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Novell's New Server Products To Integrate NetWare, GroupWise

But Thin Client Won't Replace SLED

  • March 21, 2007
  • By Jacqueline Emigh

Novell's rollout this week of a SUSE Linux thin client surely doesn't mean that the richer and only slightly older SUSE Enterprise Desktop (SLED) will be going away, officials said at BrainShare. On the other hand, the new Open Enterprise Server (OES) 2, also launched as a public beta this week, will feature a Linux kernel topped by NetWare, a legacy OS the company is now phasing out.

Meanwhile, Novell's new Teaming + Conferencing software will integrate Novell's GroupWise, another long-time product.

OES 2 represents "NetWare virtualized on SUSE Enterprise Server," according to Jeff Jaffe, Novell's senior VP and CTO. In another addition, the OES update will include Domain Services for Windows, in an effort toward easing Windows management.

In contrast, Teaming + Conferencing will be an open source offering combining elements of GroupWise with technology licensed from SiteScape, Jaffe said. Also under the pact with Novell, SiteScape is expected to donate part of its technology to start a new open source project called ICEcorps

For its part, Novell's new thin desktop client is meant as an alternative to SLED for organizations that want a thin client for better security or lower total cost of ownership, said Michael Applebaum, senior product marketing manager, during a spate of interviews with LinuxPlanet.

Officials also got a bit more specific about the relationships between the legacy server offerings and new products. "We've finished porting NetWare to OES 2," said Justin Steinman, director of marketing for Novell's Linux and open platform solutions. OES 2 has now entered open beta.

"We're still selling NetWare 6.5," according to Applebaum. But, he added, Novell has already articulated intentions to migrate NetWare customers to SUSE Linux.

Jaffe said that Teaming + Conferencing will bring together "core" pieces of GroupWise with SiteScape's technology on SUSE Linux in an effort to expand Novell's collaborative workgroup capabilities. The product will include realtime conferencing.

Why is Novell open sourcing the new collaboration platform? "All of this community participation will take [conferencing and collaboration] to a new level," according to Jaffe.

And why is Novell now offering another enterprise desktop client beyond SLED, a product which hasn't been around that long, anyway? "A lot of the customers are very interested in a tightly controlled environment. Instead of giving everyone PCs, they want the applications to run on the server," Applebaum said.

The thin client also costs less, not just in terms of software alone, but also because of reduced desktop hardware requirements, said Carlos Manero-Luque, VP of product development for open source software.

With the thin edition of the SUSE desktop client, Novell is also trying to provide enough flexibility to meet widely ranging preferences on the customer side.

Accordingly, Novell will offer the thin client in different sizes, including 128 megabytes and 256 megabytes.

Novell will also ready a flexible toolkit for creating the images that will run on client workstations. "And we'll be working with people on customization," Applebaum told LinuxPlanet.

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