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Novell Bursting with Linux

In a series of announcements at LinuxWorld today, Novell firmly planted its Linux feet in the soil.

Starting off the company's Linux onslaught is Novell SUSE LINUX Enterprise Server 9 (SLES). This release is the first enterprise grade Linux distribution to include the 2.6 Linux kernel, which offers performance and scalability improvements for enterprise users, including improved process, memory and resource management.

Novell has also included HotPlug services, which allow administrators to swap processors, hard disks and other peripherals.

Novell ZenWorks Linux Management Enterprise gives this release a boost by allowing for the configuration, control and security of an enterprise from one interface. Also in this release is AutoYaST, the latest evolution of SUSE's setup tool. This feature allows admins to set up an SLES 9 install without user intervention.

Storage administration also gets an upgrade with the Enterprise Volume Manager (EVMS), a new tool for configuration and maintenance for clustered environments using shared storage resources.

The new Novell release is, perhaps, more secure than any of its predecessors, now that it officially conforms to Common Criteria Evaluation CAPP/EAL 4+ (SLES 8 was at 3+). Shifting gears today and taking direct aim at its Linux competitor Red Hat, which yesterday announced its own Java Application server initiative, Novell expanded its partnership with JBoss. The company will now bundle its open source JBoss Application Server with Novell's SLES, which will allow users to obtain tech support directly from Novell.

"As Linux moves from the workgroup to the data center, businesses will increasingly rely upon open source to power mission-critical applications," said Marc Fleury, president and CEO of JBoss, in a statement. "Novell is one of the pioneers in the J2EE space, and the combination of JBoss, SUSE LINUX Enterprise Server and Novell exteNd provides IT administrators with the most mature environment for delivering enterprise applications on Linux."

Rounding out its Linux onslaught today, Novell released exteNd 5.2, the latest version of its SOA suite, which also ties into its new partnership with JBoss. This release of exteNd will be the last to include exteNd application server, which will be terminated in favor of JBoss.

Novell's exteNd includes drag and drop tools that allow for SOA based applications deployment to a wide range of platforms, including Linux, Windows and Solaris. It also integrates with all the major J2EE application servers, including IBM WebSphere, BEA WebLogic, and Apache Software Foundation's Jakarta Tomcat.

"With Novell exteNd 5.2, Linux developers can now rapidly design identity-enabled, SOA-based applications using intuitive visual design tools directly on their Linux desktops," Novell CTO Alan Nugent said in a statement. "From legacy integration to portals and identity services, from Linux to Windows and NetWare, Novell exteNd 5.2 underscores our commitment to developers by making it easier to deliver advanced, composite applications across the broadest range of market-leading platforms."

Both SLES 9 and exteNd 5.2 are now available from Novell. These announcements follow closely behind Sun Microsystems' suggestion of a possible Novell purchase. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal over the weekend, Sun COO Jonathan Scwhartz mentioned his company is considering its options concerning its $7.61 billion stash in the bank.