Novell adds virtualization to NetWare to promote Linux migration

* Upcoming release of Open Enterprise Server to be built entirely on Linux

Novell last week announced a migration path for users of NetWare that will allow them to run the legacy operating system on Linux as a guest operating system under the open source Xen or VMware ESX Server virtualization environments.

The upcoming release of Open Enterprise Server (OES), codenamed Cypress, will be built entirely on the Linux kernel. It will use Novell's SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 10, which will ship this summer. Cypress is expected to ship in June 2007.

SuSE Linux Enterprise Server is the first Linux distribution to ship with the Xen hypervisor. Red Hat has already announced that Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.0 will include Xen by year-end.

The current OES includes both a NetWare and Linux kernel. Novell in its transition to Linux will do away with a separate NetWare kernel that network managers have used for so long for file and print services (see story "Novell preps customers for move to Linux").

Allowing NetWare to run under Xen or VMware is a big step for Novell, which is intent on keeping its large installed base happy. All the network managers I talked to at Novell's annual BrainShare user conference last week run file and print services on NetWare and other applications such as GroupWise and Web applications on Linux.

They have not migrated to a Linux-only OES though because the file and print services offered are not as full-featured as those on the NetWare kernel. According to Novell, the Archive Server and Distributed File System (DFS) junctions are not supported in the present OES. DFS junctions, allow Windows Common Internet File System (CIFS) clients to access the NetWare server.

Adding Xen and VMware to OES is a brilliant move for Novell. It allows the company to preserve its installed base and add server consolidation to its offering. (Read more about Novell's future strategy in a Q&A with Novell President and COO Ron Hovsepian here.)

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