Novell CEO opens up road map

Novell Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jack Messman Monday kicked off the company's annual Brainshare conference in Salt Lake City, highlighting its road map going forward and the launch of several products, including Suse Linux Enterprise 10.

"Linux has evolved rapidly from edge computing and Web and application serving. Today Linux is ready for the data center. With the new security, virtualization and workflow readiness features of Suse Linux Enterprise 10 we believe Linux is ready for prime time," Messman said at the conference, which was webcast.

The launch follows Novell's debut earlier this month of the Suse Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 at the Cebit trade show in Hanover, Germany.

Messman acknowledged that "additional work is needed to close the gap" on the desktop side, but said that the open-source community is "working hard" to do that.

He also announced that Novell has teamed up with push wireless e-mail provider Intellisync Corp. to expand mobile support for GroupWise.

Novell launched the beta version of GroupWise Mobile Server, which facilitates push wireless access of e-mail, calendar, tasks and contact between mobile devices and the Novell GroupWise Server. Novell will incorporate this functionality into Groupwise 7. The service works for various smart phones, PDAs (personal digital assistants) and other mobile devices running on Symbian, Palm, Java, Brew, Sync ML and Windows Mobile, Messman said.

Novell is also enhancing its identity management and security tools to help automate user provisioning, simplify single sign-on and manage shared network resources.

Novell and its partners are focused on supporting enterprises from "the OS right up the technology stack," Messman said.

"We believe our customers' environments are heterogenous, and we must be like them so we offer a mixed-source stack, not just open source," Messman said. "In each of these stack layers we can support you, if not with our own solutions, with our partners'."

Messman touched on the company's plans for its Open Enterprise Server. Drawing cheers from attendees, he said that Novell will extend support for Netware.

"We will support Netware at least through 2015," Messman said. "We will support Netware 6.5 for as long as customers want to support it. If you want to continue to run on Netware, I would encourage you to upgrade to 6.5."

In other news, the company has teamed with Dell Inc. to offer a new management tool for Dell PowerEdge servers running Linux. The joint offering, Novell Zenworks 7 Linux Management Dell Edition, combines Novell's Zenworks software with Dell's OpenManage toolkit so that users can configure and manage hardware and software through one central console.

The software will be available in April.

Messman also said five new open-source companies have joined Novell's Market Start program, which allows smaller open-source vendors to use Novell's sales and marketing channels. Those companies are Alfresco Software Inc., Black Duck Software Inc., EnterpriseDB, SpikeSource Inc. and Novacoast Inc.

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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