During a live debate over the Web this month, Novell hurled verbal darts at
Exchange, IIS and Outlook security holes. A Microsoft partner taunted
Novell for using its GroupWise ICE (integrated collaborative environment)
to “play catch-up.” Within the same hour, the debaters also grappled over
analysts’ statistics, Exchange 2000 migration costs, and dual operability
for GroupWise on NetWare and Windows servers.
Microsoft and Novell keep sparring, anyhow, “in the form of press releases
and marketing campaigns,” noted Intellireach CEO Sam Levine, at the start
of the recent online event. Intellireach, sponsor of the debate, produces
software management tools for both Exchange and GroupWise, two of the three
leading ICE players. The event used Placeware’s Webcasting technology.
“Is your collaborative system always available?” asked Howard Tayler,
Novell’s GroupWise product manager, the lead-off debater. “Will it stay up
in the face of hacks, cracks, and virus attacks?”
Not surprisingly, Tayler maintained that GroupWise will stay up, but
Exchange won’t. The product manager pointed to a chart indicating high
incident rates for Code Red, SirCam, Anna K., I Love You, and Melissa for
instance, among Exchange customers.
On Web pages far and wide, “Microsoft is being lambasted for its security
problems,” according to Tayler. More specifically, he pointed to $1.2
billion in industry damage from Code Red as resulting from Microsoft’s
inability to “secure their servers.”
Representing the Microsoft side, Wayne Dunn, principal consultant at AimNet
Solutions, clearly wanted to switch the spotlight to Microsoft’s higher
market share, wide-ranging training programs, and $5 billion R&D budget .
While acknowledging Microsoft’s security “vulnerabilities,” Dunn heaped a
lot of the blame on Microsoft’s sheer prevalence as a platform.
Dunn also admonished systems administrators to help battle bad code by
installing patches and configuring firewalls correctly. If a server is down
for four days all due to a worm, the administrator is being “lax,”
according to Dunn.
“Let’s be real. All messaging systems are vulnerable,” he charged. Dunn
recalled doing a major migration from GroupWise to Exchange, in which the
“GroupWise system had so many viruses” that partners were rejecting their
mail. It really didn’t matter that the NetWare servers stayed up all the
while. GroupWise was rendered “useless,” according to Dunn.
The bottom line, though, is that “Exchange is climbing while GroupWise is
declining,” he asserted. “Exchange is the overall leader in deployment with
a 50 percent installed base in 2000,” according to the Microsoft partner.
Tayler, though, didn’t buy Dunn’s arguments. “We have seen a different
trend,” said the Novell employee. “Many (Exchange users) are opting to
migrate over to GroupWise.”
Furthermore, Exchange 5.5 – as opposed to Exchange 2000 – still accounts
for much of Microsoft’s market share, he contended.
Tayler cited figures from IDC which show growth for Exchange and GroupWise
alike between 2000 and 2001. in terms of both revenues and the installed
base. “GroupWise has a fantastic security record today. We don’t have
vaporware promises,” he added.
Tayler admitted to security problems around Padlock, a previous GroupWise
bug. After Padlock, though, outsiders who pounded on Novell’s system were
unable to find any further exploits, according to the product manager.
Tayler drummed on Novell’s advantages in the areas of simplicity,
scalability, mobility, and crossplatform support, aside from security.
GroupWise runs on both Windows and NetWare servers, he emphasized.
For his part, Dunn questioned Tayler’s statement, earlier in debate, that
the Ferris Group has figured Windows 2000 migration costs at $800 per seat.
That number is at the high end of Ferris’ estimates, he elaborated.
Dunn also suggested that Novell might be riding on Microsoft’s coattails
into the groupware space. “Microsoft has taken us to the moon many times.
Novell has never left Earth’s orbit,” he remarked.
Exchange supports not just Outlook, but POP3 and IMAP clients, he observed.
On the whole, Dunn also stressed what he sees as “a solid and integrated OS
foundation, a scalable and flexible architecture, a comfortable end user
experience, and internal and external support” as key reasons to go with
Exchange over GroupWise.
Live viewers of the debate were able to ask questions. “How come Novell has
two (e-mail) products?” asked one participant, in reference to Novell’s
Netmail, according to Tayler, was originally developed at Novonics, a
Novell spin-off. When Novonics was folded back into Novell, Novell decided
to keep the lighter weight, Internet-based mail system.
“Analysts are looking at (the messaging market), and trying to decide what
is going to happen in ten years,” he said. “Novell is the only player with
products in both spaces.” This gives Novell strategic flexibility “in ways
that Microsoft flat out” doesn’t have, in Tayler’s opinion.
According to a recent IDC report on the ICE market, second-place player
Microsoft grew 4.2 percent between 2000 and 2001 to $646 million, for a
39.4 percent share, in terms of worldwide revenues. Novell grew 3.4 percent
to $101.5 million, for a 6.2 percent share. With its Lotus Notes
environment, though, IBM dropped slightly by 0.7 percent to $804 million,
for a share of 49 percent.
On the installed base side, the picture looked even better for Exchange and
GroupWise. Although IBM rose 12 percent to 74 million users, Microsoft
soared 44.6 percent to 83 million, taking over the lead. Meanwhile, Novell
stepped up substantially by 29.6 percent, to 33.7 million users worldwide.