Novell moving networking services to Linux

Following up on its recent pledge to back Linux, Novell Inc. on Tuesday will announce that its networking services are being moved to the open source Linux platform.

The company will announce Nterprise Linux Services, although the product will not ship until the end of this year. The package will consist of Novell’s file, print, messaging, directory, and management services tailored to the Red Hat and SuSE distributions of Linux. Novell had pledged Linux support at its BrainShare user conference in Salt Lake City in April.

Also being announced are partnerships with IBM Corp., Dell Computer Corp., and Hewlett-Packard Co., who will offer the suite to their PC-based customers with full training and support, according to Novell, which also will provide support.

The company is eyeing data centre environments deploying Linux, according to Jeff Hawkins, vice-president of the Linux business office at Novell, in Provo, Utah.

“Linux has an enormous amount of momentum in the marketplace,” Hawkins noted.

One analyst said Novell’s Linux move was a logical one.

“Novell has a long history of providing scalable, reliable, secure, and manageable products,” said analyst Dan Kusnetzky, vice-president of system software research at IDC, in Framingham, Mass., in an e-mail response to questions. “It has a long history of being a part of the enterprise infrastructure. This is exactly what end-users tell us they want from Linux. So, Linux users or prospective Linux users who feel that these things are important just might feel a little more comfortable when Novell’s directory services software, combined with Novell’s management and security software, are combined with Linux.”

A closed beta program for Nterprise Linux Services, for approximately 150 customers, will begin next month.

With the file services in the product, users can manage files based on Samba, an open source software platform providing compatibility with Windows clients on file protocols, Hawkins said. The iFolder function in the package will protect personal information and enable file-sharing between PCs, Hawkins said.

Enterprise print capabilities in Nterprise Linux Services, hosted on Linux servers, will enable users to access multiple printers via a listing set up on a company’s Web site, according to Novell.

Pricing of Nterprise Linux Services will be announced when the product ships.