Is Novell replacing Astaro with Novell Access Manager?

Rumors and discussion continue to swirl around Novell's BorderManager product. There are rumblings that a new version, 3.9, will be forthcoming after the product had been virtually declared dead.

In March 2005 Novell announced a new offering, "Novell Security Manager powered by Astaro," a repackaging of the Linux-based perimeter management appliance from Astaro Internet Security. Six months later, a version was released that featured tightly coupled integration with eDirectory, although it's still a third party product "bundled" by Novell.

I have said, in passing, that generally, this 'bundling in' should only be a short-term solution while the vendor either works on its own product or simply acquires the partner and its technology. That may have been prescient. And I don't mean that Novell is out to acquire Astaro!

I've heard from more than one well-placed NetWare user that there are strong rumors at Astaro that Novell will be dropping the repackaged Novell Security Manager product.

We've known for a while that the company is planning to roll out something called "Novell Access Manager" (see the demo here) without really knowing exactly where it would fit in the product mix.

NAM will incorporate all of the features from iChain, plus the Volera caching engine and SSL VPNs - much of what BorderManager has been all about. NAM has been in beta release for quite some time (it's either just gone to, or about to go to, a beta 3 release) - probably longer than was originally planned. It could be that the Astaro contract is coming up for renewal, but NAM is not quite ready to ship. BorderManager 3.9 could be just the stopgap Novell needs to fill this security niche until NAM is ready. Certainly, that seems like a better plan than releasing NAM before it's actually ready.

Incidently, the acronym for the product will be NAM, which was most recently seen as an acronym for Novell Account Management, a product rolled into Identity Manager a couple of years ago. The last stand-alone version of Account Manager was 3.0. I've seen Access Manager referred to as NAM 3.0 also, but that may be a typo. Or, it could be marketing shying away from a 1.0 release.

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