Novell's latest products keep company-faithfuls happy

* Novell intros SuSE Linux Enterprise 10, Novell Open Workgroup Suite

Last issue I told you how Novell CEO Jack Messman had come right out and committed to supporting NetWare, at least in the form of NetWare 6.5, for "as long as customers want to support it." It was perhaps the most pleasant announcement heard at the annual BrainShare conclave for the NetWare stalwarts. Of all the training sessions, for example, there was only one focused on NetWare. But there were lots of other announcements that could affect your Novell-based network.

Most significant, perhaps, was the introduction of SuSE Linux Enterprise 10, the server operating system that will be the basis of the next release of Open Enterprise Server (OES). SuSE Linux Enterprise 10 is the first enterprise platform to include a fully integrated and supported version of Xen 3.0, the emerging open source standard for virtualization services. Xen will be the platform for including NetWare services within OES.

Another announcement struck a nostalgic chord with me. The new Novell Open Workgroup Suite (NOWS) appears to be a throwback to 20 years ago when the NetWare "red box" included the server operating system, desktop clients and a fistful of applications. The newly announced NOWS will include:

* The Linux version of Novell Open Enterprise Server.

* Novell GroupWise for Linux.

* Novell ZENworks Suite.

* SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop.

* OpenOffice suite of office productivity applications.

It will be available for a list price of $110 per user and/or device for a perpetual license. In good news for NetWare customers, the suite is available with the NetWare version of Open Enterprise Server and cross-platform GroupWise. It's available as an upgrade bundle to existing customers of NetWare, GroupWise, ZENworks, or their competing products for $150 per user/device.

Sounds like a good deal to me.

The company also announced that there will be at least two more releases of Open Enterprise Server: the one codenamed "Cypress" (which we revealed in "The Future of OES?") to ship in mid-2007 and the newly announced "Ponderosa" which is planned to follow, most likely in 2009. Few details of Ponderosa were openly discussed, though, outside of vague marketing statements such as "...focusing on advanced solutions for Novell's next generation of collaborative services, along with workgroup platform innovations for improving the productivity of knowledge workers."

All in all, it was a more upbeat BrainShare than we've seen in a few years. That is encouraging.

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