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NetWare users are willing to give Linux a chance

Jan 10, 20063 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsLinux

* Why NetWare users are renewing their contracts

I sometimes think that the bulk of the readership of this newsletter is made up of two groups: the so-called NetWare stalwarts, those who vow to run NetWare servers until the final abend; and Novell employees – PR, marketing and engineering. So after running quotes from the stalwarts last week which told of what they were doing with Open Enterprise Server it’s only natural that today I should bring you a bit of rebuttal from Novell.

Kevan Barney, who always has a cheerful mien no matter how mean I appear to be, was quick to supply me with some results from a recent survey of 181 customers who are renewing their NetWare/Open Enterprise Server contracts. Barney thinks this might be “more representative” than the anecdotal evidence I presented.

According to Barney, 52% of OES customers indicate that NetWare capabilities are their primary reason for renewing their licenses and 47% indicate they are renewing for the combination of NetWare and SuSE Linux capabilities. A full 76% indicate they have or are planning to implement Linux (41%) or are still investigating/piloting Linux for implementation (35%).

If you take into account the possibility that a greater proportion of stalwarts than Linux “penguin-lovers” would be subscribers to this digital rag, then the numbers really aren’t inconsistent. Even Novell’s own research shows that less than 40% of customers have yet to implement OES on Linux in their production networks.

The real gem of information I glean from this survey (and from your notes and comments) is that at least most NetWare customers are willing to give Linux a chance – especially if the Linux implementation is running familiar NetWare services. Many of you have no problem with the concept of heterogeneous networks – running traditional Unix services (Web, DNS, SMTP, etc.) on Linux while maintaining NetWare for its strengths (file and print, security, directory services, etc.). You do have a problem, though, with Novell seemingly pushing you towards Linux before you’re ready to fully commit. As Milan the Kiwi put it: “Novell may not be shutting the door on NetWare, but it’s pushing the guests into the smoking room while they are still eating dessert.”

Here’s a question for you stalwarts: if you’re going to BrainShare this year, what sessions are you looking forward to? If you aren’t going, why not? As always, I’ll summarize the responses in a future issue. Please put “BrainShare” in the subject line so it’ll get past my spam filters.