Novell’s Linux in a box

Novell’s Linux in a box

WITH the release of a new server operating system combining its proprietary and open source technology, Novell claims it has solidified its self-styled image as the leading mixed source software vendor.

The new Open Enterprise Server (OES) mixes the latest version of NetWare and SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 9, which Novell acquired in 2003.

Markus Rex, general manager of Novell’s SuSE Linux group, says OES completes the company’s line-up of Linux-based offerings and combined with the Novell Linux Desktop suite released last November provides a full server-to-desktop alternative to current enterprise offerings.

“In combination with our other Linux-based products, we now have an end-to-end stack for customers to base their whole computing environment on,” he says.

This adds to Novell’s ability to present a mixture of its own, and open source technology as a viable alternative to Microsoft’s ubiquitous Windows environment, says Rod Grigson, Novell Asia-Pacific Linux alliance manager.

“Many customers are going down that path. The high cost of Windows is forcing a lot of people to go to Linux, especially those migrating from older platforms like NT4,” he says. Emerging countries such as India and China, where there is little Windows penetration and a need for low-cost hardware, are prime targets for Novell.

“In India they want to offer a sub-US$200 PC, but you cannot do that with the Microsoft structure,” says Grigson.

Rex adds that internally Novell has already moved from Microsoft Office to OpenOffice and onto its Linux Desktop from Windows.

“Our customers are looking for solutions that make their lives easier and there are several areas where Linux can very easily be deployed,” he says.

Open Enterprise Server offers users the flexibility to add Linux to their environments in a non-disruptive way, says Rex.

“The question is now not whether it is open source or proprietary, but what solution will solve the customer’s problem.”

Novell says the system enables users to take advantage of Linux applications, while allowing SuSE Linux customers to use NetWare networking services on Linux.

Grigson says this is the first instance where a vendor has offered an operating system with two kernels supporting common services. Several customers in this region are already evaluating OES, with a number of pilots underway, Grigson says, but he is unable to reveal any more details at this stage.

Novell meanwhile took the wraps off its Linux-based management system at the Cebit show in Frankfurt, Germany, last week.

Emphasising its lifecycle management capabilities, which are intended to lower the overall costs of an IT operation, Novell says Version 7.0 of ZENworks Linux Management works with both SuSE and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. It features new imaging, configuration lockdown, remote management, inventory, and software management capabilities. Novell has integrated the product’s management features with its Linux Desktop and SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 products.

The company claims Version 7.0 is the only product to use policy-driven automation to deploy and manage Linux-based resources centrally, regardless of where they reside on the network. Policy-driven automation allows administrators to define their business processes and policies just once and then have them automatically applied to the appropriate devices or entire groups of devices, the company says.

Another new capability allows IT workers to use web-based administration through the product’s Control Centre, which is a task-oriented management console for deploying, managing and maintaining Linux systems from a single location.

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