In Midst of Novell Merger, The Last Days of NetWare? - Page 2

 By Brian Proffitt
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Actually, the 7 percent decline is an improvement: From 2008 to 2009, the OES product line lost US$28.1 million, or 13.7 percent, in revenue. That the decline rate was cut nearly in half is definitely credit that Novell should get. Germanides is currently seeing a big push in her business unit (which may account for the breaks applied to the revenue loss).

"Open Enterprise Server has a lot of momentum right now. In fact, the customers that have adopted Open Enterprise Server on Linux have reported they are very satisfied with the performance and excited about the upcoming features and functionality. Most importantly, the roadmap story around file sharing is very compelling and is sure to continue that momentum into 2012," she wrote.

That hint about file sharing may be the a clue as to what innovations are being planned for the OES lineup. So may this: I asked Germanides if there was any customer type out there that needs OES, but doesn't know it, and her answer was noteworthy.

"The media doesn't often focus on them, but new companies, start-ups, should definitely look at Open Enterprise Server. Building an infrastructure on a SUSE Linux foundation is a smarter way to use capital than the expensive license agreements that Microsoft presents," Germanides replied. "And, for essential file and print services, Open Enterprise Server provides industry leading capabilities on top of an open source platform. For a nascent company, it's a match made in heaven."

This is telling because lately there has been growth in the managed service sector, particularly targeting small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Turn-key servers managed locally or remotely for SMBs are starting to gain a lot of traction, and this could be a good market for Novell to muscle into.

The question of what will become of NetWare, then, will become one of execution: if the Collaborative Solutions (CS) business unit (which manages the OES product line) can get a plan together and implemented for OES in a new market (SMB or otherwise), then it stands a fair chance of succeeding. Even as cloud and virtualization services grow, there is still the need for local collaborative services on the ground at any organization.

But the CS unit needs to have its ducks in a row fast, if it's to make a strong case for the continued existence of OES.

As for the actual NetWare software, it does not seem long for this world. Even if OES succeeds, it is clear Novell's plan is to migrate legacy customers away to OES on Linux, and certainly sell new customers that product. The services of NetWare may live on in OES, but the day the last NetWare server is shutdown may soon be coming.

Brian Proffitt is a Linux, Open Source, and technology expert who writes for a number of online publications. Formerly the Community Manager for Linux.com and the Linux Foundation, he is the author of 20 technical/consumer books, including the recent Take Your iPad to Work. Follow him on Twitter @TheTechScribe.

This article was originally published on Jan 5, 2011
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