Linux on The Brain For Novell

Novell’s BrainShare event in Salt Lake City got under way today with product announcements that illustrate Novell’s intention to further integrate Linux into its ecosystem, with an offering for SMBs, a new version of its ZenWorks management suite, enhancements to GroupWise and a new ISV certification program.

The Novell Linux Small Business Suite, which targets the SMB market, includes the latest version of SUSE LINUX Enterprise 9 (SLES), Novell Linux Desktop 9, Novell GroupWise 6.5 collaboration suite and eDirectory, the company’s directory management solution.

Novell also announced its ZenWorks 7 systems management tool, which now also allows system admins to manage Windows PCs from a SUSE LINUX server.

The next version of GroupWise, code named Sequoia, will now benefit from an extended support policy, as well as a pre-bundled version of SLES. In February Novell announced its long-terms plans for supporting and improving its flagship collaboration suite. Sequoia is expected this summer.

“Both SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and GroupWise are well known for their superior reliability and security,” said David Patrick, vice president and general manager of Linux, open source platforms and services for Novell, in a statement. “These new product features, 10-year extended support commitment and the inclusion of SUSE LINUX are another example of Novell’s dedication to our millions of GroupWise users and a clear signal to future customers that Novell’s commitment to GroupWise has never been stronger.”

On the partner solution certification front, Novell announced its Validated Configuration Program, which is intended to help expedite data center solution development on supported Novell Linux platforms. The program is intended to certify integrated hardware/software stack configurations specifically focused on high availability, virtualization, systems management and security.

“With support from key hardware and software partners, Novell will develop, test and validate multiple configurations for different enterprise needs in security, systems management and more,” Patrick explained. “This is another step in Novell’s strategy to increase adoption and acceptance of Linux at the heart of the enterprise.”

Ultimately, Novell’s BrainShare event is about its partners, which Novell CEO Jack Messman praised in his morning keynote address. He made particular mention of the dramatic increase in the number of new partners, as well as the increase in the number that support Novell’s Linux offerings.

“We currently have more than 560 technology partners in our PartnerNet program,” Messman said. “That’s up from 42 at this time last year. We’re seeing a tremendous surge of partners working with Novell to expand the number of Linux solutions available. On SUSE Linux alone, there are now 1,400 certified and ready products. Last year there were 203 products. These numbers are remarkable.”

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