Cool Solutions

Defining the Next Chapter of Novell: Focus and Commitment


July 28, 2011 9:04 am





Bob Flynn, President and General Manager, Novell

It’s been about 2.5 months that I have been in the role of President and General Manager of Novell, and since joining The Attachmate Group, Novell has taken many steps towards defining the next great chapter in its evolution and history.

I want to take this opportunity to articulate our renewed focus and plans – where we are going, how we want to build on the strengths we have in our innovative and battle-tested technology, loyal customers, strong partners, and dedicated employees.

With our portfolio streamlined, our product focus is on collaboration, file and networking, and endpoint management technologies. From a customer success perspective, our focus is on engineering excellence and lasting customer and partner relationships. Our future is tied to how we deliver on our solutions, our word and how our customers perceive and define successful outcomes.

My team and I have much to share with you at our customer and partner event, BrainShare (October – 10 – 14, 2011 in Salt Lake City, Utah) and we encourage you to come hear first-hand our plans. For now, I can tell you that we have a lot to share with you over the coming months. We are committed to:

Delivering higher-quality solutions and greater customer value faster: To do this, Novell is hiring more R & D resources in Provo, UT and reinvesting in our core products with more frequent releases. In CY Q4, look for a series of product announcements to our core product families: Novell GroupWise, Open Enterprise Server, ZENworks and Novell Vibe.

Enabling customers to upgrade to latest versions at their own pace: For long-time customers, we’re making it easier to upgrade at your own pace by aligning and extending support for NetWare 6.5, Novell GroupWise 7, Novell ZENworks 7 for Desktops and the Novell ZENworks 7 Suite.

Enabling a portable workspace across wired and mobile devices securely: In today’s economy, employees need to be productive from anywhere and have the ability to access files from the device of their choosing (desk, laptops, tablets, mobile devices). Novell is ensuring GroupWise and Messenger functionality is accessible via today’s devices. Moreover, with ZENworks, we’re bringing together the ability to monitor and enforce endpoint and data security in one place and integrating management and secure file access across devices.

We are combining the ideas of social sharing with enterprise file discovery and access across devices with innovations that are complementary to Novell Open Enterprise Server. We’re leveraging our new File Management Suite to continue to drive down the cost of managing and storing data even as user output from new applications and devices skyrockets.

Consolidating and leveraging social experience across collaboration portfolio: Novell is incorporating key social experiences from Novell Vibe into GroupWise to bridge social and traditional email collaboration for our customers. We’re accelerating the consolidation of the Vibe platform with Novell Vibe OnPrem as the foundation as well. We’re incorporating the most user-requested functionality from Vibe Cloud into the combined platform rapidly over the next several releases. These strategic decisions and renewed focus have led us to the decision to decommission the Novell Vibe Cloud service as of September 30, 2011. We will communicate directly with Vibe Cloud users on what this means to them in the coming days.

I am honored to lead Novell and this great team into the next chapter of its long and decorated history. We have a bright and exciting future ahead. Our success will be measured on the success of our loyal customers and partners. Today’s Novell is more focused than ever on delivering enterprise-class capabilities in a social, mobile and multi-platform world. We are committed to helping you optimize the value you derive from your current investments and providing compelling reasons to extend your Novell investment to meet your business objectives.

Be sure to register for BrainShare to get the latest updates on these topics and more. I look forward to seeing you then. Can’t wait until then? Share your thoughts here.

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Categories: Collaboration, Expert Views, File Services and Management, PR Blog, Unified Endpoint Management


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  1. Bob,

    I am really liking what I am reading here. I LIKE the fact that you are extending support for some of your core products like ZFD 7.x We use that constantly and we were not looking forward to forcing us to upgrade since it would require us to totally redo our infrastructure…that would have been painful. Almost as painful as it was for us to go to SLES 10/OES2 on all of our servers because support was running out for NW 6.5. That really left a bad taste in my mouth about Novell’s “commitment” at the time for their customers, like me, who have been using Novell products almost from day one.

    I, for one, applaud you and hope for an even longer-term relation with some of the best software on the market..anywhere…for any price. Thanks for the opportunity to continue to partnership with you!


  2. By:Longtime customer


    As a long time customer I have seen the vows on higher quality and development speed before.


    The lack of it is what made Novell pretty much irrelevant in area’s where they were very strong.
    How many of Novell’s products still have an healthy non Novell ecosystem around them?
    Novell proudly advertises sites with 1500 clients for zenworks. Where are your large customers?
    Stick to a few products and make sure they stick out.
    Be the first to support a new Windows servicepack.
    Stick to your release schedule and if you really can’t, then communicate. Don’t make me google for it.

  3. By:Jim Shanks

    Novell has always had a strong and stable platform by way of features and usability. The main lacking has been getting information about these solutions infront of the right people. There seems to just be too many people that have taken the blue pill and do not realize that there truly is better software out there. They are so used to the buggy software that the competition puts out that they accept it as everyday life. These same people stick up for it like it is the only solution out there, I just plain don’t understand it.. Hopefully the new Novell has the guts and glory to get these solutions marketed well so that these seemingly narrow minded individuals will stop looking only one direction and start using some software that for the most part just works. Good Luck.

