Novell Builds NetWare-SuSE Bridge, Opens iFolders

Accelerating its delivery of promised networking capabilities by a year, Novell has announced Novell Open Enterprise Server, a combined NetWare and SuSE Linux product. OES will deliver networking capabilities associated with Novell’s NetWare platform and the company’s newly acquired SuSE Linux and Ximian offerings.

“Customers have been encouraging us to deliver a solution that gives them flexibility in the way they deploy and manage their networking infrastructure,” said Jack Messman, Novell chairman and CEO. “Open Enterprise Server combines the benefits of NetWare and SuSE Linux to create an unprecedented offering.”

The system consists of NetWare 7, the recently announced SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 and a collection of networking services, including Nterprise Linux Services, which will transparently interoperate between the two environments. For example, if you have NetWare servers delivering your print services and SuSE Linux servers running your file system — or vice versa — you can print between the two, independent of where the files reside.

“Novell Open Enterprise Server customers will be able to choose how these services are deployed and which operating environment suits them best,” Messman continued. “Open Enterprise Server is packaged to enable NetWare customers to start taking advantage of SuSE Linux under their current NetWare upgrade protection and maintenance agreements, giving them flexibility in the timing of their transition to Linux.”

Mixed Environments

Customers can run a mixed environment using NetWare servers, Windows servers and Linux servers. According to the company, OES offers reduced management costs and transparent networking — particularly in multiple-OS environments — by infusing management technologies with the open-source strengths of Linux and the traditional strengths of NetWare.

“Novell’s installed base represents a large, loyal group of customers for Novell — prime prospects to deploy SuSE Linux alongside their NetWare systems,” said Al Gillen, research director of System Software at IDC. “By introducing Open Enterprise Server, Novell is converging its licensing strategy used with NetWare to cover both of its operating systems in a seamless, customer-friendly manner.”

OES essentially builds a bridge between SuSE Linux and NetWare to give customers a choice as they make decisions about their computing needs. Novell OES is slated for release later this year, and pricing, licensing and availability details will be announced at a later date.

iFolder Goes Open Source

Meanwhile, continuing to keep its promise to be a contributing member of the open-source software community, Novell also introduced the iFolder open-source project, which will be the basis for the next enterprise version of Novell iFolder and other future collaboration products.

The project consists of three code branches: Simias (the core synchronization engine and data store on which Novell iFolder is based), an address book (which iFolder uses when sharing iFolder accounts) and iFolder (which consumes both Simias and the address book).

Because it is an open-source project, customers will be able to customize iFolder or add features to fit their needs without waiting for traditional product releases from Novell. The code will be offered to the public under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL), with Novell maintaining code copyrights to be able to distribute future products based on this code under traditional Novell commercial licenses.

“The synergies of the open-source community are extraordinary,” said Novell CTO Alan Nugent. “By creating the iFolder open-source project, Novell is making available code for an extremely valuable and beneficial piece of software, and we trust the community will enhance and improve it to the benefit of everyone: users, developers and even other vendors.”

Inside iFolder

iFolder software is a storage solution designed to help users back up, access and manage personal files at any time from anywhere. Users simply save files locally, and iFolder automatically copies and updates the files to any other machines the user designates.

For example, a user saves a file at the office, and it’s automatically copied to his or her home computer via iFolder. All files are kept up to date on all the machines that person uses. Novell has designed this version of iFolder so people can enhance it or just use it to create and share iFolder accounts with each other.

This version of iFolder is being developed using the Mono framework, a community project initiated by Novell to develop an open-source version of the Microsoft .NET development platform. iFolder also will include client- and server-side APIs to enable integration with other applications.

The iFolder open-source project is hosted on Novell Forge.

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