BrainShare shift: Netware to Linux

For the past few years Novell has been talking up Linux and downplaying NetWare. At the company's annual BrainShare conference last week, even die-hard NetWare customers started to do the same.

"Our (IT) director has said that he wants every system in our network to go to Linux," said Dan Tesenair, senior network engineer at Health First in Melbourne, Florida. The health care provider is moving Windows, Unix and NetWare servers to a mix of Novell's SuSE Linux and Open Enterprise Server (OES), which is based on Linux and NetWare kernels.

Novell last week tried to give customers even more reason to buy into its open-source-oriented strategy, which is designed to meld the best of Linux and NetWare services. The company announced that its GroupWise messaging and collaboration system will come bundled with SuSE Linux, and its ZENworks systems management offering will be able to control Windows workstations from Linux servers.

Novell also introduced a Linux-based network and collaboration package for small and midsize businesses that will be available through partners such as Dell and HP. What's more, the company said it formed the Open Source Technology Center, which will promote development of open source and Linux applications.

Announcements like those are aimed squarely at IT professionals such as Roger Fenner, who was among the 4,000 users and Novell partners attending BrainShare at the Salt Lake Convention Center. Fenner is infrastructure services manager for Comair, a subsidiary of Delta Airlines, in Cincinnati.

Comair is making the move to OES, rolling out Intel Itanium-based HP Integrity servers running SuSE Linux in place of PA-RISC machines running HP-UX.

"Sixty-four-bit computing on Itanium servers is a big part of our hardware infrastructure plans," he said. "SuSE Linux is very much invested in the 64-bit architecture."

Fenner also is moving from Windows and NetWare on ProLiant servers to OES, which supports file and print, ZENworks, NetMail, GroupWise and other NetWare services on the SuSE kernel.

"With HP-UX (on PA-RISC) going away, it will be nice to have a common platform for everything," said Fenner, who has 55 PA-RISC servers and 55 ProLiants.

His BorderManager and iChain applications will remain on OES running the NetWare kernel, although Fenner said the recently introduced Novell Security Manager, an OEM product from Astaro that runs on Linux, excites him.

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