Novell on Monday launched a public beta of Open Enterprise Server 2 that will run its proprietary NetWare as a virtual machine under the SUSE Linux kernel.

Novell president Ron Hovsepian, who took the helm following the departure of Jack Messman last year, made the announcement at the firm’s annual BrainShare conference, along with releases focusing on virtualization, interoperability and open source.

“We want enterprise-wide Linux adoption, from desktop to data centre — everything from the mainframe to point-of-sale terminals to thin clients, all based on the Linux code base,” Hovsepian said 

Lead analyst of IT research for Toronto-based consulting firm The Strategic Counsel Warren Shiau said the OES-NetWare strategy makes sense.

“OES was a big deal because it provided a path (to NetWare users). And now that path is much more concrete. They’ve ported over full Netware functionality and are offering free training. This signals, in respect, that they should have fully covered their installation base and further defections are unlikely. That used to be a huge risk for them,” said Shiau.

This should counteract some of the problems that Andreas Bach, a Toronto-based network and e-mail consultant, said he sees with Novell’s product. In a pre-BrainShare interview he said, “They’ve probably lost a lot of customers having the existing product (NetWare) work so well. (Customers are) used to not buying new because of the low requirements — it’s Achilles heel is that it will run on whatever which has slowed down adoption of new Novell technology: it’s like buying a toaster that never breaks.”

The new “toaster” boasts domain services for Windows. “This will allow users to put Linux servers in a mixed environment and access these environments without having to deploy a Novell client,” said Kent Erickson, Novell’s vice-president, workgroup solutions and identity and security management solutions. “And through Windows, you can manage access to Linux.”

The new program will also offer enhanced virtualization capabilities, operating on a split administration model. The program is also geared to offer cost savings through its dynamic storage technology that uses time-driven policies to cut down on stale old data, while still retaining the integrity of the information and user access.

Demos of virtualization showed how Windows XP, Windows 2003, SUSE Linux, and Longhorn could co-exist and a .txt file deleted on one would be deleted on the other environment). Another new product, Identity Manager 3.5, will allow people to use a single sign-on to access different directory systems (other features include much tighter authentication, greater ease of deployment, and customization options). Novell also announced another addition to its identity and security management suite, Sentinel 6.0, which offers real-time automated monitoring and compliance reporting.

SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 Service Pack 1, Novell said, will feature enhanced virtualization and security capabilities, higher operational functionality, and high-performance computing capabilities. The new SUSE Linux Enterprise Thin Client, which can be hosted locally, on a server, or remotely, and its previously touted “cube” viewing structure has been expanded so that four sides of the cube can be seen. Also available is a way to “clone” your display so that you can drag it onto other monitors, and a magnification option that allows for closer examination (without any loss of clarity) of images.

Novell also announced Novell Teaming, and Novell Teaming + Conferencing, along with additions to its system and resource management suite,  ZENworks 7.2 Linux Management and the previously announced ZENworks Configuration Management.

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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