Novell Unveils New Products, Red Hat Deal

Novell, determined not to go down without a fight, has unveiled several initiatives focused on providing a unified set of products for operating Web-based networks.

CEO Eric Schmidt outlined the software vendor's plans, along with a nationwide ad campaign expected to last through the fall, during his keynote speech at the NetWorld+Interop trade show in Atlanta on Tuesday. Specifically, Novell revealed the general availability of its DirXML1.0, eDirectory 8.5, and Account Management 2.1, introduced version 1.3 of its Internet Caching System, and launched its Portal Services, which consists of products from Novell and its partners that are designed to provide unified log-ins and access to multiple sources of Web data.

Novell also says it has struck a partnership and supply deal with open-source software vendor Red Hat Inc. calling for Red Hat to use Novell Directory Systems eDirectory and DirXML for its planned Red Hat Network, an online resource for Linux developers. "We are serious about this transition, and the partnership with Red Hat is an example of our commitment," Schmidt says of Novell's plan to reinvent itself into a supplier of software for operating Internet-based networks.

Customers say Schmidt's speech reflected Novell's faltering attempts to expand beyond its historic strengths in file and print services. "All we've ever used Novell for is file and print services, and I think they've been struggling with a lot of this new stuff," says Michael Moss, operations chief for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. "They're struggling to stay solvent, and they're trying to find their niche" in enterprise networks, Moss adds.

Others say Novell will have to become more effective in making a business case for the use of its products if it is to succeed in competing with marketing powerhouses such as Microsoft. Says Stan Yarbrough, managing consultant at North Highland Co., a networking consulting firm in Atlanta, "No matter what Novell does, if they don't learn how to market to people who make business decisions, none of this will ever fly."

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