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Do-No-Evil Saturday – Part II: Novell Potpourri at End of Year

Posted in GNU/Linux, Mail, Marketing, NetWare, Novell, SLES/SLED at 3:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SLED cube

THE Var Guy claims that he was wrong about Novell. He refers only to their Linux business while ignoring the rest though. Novell seems to spend an out-of-the-ordinary amount of time talking about and emphasising this Linux business, which makes up a small portion of the overall portfolio and revenue. From the CTO’s blog:

Last year, we launched OES 2. This product is important to our NetWare customer base, drives the growth of Linux, and is a proof-point of industrial strength virtualization using SLES and XEN. The product’s success has contributed to the business success achieved in fiscal 2008 by our Workgroup team. Our attention and focus have paid off. We have now launched a service pack for OES 2—one which adds considerable function.


BrainShare may be over for good [1, 2, 3], but GWAVA has its fist on the spigot and it’s unleashing another press release:

GWAVA today announced that Novell customers that have already purchased airline tickets to attend BrainShare 2009 will be offered a credit to pay for the change fee that many airlines charge to change tickets. Those wishing to change their flights to Las Vegas to attend GWAVACon, January 25 – 27 2009 will be given a credit equal to the amount of the change fee charged by the airline.

Netware and other crown jewels of Novell get the spanking in these comments from the coverage of BrainShare cancellation.

I am the senior engineer of a 5000 seat company who was up until the last year and a half a complete and total Novell shop. Netware, Groupwise, Bordermanager, IChain, eXtend, iManager, all that stuff. To to tune of about half a million dollars a year we were paying Novell to LEASE licenses under their MLA agreement and get support. After years of promises of a better product (Groupwise) and an easier to manager server / directory services system (Netware and NDS/Edir) the return on investment we were making ANNUALLY were just not there. No one is writing any software for netware or edirectory anymore, it is full of proprietary junk that no one bothers to mess with, its a nightmare of incompatibility. Netware itself had really not evolved since 4.1, they were (still are) selling a product in Netware 6.5 that is really no better than Netware 5.1 (whose only real difference over 4.1 was that it had java). And they still charge ridiculous prices for their products. They have just about priced themselves out of the game and have made no product improvements in their core (OS/directory services) in YEARS. Groupwise certainly has advanced, but it is BEHIND Exchange and Outlook at this point and has been since roughly Exchange 2000. The only reason Novell is still in business is because they have a BLINDLY loyal customer base who are too afraid to move on. I was one who drank the red Kool Aid back in the day, but have moved on. Our ROI was about 2 years.


You’re absolutely right about development for Netware and eDirectory. And both are going away, eventually – Netware first, eDir soon after. There is exactly ONE person writing any code for Netware at Novell and he only does so 50% of his time. The Groupwise client has paled next to Outlook for nearly a decade, but the back end is MUCH better than it is on Exchange, always has been. Novell’s licensing model isn’t much different than Microsoft’s, but recent changes to the support entitlements are nothing more than moves to prop up the margin. Novell has a stunning lack of R&D and Quality Assurance – when was the last time they developed a product internally? Zen Configuration Management 10, and that was released approximately a year behind schedule (based on original timelines) and a year too early (based on the number of bugs and lack of functionality). Novell is getting by on acquisitions (Tally, Senforce, eSecurity, Platespin, Managed Objects) when it comes to product development.


Despite the above, Novell maintains a relationship with some companies. Novell, for example, is named as a source of StrataCache’s inception.

StrataCache introduced SuperLumin Networks, a software and services company founded by a group of veteran engineers from high-tech companies including Novell, Cisco and others.

The Novell-Avnet relationship was mentioned last week, but here it is appearing again.

Novell and Avnet Technology Solutions, an operating group of Avnet, Inc. have announced a strategic relationship to provide virtualization and workload management solutions to data center customers.

Here is a company that brags about becoming Novell’s Training Partner of the Year in Asia-Pacific.

Excom Education has won the 2008 Novell Training Partner of the Year Asia-Pacific, in addition to being recognised as a Platinum Training Partner for Asia-Pacific in 2009. It is the second consecutive year Excom has received such a high accolade in the region.

That’s all for this week. It was a holiday.

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  1. Sebastiaan Veld said,

    December 28, 2008 at 6:48 am


    “There is exactly ONE person writing any code for Netware at Novell and he only does so 50% of his time.”

    Ah, the loyal NetWare crowd talking: still hanging in the NetWare day’s crying for and hoping on new developments there:/
    For -several years- the Novell message is quite clear; NetWare is unsupported after 2012 and replaced by OES (services runing on Linux). With this in mind it’s perfectly understandable that all resources are put on OES and not on NetWare (which only get’s maintenance).

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 28, 2008 at 7:04 am


    I think AIX is a similar story, but with more people involved.

  3. jo Shields said,

    December 28, 2008 at 7:32 am


    AIX is still a first-class citizen as far as IBM are concerned, they’ll still try and give it to you by default on P-Series kit.

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 28, 2008 at 7:40 am


    Yes, I know. It seems like their differentiator, but they virtualise under it.

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