Just one month after shipping its merged Linux/NetWare operating system, called Open Enterprise Server (OES), Novell is now planning a major update to the product, scheduled to be released by the first half of 2007.
The new version of OES, code-named Cypress, will merge a future version of NetWare as well as version 10 of the company's Suse Linux Enterprise Server, which is expected to begin shipping in the first half of 2006.
Cypress is particularly important to Novell as it looks to move to a Linux-based product line as a means of remaining viable in the market. The company's once-dominant NetWare operating system now represents just under 6 percent of worldwide server installations, according to research firm IDC. By 2007, that number is expected to drop to about 3 percent.
Cypress will include new desktop integration, Linux clustering and storage software, as well as tools to help Windows and NetWare users migrate to the product. "You can think of it as a vision that's going to drive a lot of things that we will be developing," said Hugo Parra, product management lead with Novell's Platform Services Group.
While OES 1.0 was designed to smooth the Linux transition for NetWare users by providing them with familiar tools and services on a Linux kernel, Cypress will be focused on attracting Windows users, Parra said. To that end, it will include migration tools designed to help users move from Windows Web e-mail servers, and management software to allow administrators to manage the Samba file-and-print software from Novell's iManager console.
Cypress will also include better Linux monitoring and management tools, improved integration between the Linux desktop and Cypress identity and management services, and Linux support for the Novell Storage Services file system, according to Novell's roadmap.
The company's road map calls for the release of three service pack updates to the current version of Open Enterprise Server: one to be released in June of this year, a second in February 2006, and a third later on that year. The releases are expected to be made in conjunction with upgrades to Suse Linux Enterprise Server 9, the road map states.
In November 2005, Novell plans to begin selling a version of Novell Cluster Services for Linux as a stand-alone product, separate from OES. At the same time, the company also plans to release a version of Business Continuance Clustering that supports clustering in OES, customers mix Linux and NetWare servers in the same cluster.
Cypress appears to have some features that will be new to NetWare users, particularly in the areas of system monitoring and management, said Gary Hein, an analyst with Burton Group.
But the most important job ahead for Novell is to make sure that its NetWare services, many of which have been nominally ported in the first version of OES, run as smoothly on Linux as they do on NetWare.
"Most of this is about porting over to Linux what they already have," Hein said. "It's one thing to get a feature from NetWare to Linux. It's another thing to get it there correctly and optimized."