microsoft announced the availability of enhanced GroupWise to Exchange Server 2003 migration tool support.

Microsoft also announced that Laura DiDio, senior analyst at Yankee Group Inc., had found that "NetWare users have arrived at the proverbial fork in the road as they prepare to upgrade their legacy NetWare networks."

"The Yankee Group conducted an independent survey of 100 Novell customers and found that eight out of 10 businesses will migrate from NetWare to Microsoft Windows during the 2005-2006 time frame," said DiDio in the Microsoft release. "And of the remaining 20 percent, nearly 70 percent indicated they would choose Red Hat Enterprise Linux."

Novell doesnt think either prediction is coming true.

To answer Microsofts assault, Novell will be showing off its recently released OES (Open Enterprise Server). This next-generation operating system is now out. OES combines NetWare 7 with the latest SLES (SUSE Linux Enterprise Server) 9 and a rich collection of networking services, including Nterprise Linux Services, which transparently interoperates between the two environments.

/zimages/4/28571.gifTo read more about Open Enterprise Server, click here.

Its not too much to say that its on the success of OES that the success of Novells Linux change of policy lies.

At the same time, Novell will be pushing its recently released NLD (Novell Linux Desktop). Based on eWEEK Lab tests, its a worthy contender for an enterprises desktop dollar.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read eWEEK Labs review of Novell Linux Desktop.

For users who want a more full-feature Linux desktop than the thin-client-oriented NLD, Novell will also be pulling up the curtains on SuSE Linux Professional 9.3. This latest Linux desktop is scheduled to roll out the door in April.

The company will also be releasing more details on the next generation of GroupWise, "Sequoia." It is due to be released in this summer.

Next Page: Partners share in move to Linux.