RealTime IT News

Novell Pushes Cross-Platform at BrainShare

Continuing to pound the pavement to evangelize its "one Net," cross-platform vision, Novell Monday used its 13th annual BrainShare Europe conference to unveil a series of solutions, and the first taste of the fruits of its recent acquisition of Ximian.

The forthcoming open beta availability of Novell Nterprise Linux Services 1.0 took pride of place at the conference, as the company announced that Ximian Red Carpet Enterprise software -- which provides centralized software management of Linux servers and desktops, with the ability to manage updates across multiple Linux distributions -- will be included in the release.

Novell will make Nterprise Linux Services 1.0 available in beta versions in mid-October, with delivery planned later this year. The product offers customer file, print, messaging, directory and management services in an integrated package that will run on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SuSE Linux Enterprise Server distributions. Ximian Red Carpet will supply management services, with Novel eDirectory and DirXML providing identity services. File services will be delivered through Novell iFolder, printing services via iPrint, messaging services via NetMail, and a Virtual Office for end-user access and productivity via exteNd Director Standard Edition. Novell added that Novell iManager will provide a browser-based, single point of administration.

"As Novell's Linux strategy rapidly unfolds to customers, the benefits are becoming plain to see," said Chris Stone, Novell vice chairman -- Office of the CEO. "We're moving more of Novell's rock-solid networking technology to Linux, supporting it along with Linux, and now integrating Ximian products to benefit customers immediately."

Novell will support the product with technical support, training and consulting services for Linux.

Another Nterprise product also got its due, as Novell announced the forthcoming October open beta availability of the Nterprise Branch Office 2 soft appliance, which aims to make it simpler for organizations to support branch offices without resorting to the additional cost of on-site IT staff. Branch Office 2 allows organizations to deliver network services to branch offices, and supports Linux, Windows and Novell NetWare in the data center.

Branch Office 2, scheduled to ship later this year, is designed to plug directly into an organization's existing network, giving branch office users access to file storage and printing resources, as well as the ability to replicate data to data center servers for centralized back up.

"Whatever direction a customer may be headed in the data center in terms of server platform, Nterprise Branch Office will easily integrate and begin providing network services immediately," said Alan Nugent, chief technology officer of Novell. "It's another step toward achieving Novell's cross-platform vision of one Net. Branch offices are expensive to support, and that can lead to decisions that reduce services for branch office network users and maybe even put data is jeopardy. Nterprise Branch Office lets enterprises consolidate servers, storage and applications, while still providing branch office users with the same experience as central office users, along with backup, security and other network services users need and have come to expect."

Novell said Branch Office operates securely across the high-speed Internet, which it said eliminates the need for Wide Area Network (WAN) links and Virtual Private Network (VPN) connections. It maintains a separate, cached directory of local users, which Novell said saves bandwidth and management costs because the entire corporate directory doesn't need to span the network.

The company's NetWare operating system also got a boost -- and additional open source support -- as Novell announced that a commercially-licensed version of the open source MySQL database now ships with NetWare 6.5.

"Novell has clearly embraced open source software and standards with NetWare 6.5," said Bertrand Matthelie, MySQL AB director of Alliances. "With NetWare-optimized versions of proven, tier-one open source software, NetWare users can now easily build business-critical Web-based or enterprise applications."

On the Web services front, Novell announced a beta preview for select customers of its exteNd 5 Web application development suite, with an open beta release slated for early October. The latest version of the new Web application development suite adds new visual development tools geared to making creating Web services "as easy as drag and drop."

The J2EE-based development and deployment stack supports IBM's WebSphere, BEA's WebLogic, the open source Tomcat, and Novell's own exteNd application server. It also features Novell Nsure SecureLogin 3.5 for secure identity management that allows a single sign-on across multiple platforms and the Web.

"Novell's ability to help customers create standards-based Web services, deliver those services through a customized portal and then control access to them based on a user's identity is an approach that sets Novell apart," said David Litwack, senior vice president at Novell. exteNd 5 also features a new unified installer, which it said allows the suite to be installed in less than an hour. It supports Linux, NetWare, Windows, Solaris, HP-UX and AIX, and is built on industry standards including XForms (for creating Web pages and forms), JSR 168 (allowing portlets from different vendors to interoperate), and an XLDAP-based Web service connector to LDAP.

Finally, the firm said it will bring independent software and hardware vendor partners into its PartnerNet program, bringing them together with its channel, integrator and training partners under a single banner.

"In recent years, Novell hasn't been fertile ground for software and hardware companies looking to expand their markets," Stone said. "But we're determined to change that. We're building with, and to, open standards. We're putting our money where our mouth is on open source. And today, we're bringing ISV and IHV partners into our PartnerNet program, giving them new benefits and opportunities to leverage our software, our relationships and our other partners. We want to become the partner of choice for ISV/IHVs."