Novell Takes Aim at Microsoft Small Business Server

Novell is expected to bring the first Linux-based small business server to market in late March.

SALT LAKE CITY—Novell CEO Jack Messman announced on Monday at Novells annual tradeshow, BrainShare, the arrival of Novell Linux Small Business Suite 9.

In his morning keynote speech, Messman said that "NLSBS (Novell Linux Small Business Suite) is the first end-to-end, server-to-desktop Linux solution that offers a clear alternative for small businesses."

NLSBS is made up of SLES (SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 9), Novell eDirectory8.7.3; Novell GroupWise 6.5; Novell iManager 2.0.2, Samba 3 and the Apache Web Server 2.0.

In addition, the package supports up to three servers and comes with five copies of NLD (Novell Linux Desktop), making it a true server-to-desktop small business package.

The new small business server package cannot support more then three servers, but it can support up to 100 desktops.

/zimages/1/28571.gifClick here to read more about the Novell Linux Desktop.

However, NLSBS can also work with Microsoft W2K and Server 2003 servers, according to Brad Young, Novell Inc.s director of product management.

In addition, although the package comes with NLD, administrators can also support Windows clients with it as well.

The NLD desktops come with a ZENworks client for remote management, but the package does not include ZENworks.

Companies, however, can use ZENworks with NLSBS.

/zimages/1/28571.gifTo read more about Novells launch of its ZENworks 7 Linux Management software, click here.

Indeed, Young made a point of saying that NLSBS is completely compatible with any SLES application.

For example, if a small business decides that it needs to use JBoss Inc.s Application Server, it can do so without needing to buy a special small business server edition.

Novell is also going out of its way to push NLSBS via its reseller and integrator partners. Many of its features were designed to make it more profitable and useful to the channel.

"Resellers can speed through installs," Young said. "In the past, its been hard to put together small businesses server suites with Linux because the integrator had to custom fit the varying services."

"One reseller," said Troy Wilde, Novells product manager for small business solutions, "once took eight hours just to do the initial configuration of a firewall for a small business customer.

"With NLSBS, the setup from start to finish would take about an hour."

That, in turn, gives the reseller more time to deliver any tuning or special applications that the customer might want.

"You can get through the install in a hurry so you can get on with your value-added services," said Young.

Next Page: Sales incentives for resellers.