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Software // Enterprise Applications

Novell Linux Strategy In Full Bloom

Business-class management tools are designed to help Linux increase its presence in data centers.

For Linux to be a major factor in corporate data centers, it needs a suite of management tools that not only automate software updates and patches but deliver a wide swath of configuration and remote-control features. The introduction of ZENworks 7 Linux Management on Friday is Novell's attempt to deliver business-class management tools to the open-source operating system. Combined with the release earlier this week of Open Enterprise Server and the introduction of SuSE Linux Professional 9.3, which will be available in mid-April, Novell is planting the seeds for what the company hopes will be a bountiful spring.

ZENworks 7 marks the first time Novell has taken its Linux management offerings beyond the basic Linux software and patch-management capabilities available through Red Carpet Enterprise, a product it acquired along with Ximian in 2003. ZENworks 7, which will roll out by June, is designed to apply pre-defined business processes and policies to a particular server or group of servers. The latest version also offers Web-based administration via ZENworks Control Center as well as remote management via the open-source Virtual Network Computing client. The product works with both the SuSE Linux and Red Hat Linux operating systems.

"One of the barriers to broader Linux deployment is management," says Alan Murray, VP of product management and marketing for Novell's resource-management products and services. "Customers are realizing that the time to do management is day one, not day one thousand."

SuSE Linux Professional 9.3, introduced Thursday, will give Novell customers their first peek at the Xen open-source software-virtualization tool. Although Professional is targeted more at home users than corporations, Novell is hoping that the product's open-source Linux operating system, desktop interface, Firefox 1.0 Web browser, and OpenOffice apps as well as its photo-organizer tools and voice-over-IP support will provide an environment for giving Xen a solid workout.

"Professional has always been a chance for us to put the latest packages in the market," says Greg Mancusi-Ungaro, marketing director for SuSE Linux. "This gives us a chance to refine these packages, and then later put them in an enterprise product."

Novell anticipates that Xen will be part of the next major release of SuSE Linux Enterprise Server, although no time frame has been provided. Xen's "appearance in 9.3 is a bellwether for its appearance in our enterprise class products," Mancusi-Ungaro says.

The company also Thursday announced the general availability of its Novell Open Enterprise Server suite of services that combines the venerable NetWare operating system with SuSE Linux Enterprise Server to run file, print, directory, management, and collaboration applications.

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