Novell pushes one Net strategy at BrainShare
NOVELL PLANS to demonstrate next week at its BrainShare conference that the company's strategy for delivering network services over a unified framework is ready for prime time. The Provo, Utah-based company added support for its "one Net" vision this week with the $266-million acquisition of management consulting vendor Cambridge Technology Partners (CTP).
As part of the deal, Novell Chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt said he would step down as CEO, allowing Cambridge President and CEO Jack Messman to assume the head post at Novell.
The move further strengthens the company's drive to break away from its historical product-centric focus, so that Novell can gain the muscle needed to provide an overall framework for network services, according to Schmidt.
"The problem [in network services] is that the customer wants solutions, and we did not have the ability to deliver all that. It became clear we wouldn't be able to achieve the solutions thing on our own and that CTP was the best choice," Schmidt said.
At BrainShare next week, Novell will have a chance to continue its services proclamation as it touts features and release dates of forthcoming products, including NetWare 6, GroupWise 6, and eDirectory 9.
In addition, the company will use BrainShare to promote the concept of dynamic portals. Novell is bundling portal services into NetWare to give users on-demand access to network applications through the directory, Schmidt said.
The company also plans to detail the components of NetWare 6, including a feature for synchronization dubbed iFolder that copies user desktop data to NetWare, Novell said.
A core element of GroupWise 6 will be wireless integration with messaging and calendar functions, according to Novell officials.
The product, code-named Bulletproof, is designed to provide access to e-mail and calendar on handheld devices. The system can also use the eDirectory platform for authentication, but will not require use of the directory.
In addition, Novell plans to showcase a wireless application to be part of the next release of eDirectory, code-named Falcon. The wireless directory management feature will enable users to remotely manage directories via a wireless connection, according to Novell.
The merger with Cambridge, Mass.-based CTP will add weight to Novell's push to build out directory applications, according to Schmidt.
"The construction of specialized apps that use directory and network services is the next interesting space in networking," Schmidt said.
"The problem with [Novell's] directory strategy is that people don't buy directories; they buy directory-based solutions. We needed more horsepower to pull that off," he said.
Schmidt will continue his role as chairman of the Novell board of directors, with the added role of chief strategist.
One 11-year Novell product user, Dennis Corolla, network analyst at the Metropolitan Sewer District, in Louisville, Ky., cheered the company's directory-centric focus.
"They should get away from [file and print] and use the directory as a service," Corolla said. "I will probably switch all my file and print services to Microsoft because it provides more functionality, but I will use NDS to manage every bit of it."
According to one analyst, Novell's business will be well served by the addition of a strong services organization, but questions still linger about the company's future leadership.
"A company like Novell would do well to have a professional services arm," said Dana Gardner, research director at Aberdeen Group, in Boston.
"However, they still have some vision to generate from a management perspective about how Novell will be run better, leaner, and faster under [the new leadership]," Gardner added.
Novell this week also picked up thin-client technology provider Novetrix, based in Fountain Valley, Calif., for an undisclosed sum. Version 1.5 of Novell OnDemand Services, also introduced this week, integrates this thin-client technology from Novetrix into NDS eDirectory, allowing users to access Windows-based applications across multiple networks. This allows end-users to tap corporate applications, such as Microsoft Office, through a Web browser without having client software deployed on the desktop, Novell officials said.
Version 2.0, expected this summer, will include a workflow policy management feature for applying business policy.