  4. By:Mary Matthews

    I would love to chat with you regarding on-going issues with support. The way it is handled, the cost to customers, and what made such an amazing support organization years ago and why it is far from great now. And yes, I’ll be at BrainShare, I can’t miss…I’m the instigator behind BrainShare Buddies. 🙂

  5. By:Mike Glenn

    1) Proposal: How about adding a feature to iPrint that would allow iPad users to utilize any network printer? There are people that would kick the door down for such a capability.

    2) Regarding R&D: does this mean we won’t have critical code written in Mumbai, anymore?


  6. I’d rather see the Novell business unit at Attachmate aggressively push upgrades from NetWare 6.5, GroupWise 7, ZENworks 7. NetWare is history and as much as I enjoyed working with it for 20 years, time has passed it by. There is no future for 32-bit operating systems on servers. With the next major release coming this calendar year, it is time to say goodbye to GroupWise 7 too. It is relatively easy to migrate from GroupWise 7 on NetWare to GroupWise 8 on SLES or SLES/OES or Windows. Novell should be making it dirt cheap for customers to do this now. And even though you can, as of May 24th, run GroupWise in the cloud, I think it needs a much bigger push. Premises e-mail systems are dying out and GroupWise needs a much stronger presence in the cloud going forward. ZCM will be four years old this August, well past time to get those ZENworks 7 installation upgraded and forgotten. ZCM is already in its second major release as ZCM 11.x so get on with it and make it worthwile for customers to ditch ZENworks 7.

    In the 1980s and 1990s I bled Novell red, but that’s the past and you don’t get to the future quickly enough by dragging all of this legacy dead weight behind you. Make it a no-brainer for customers to get current with these products.

    Having worked as a private beta tester for OES2 SP1 and SP2 it was obvious that it suffered from a lack of engineering support at Novell. OES on SLES should have been the no-brainer upgrade away from NetWare 6.5 but migrations never seemed to go just right and there were always gotchas that got in the way. None of this would have happened if the proper level of engineering support had been provided to OES. The services represented in OES are terrific and should not be limited to just SLES…get OES services running RHEL, CentOS and Ubuntu server LTS releases. The “new” Novell needs to do a better job of driving this technology into the market and into the cloud…ditto for NOWS SBE, which should have been cloud-enabled several years ago.

  7. By:Bill Sappington

    Mr. FLynn,

    So very nice to hear your encouraging words and I will take this opportunity to express some things that I think need to be seriously addressed.

    1. GroupWise – Now that Attachmate is running the show lets get with the program. A few things are extremely critical to get GW off of life support and back to robust health:

    a. The GW Client MUST become become truly cross platform no matter what. It MUST look, smell, feel and taste the same on Windows, Linux and OS-X.

    b. It MUST do everything OL/E does but do it faster, better and more securely.

    c. You MUST have a native iOS and Android client, do this and the world will beat a pathway to your door.

    d. You MUST get the API’s fixed. I have lost so MANY customers because they purchase software that fully integrates with Outlook/Exchange and we have done NOTHING to address that fatal weakness. I have a law firm that has been a loyal customer since NetWare version 3.12 and they are under constant pressure to move to OL/E because every document management tool does exchange and only ONE ( WordlDox ) does GW and the feature set is not on par.

    I lost a major Silicon valley accounting firm to MS because the integration is not usable. It is based on OLE and it is slow and painful to work with. We need C or C++ bound API’s that are fast, compact and accessible. EVERY language known to computer science can call into a C or C++ API, ALL of them even PHP for crying out loud. Not only do these API’s need to be published on the client side but on the server side as well. Imagine if you will an Oracle database making API calls to the GW engine and creating calender entries, e-mail messages, tasks or any other message type that GW supports and doing it on LINUX! Want to expand our customer base? Tehre is a good way to start.

    e. Instant Messaging. I cannot tell you how many times I have begged and pleaded with Alex and or Dean to get the SDK for GroupWise Messenger shipped to developers. I have even signed an NDA and have yet to see the full API spec. The GW-IM product is a perfect fit for the small law firm to the largest enterprise that want a small, compact, auditable, discoverable and secure IM product. You have it but don’t push it and put the marketing dollars into it. There is also this problem that Novell cannot decide what to Market, Teaming aka Vibe, or Novell Messenger.

    2. Kick the Sales & Marketing teams a$$’s up one side of the wall and down the other and then maybe back and forth across the street a few times.

    We lost the City of Los Angeles?


    we lost the city of LOS ANGELES?? How did that happen?

    How did we not do anything and everything to keep that from happening? The city of Los Angeles should have a direct 800 number to the back line tech support people in PROVO, not India and there should have been a Salesman along with a tech support guru calling on them every week, 52 weeks a year and giving them the kind of support an account that is the Government of a city and county of 12 million people!!

