Novell parades loyal customers at BrainShare conference

Several of Novell Inc.'s marquee customers, including Campbell Soup Co., 20th Century Fox, and Freddie Mac, were on hand at the company's BrainShare user conference here this week to offer feedback about the real-world deployments of Novell products.

Despite the company's ups and downs, including declining revenues and corporatewide layoffs last year, Novell still commands strong loyalty from its large customer base.

One such customer, movie and television giant 20th Century Fox, uses Novell's BorderManager, an Internet security management tool, to manage communication with its large number of international sites.

According to Rich Wyant, manager of Novell technical services at 20th Century Fox, in Los Angeles, BorderManager's caching, firewall, and remote authentication features ensure reliable communication in corporate locations without a robust telephony infrastructure.

"The biggest problem with our international sites is the lack of telephone infrastructure out there in certain areas," Wyant said. "BorderManager helps [solve] those problems."

20th Century Fox has initiatives in place to deploy both Novell's centralized password management software Single Sign-on 2.1 for reducing administration costs throughout the company and DirXML data sharing and integration software to integrate PeopleSoft application with other corporate data systems, Wyant said.

Another customer, Campbell Soup, recently renewed its license with Novell, upgrading its NetWare platform to Version 5.1 and licensing the new ZENworks 3 management product, as the company instituted changes meant to streamline management processes, said Charles Destefani, manager of client/server services at the company. "We use these [products] for desktop standards management, third-party evaluation, and for remote control of the desktop," he said.

Also present at the conference was Freddie Mac, a financial services company that recently worked with Novell and consulting company Deloitte & Touche to install a new employee accounts processing system using Novell's DirXML and a PeopleSoft human resources management program to streamline employee administration, said Ron Brown, director of information security for Freddie Mac.

The combination of DirXML and eDirectory integrated with Lotus Notes helped Freddie Mac automate the process of identity creation and deletion when a new employee starts working with the company or leaves, according to Brown.

"We found that we could move people so quickly that anyone who does employee administration can do their job much more quickly," he said.

Juice maker Odwalla taps Novell's ZENworks for Desktops, BorderManager, and Novell Account Management software for wresting control over 550 PCs and 11 servers spread throughout 30 cities.

"Managing our network is a challenge because it so distributed," said Gary Hensley, director of IT at Odwalla. The company is looking forward to deploying the forthcoming NetWare 6.

"NetWare 6 is exciting to me because that takes the challenge we have now of many servers out there in our distributed network and allows us to pull them in," Hensley said. Novell's vision for NetWare 6 boosts server management and Web access and provides full security, Hensley said.

The success of Novell's big push into Web services with its "one Net" strategy remains to be seen, but many customers still tout the quality and reliability of Novell's technology.

"Yes, [Novell's future success] is a concern," said Campbell Soup's Destefani. "But there is nothing else out there right now that is better."

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