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Novell and BEA Systems announced an agreement to jointly build solutions that leverage Novell's security and access talents with BEA's application infrastructure software.

What Novell gets from the deal is clear: It gets a partnership with one of the leading Java development companies. In a Computerworld interview, Chris Stone, Novell's vice chairman in the office of the CEO, made no bones about Novell's late entry in the Java world.

"We blew it," he said.

BEA is one of the companies driving Java development and standards. Novell expects to offer a significant upgrade on its Java 2 Enterprise Edition capabilities in Version 7 of its NetWare network operating system, which is due early next year, and Stone made it clear Novell could learn a lot from BEA along the way.

Scott Edgington, BEA's vice president and general manager for global software partners, called access control, security and user authentication "critical" pieces of enterprise infrastructure and said those are areas that BEA would like to leverage with its future offerings.

"The guys that are taking care of servers and security aren't necessarily the guys building Java applications, but they all have the same goal of running an efficient IT organization," Edgington said. "We and Novell are going to find a way of bringing them together to do that."

John Enck, an analyst at Gartner Inc. in Stamford, Conn., said a partnership between the two billion-dollar vendors could prove powerful in the marketplace, especially for Novell.

"The real key is whether BEA will do a lot with it," he said. "They've got a lot of partnerships, and they have to choose which ones they really want to do something with."

The announcement was made at Novell's annual Brain Share conference here.

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