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Open Enterprise Server 2 Offers NetWare Users a Future Path

By Jay Lyman
Dec 1, 2006 1:30 PM PT

Novell unveiled its new Open Enterprise Server 2 (OES 2) this week, completing a shift of Novell workgroup solutions, particularly NetWare, over to the Suse Linux platform.

Open Enterprise Server 2 Offers NetWare Users a Future Path

Highlighting support from backup and security vendors including CA, Symantec and McAfee, OES 2 is set to ship in 2007 and will feature enhancements to virtualization, storage and file-management features.

The release offers Novell's NetWare loyalists a future path, which was uncertain as Novell focused its strategy on Linux and open source software, Burton Group Vice President Gary Hein told LinuxInsider.

Completing the Shift

OES 2 will "complete the shift" to providing all workgroup services on Suse Linux Enterprise, Novell said, and allow longtime NetWare users to maintain their legacy investments.

"OES 2 is designed to fit with today's environments that run a mix of platforms, including Linux, Windows and NetWare," noted Kent Erickson, vice president and general manager of Workgroup Solutions for Novell.

The OES 2 announcement also touted Novell's recent partnership with Microsoft, which is expected to yield improved interoperability and support for Windows under OES 2 and Novell's ZenWorks Virtual Machine Management.

Most NetWare users liked its services and integration between file directory and file server, but were unsure what Novell's move to Suse Linux meant for them, said Hein.

Adding to the future direction theme, OES 2 also provides Novell with a 64-bit solution and a path for its NetWare customers, he added.

Technology Tightrope

At present, OES 2 does not include the interoperability features suggested by the Novell-Microsoft pact. Although the expressed goal of the historic pact is to bolster interoperability and mixed-environment support, it remains to be seen what really will come from it.

As with other independent software vendors (ISVs), Novell sees an opportunity in Microsoft's market share and installed base, Interarbor Solutions Principal Analyst Dana Gardner told LinuxInsider.

However, Novell is discovering that its alliance with the traditional nemesis of the open source software community has its drawbacks as well, including protests and petitions against the partnership, Gardner added.

"They're walking a treacherous line, courting Microsoft while also courting the open source community," he remarked.

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