Novell's Partners, Products Focus on Integration

SAN MATEO (03/27/2000) - Novell this week will unveil its "one Net" marketing message and demonstrate several new technologies at its BrainShare conference in Salt Lake City, hoping to finally put to rest complaints about marketing shortcomings that have plagued Novell in past years.

Novell will flesh out its Net services strategy introduced in February and demonstrate pieces of a development effort code-named "Tao," which will include the DirXML metadirectory solution, eDirectory 8.5, and NDS Corporate Edition 8.5, a unified user management solution.

The eDirectory 8.5 will support a federated directory, which allows a company to grant access rights to their directory tree to another company also using eDirectory, helping to manage and share directory information between individuals, applications, and business partners.

"What we want to do is have a secure place in which you can meet things," said Eric Schmidt, chairman and CEO of Novell. "Programs can meet programs, people can meet businesses, and so forth."

Tao is slated for a summer 2000 delivery date.

Partnerships with companies such as Talarian and Red Hat will help extend support of Novell products in enterprise markets. Red Hat will include an evaluation copy of eDirectory for Linux and a full version of eGuide, a search tool for querying Web and partner directories, on its Linux applications CD.

Novell is also integrating Talarian's Smart Sockets real-time event technology with NDS, creating Novell Event Services. An early version of Novell Event Services APIs were in the latest Novell Developers Kit.

"The problem we've had in the past is that the people who manage the objects within the directory do so, but if somebody goes in and changes the network object, there hasn't been an easy way for the processes that relate to that object to know it's changed," said John Schroder, Novell director for product marketing. "This technology is going to make implementation of directory-enabled applications much, much easier."

Novell is also porting Smart Sockets to NetWare and developing a directory event publisher for the NetWare port.

Other technologies to be demonstrated include Single Sign-On 2.0, technology to have file-and-print capabilities in the network rather than on a server and a service known as "NDS iMonitor," a browser-based NDS monitoring tool.

However, Schmidt believes the roll-out of Novell's one Net vision will be "the most important thing" discussed at BrainShare.

The proposed message involves tying together all networks into "one Net," which can be managed and integrated through Novell.

The impetus behind one Net stems from Novell's mixed results in marketing their products to enterprise companies, which has been a source of frustration for the company and users alike.

"I've always been a big, strong proponent for Novell -- my biggest gripe about them has been marketing," said Kurt Mounteer, assistant systems manager at Marriott Guest Services in Salt Lake City. "I think their product has been far superior, but who can compete with Microsoft's advertising dollars?"

Dan Kusnetsky, vice president of systems software research with International Data Corp., in Framingham, Mass., believes Novell missed its window of opportunity during Microsoft's Active Directory delays, and now must fight to hold its place in the enterprise.

"Novell is in a position where they're really in three different businesses and have been trying to find a unifying theme," Kusnetsky said. "They're in the operating system and infrastructure software business, they're in the directory service with NDS, and they're in the collaborative software business with GroupWise, and it's difficult for them to present a unified message."

Phil Schacter, director of consultancy the Burton Group, in Midvale, Utah, agrees that it will be up to Novell users to decide if this new strategy sinks or swims.

"If [Novell's] channel gets fed up with them or the customers decide that Novell really doesn't 'get it,' that they don't have a solid strategy going forward, then we'll see the attrition of the Novell customer base move much more quickly than otherwise," Schacter said.

Thanks for BrainSharing

Novell news from BrainShare show

* Presence and availability management, developed with Lucent to share information across IP and telephony systems* Tao, a federated directory for managing shared directory information* Novell Events Services, integration between Talarian's Smart Sockets real-time event technology and NDS* Single sign-on service from Novell and Passlogix.

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