Novell shares brains behind business

Novell Inc.’s DENIM architecture announcement at BrainShare 2000 was followed by the unveiling of several products, including instantme, GroupWise, an open beta of DirXML and ZENWorks product bundles.

While scheduled for release this summer, DirXML technology is now available as a download through an open beta. The technology can help organizations manage and link user profiles wherever they are stored, according to Novell, including network devices and operating systems, without having to modify any software.

“I can be in an Exchange user-manager screen, create a new user ID, and all of a sudden it’s in NDS as well, at the same time,” explained Bruno Bevilacqua, the manager of infrastructure management at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) in Guelph, Ont. The BrainShare attendee has been a Novell user for four years.

According to Phil Schacter, the director of network strategy service with Midvale, Utah-based The Burton Group, DirXML “is something that’s important for [Novell] to be competitive with their directory in the marketplace.”

He added that if Novell had been able to bring it out six months ago it would have given the company a stronger time lead, but he said it’s still not too late.

News about GroupWise, which is under the Net Portal Services and Knowledge services section of DENIM, was also announced. It will be the platform to deliver Net services software such as calendaring and messaging, and the next version of GroupWise, code-named Bulletproof, will include wireless capabilities.

“You need to be able to get into your environment from wherever,” explained Leif Pedersen, director and product manager for Novell. The advantage for network managers is the ability to manage GroupWise servers from a wireless device, he said.

A beta version of the wireless GroupWise is currently downloadable, but Bulletproof is not expected to be in full release until the fall.

GroupWise, along with the Novell Internet Messaging System (NIMS), will be available on Linux and Solaris platforms, the company also announced. NIMS will be targeted at ASPs and ISPs as a hosted service, giving them a scalable messaging package.

digitalme, the company’s identification management technology, will also become a hosted service, as well as a product, according to Cydni Rogers Tetro, product manager for NDS. instantme, Novell’s enterprise-ready instant messaging for businesses, was also launched at BrainShare.

According to John Gailey, vice-president of In-The-Net Services for Novell, customers want to use their digital identity to communicate with other people.

What he has been hearing over the last few months “is individuals saying they want to use the identity to do business on the Internet as the next level.” The combination of these, he said, will enable that.

Novell also announced ZENworks product bundles, which will be available at the end of April. Some of the packages which will be offered include ZENworks for Servers, Desktops and Networks, with ManageWise 2.7 available together for US$150 per user; ZENworks for desktops and NetWare 5.1 bundled in a single server, five-user configuration for US$760. Any additional user licences will start at US$92.

All in all, the company was successful at explaining how each individual product fits within the new architectural model, according to Al Gillen, research manager with Framingham, Mass.-based International Data Corp.

But now Novell has a problem, he said. Communicating that same message to people who are not customers could prove to be a challenge.

“It’s very important for the company to reach out to those people who are not currently customers and help them understand where the Novell products fit into a larger non-NetWare environment or potentially heterogeneous environment,” Gillen said. “So have they done that? No, they haven’t finished that yet. They’re just starting on the roadmap to actually get the marketing message out and they have to get the message out at a number of different levels – they have to sell to Dilbert’s boss at this point in time.”

He added that Novell’s attempt to look at the “world as not being a NetWare-centric world” is a fairly significant move for the company.

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