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Novell Advances NetWare Linux Integration

By Sean Kerner (Send Email)
Posted December 13, 2011


Novell is advancing its Open Enterprise Server (OES) operating system today, providing an updated base for file and print networks.

OES is Novell's operating system product that helps to provide a bridge to its legacy NetWare customers. The OES product line first debuted in 2005. With the new OES 11 release, Novell is basing the server on the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP1 release, that debuted back in May 2010.

The new OES release is the first since Novell was acquired by Attachmate for $2.2 Billion and the Novell and SUSE business unit were separated out into separate entities.

"OES 11 has some improved capabilities in the services that our customers have relied on for so long," Sophia Germanides, Novell produce marketing manager for OES, told InternetNews.com.

As to why it has taken more than a year and a half for Novell to update OES to the SP1 update of SLES 11, Germanides noted that a development of services for OES takes time.

"We had a lot of decision making to do about how to take the product line forward," Germanides said. "Why we're making the release now is with Attachmate's ownership. They have created new excitement around this product line, and they see a long path forward for it."

Moving forward, OES is likely to be more closely aligned with SUSE releases. Glen Davis, product manager for OES at Novell said that the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP2 release will be out soon, and there are already plans in place to align OES with that release.

Now that the SUSE and Novell are two separate business units, the two groups still work well together. Germanides said that Novell is the biggest ISV for SUSE Linux today, and there is a commitment from both groups to work together.

For at least the past five years, Novell has been telling customers that the future is Linux, and many NetWare users have made the jump via OES.

"We have been monitoring our customer base and for over three quarters of the NetWare base, OES on Linux is the primary deployment for file and print networking service," Germanides said.

As to why those customers haven't just gone directly to Linux instead of OES, Germanides said there is a capabilities gap.

"If you're looking for enterprise-class services to easily manage diverse, distributed environments with integrated disaster recover and identity management, you'll be taxed to build that as SLES Linux only," Germanides said. "With Open Enterprise Server, the value is the continuation of those enterprise class services that still run networks, and they are added capabilities to what exists in a straight Linux stack."

While OES provides a lifeline for NetWare users, NetWare itself is not getting any direct additional investment at this point. Germanides said Novell has extended the support lifecycle for NetWare through September 2013.

"There is no new development; you can not buy NetWare today," Germanides said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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Tags: Linux, Novell, OS, SUSE, NetWare

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