    Novell has Never been a S&M focused company and that MUST change. We have to out microsoft MicroSoft, period.

    3. Novell’s approach to Linux… NDS is Novell’s glue that holds everything together and the best file system to do that with is NSS. NSS must be linked into the Linux kernel as a NATIVE FILE SYSTEM used if by no one else then Novell. The current practice of running it as an ad-hoc file system degrades its performance. It is most telling when the GW people specifically recommend NOT using NSS for the GW system, no?

    4. The Novell client must be rebuilt from scratch. It has bloated to epic proportions and needs to get on a serious diet.

    5. Implementation of the IPP protocol as a replacement for NDPS was at best half hearted and TO THIS DAY requires IE and active-X to provision printers! This has to be fixed since IPP is key. Also Novell needs to re-implement accounting. It was one of the best features of the OS and it was NATIVE! No customer had to go out and purchase third party software. They could count pages printed, files, disk IO, packets across the network and charge the usage out to departments. This time they can charge it to customers in a remote offering aka the cloud be it private or public.

    6. Get 1-800-NETWARE ( 1-800-638-9237 )back up and running. This number is known to EVERYONE who has ever touched Novell products and to dial and get, “I’m sorry this number has been disconnected and is no longer in service” is very disturbing. That number has been in existence for over 20 years! What WERE you guys thinking?!

    7. STOP selling of patents! How do you think we beat SCO/MicroSoft? WTF over?!?!?

    8. The San Francisco Bay Area is arguably ( Not very though ) the HEART of what is happening with high tech. Get a presence here, reach out to the center of innovation. Come see us, talk with us, hire us and together we can make Novell back into the powerhouse it once was. Fail to do so at your own peril.

    9. You need to build up your ammunition and then attack the marketplace like Patton attacking in the Arden. You need to give this message to your troops: ( see footnote 1)

    “I don’t want to get any e-mails saying, “I am holding my position.” We are not holding anything. Let the Microsoft do that. We are advancing constantly and we are not interested in holding onto anything, except the competitions soft parts.

    We are going to twist their soft parts and kick the living heck out of him all of the time. Our basic plan of operation is to advance and to keep on advancing regardless of whether we have to go over, under, or through the competition. We are going to go through them like water through a bottomless mug”

    It is time to make Novell Great again.


    1. Adapted from the speech of General George S. Patton to the 3rd Army. Cleaned up ( considerably and words replaced to reflect the mission )

    Mr. Flynn you need an evangelist that will extol the virtues of Novell products unabashedly and attack the weakness of competitors without mercy.

  8. One of the things I’ve always seen that he lacked the GroupWise client version for Linux is that all the features that the Windows version is not available in the Linux version, even for the Mac version in our company we have a mixed environment with SLED workstations and Windows, and often required are fairly straightforward, in fact, we have customers who have not wanted to migrate due to these flaws in the Linux client.

  9. By:Ed Heiger

    I can’t tell you how refreshing this is. I’ve stuck with Novell through the thick and thin and defended you many times from those that say, “you are still running Novell?” I hope you stick to your word so I can feel comfortable knowing I did make the best choice sticking with Novell and not converting everything to Microsoft. I’m hoping for good things to come.


  10. By:Adel Gorgis

    Mr Bob, Novell editor;
    I am following your comments and plans regarding Novell future, but most of what I read so far are only promises. Novell customers long waiting for plans and objectives have grounds. Novell has great products, but lack very important factor – 3ed party support. Novell file system is a great one, but still a proprietary product: does not support NAS, lack practical management tools or very expensive management tools, and have very few 3ed party support.
    Most of the recent SLES patches have killing bugs, and the remedy take for ever (next patch God knows when). Your few customers resisting migrating to new product, and your sales people are not adequate to prove different. I am in Toronto, and you might have your feed back from somewhere else, but in N America, the ground is moving away underneath your feet. Sorry, but I am one of the people who had lived with Novell products for a while and still there. Unfortunately, I do not know for how long I will stay there while Novell is still struggling.

  11. By:Johnnie Odom


    I see that you have no comments here, but I know this statement has been widely read. You may want to re-post it in Cool Solutions where the comment culture (and number of eyeballs) is much greater.

    Johnnie Odom

  12. Two engineers talk to us through emails for two months for an ifolder SR. Instruct us to do this and to do that. But do not eager to do dail-in support. The only reason is that we have different time zone. These engineers are from USA. You will lose customers and partners in Asia.

    Many new customers in my area buy OES, but use ifolder only, because of the concept. But most ifolder issues and problems take a long time to solve and sometimes given up at the last. The ifolder database crashes very often and would not be recovered. Dropbox does the job better than ifolder.

    Another OES SR, although only a few replies, but actively request to do dail-in support even though we have only one hour to work in different time zone. These engineers are from Europe. They serve us better.


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