News - Novell Dons the Tux
Jul/Aug 2003 by Linda Kennard
The Penguin Gains
Who knows why Linus Torvalds associates a cuddly and contented penguin with Linux, the Unix-like operating system he developed as a student at the University of Helsinki-and who cares? Tux, the Linux mascot, is not what attracts you or any other network administrator to Linux. What attracts you has more to do with its cost and reputation.
Developed under the GNU General Public License, the source code for the Linux operating system is freely available to anyone. While this doesn't mean that Linux is free, it does mean that Linux, in all of its assorted distributions, offers a low-cost alternative to other operating systems.
Low cost, however, is not the lone secret underlying the Linux success. Linux is growing in popularity and is competing-and winning-in the IT community. Among its claims to fame, Linux has a reputation for being customizable, efficient and fast performing. Furthermore, Linux is lean (contrary to what Tux's portly appearance might suggest) due to its small kernel.
Given its attractive cost and reputation, some may wonder why it has taken Linux a while to get a large installed base. A relatively recent survey conducted by CIO Research reveals several possible answers to this question. The November 2002 survey of 375 IT professionals from a range of industries reveals an overall increase in IT professionals' comfort level with the open source development model. However, deterrents to open source deployment include lack of in-house skills, switching costs and lack of vendor support.
In addition, a recent IDC report released in May of this year indicates that companies are more likely to contract with external firms for training on Linux than for any other service or support offering. (For more information, see IDC's Assessing the Opportunities for Linux Services Survey, May 2003.)
In the Linux corner of the open source arena, Novell is breaking at least one barrier even as you read this. Beginning this fall, Novell will introduce the first stage in an evolutionary product line with revolutionary implications. The end result of this product line will be a data-center-ready suite of Novell network services capable of running on Linux, including the Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server distributions. Novell also announced agreements with Dell, HP and IBM through which the three major hardware vendors will offer Novell Linux solutions to their customers.
In addition, Novell will offer full training and support, in partnership with the three major hardware vendors, for its network services on those Linux distributions. Novell technical support, training and consulting services teams are preparing now to help you consolidate, install, deploy, support and migrate smoothly to a Linux environment. As part of this commitment, Novell announced a new training and certification module at BrainShare 2003, the Novell CLE (Novell Certified Linux Engineer), to help that knowledge transfer occur.
According to Mike Evans, Red Hat vice president of channel sales, "Red Hat welcomes Novell Nterprise Linux Services running on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux family of products. With Novell services, supported by the Novell worldwide support organization, running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, customers now have even more reasons to look to Linux for their mission-critical infrastructures. We look forward to working with Novell and our common global OEM partners-Dell, HP and IBM-to deliver robust solutions to the market."
This may cause some of you to ask, "What about NetWare?" Novell wants to make it perfectly clear that it will continue to develop, enhance and support NetWare, while ensuring that its NetWare and Linux offerings easily co-exist. Perhaps Andre Cardinaal, director of AAC Cosmos in The Netherlands said it best: "What's most important to me is that Novell is not dropping NetWare but adding Linux. It provides customers the best of two worlds."
Interested NetWare customers gain a new platform option going forward, as Novell will provide them the necessary tools and support to adopt Linux with the same level of security, sophistication and reliability they have always received from running NetWare. This is an optional path for Novell customers going forward. It's all about choice. You can run your services on whichever platform best suits your business needs.
Simply put, if you had concerns about supportable Linux, you now have the option to adopt the fastest growing platform in the market today-with considerably fewer worries.
1 - what's the lintel plan?
Novell is pursuing this Linux path in response to its customers' demand for sophisticated and supported network services on Linux.
Something that many people initially might find confusing is that NetWare services and the NetWare operating system are separate and distinct. The NetWare kernel is a rock-solid piece of technology and Novell will continue to offer it to customers. For years, Novell has been developing great networking services that sit on top of the NetWare kernel. These same services will now be offered on a Linux kernel. These services include file, print, storage, directories, messaging, collaboration, resource management, Web development services and many others.
The end result of this long-term plan will be a Novell Nterprise solution which will be the successor to NetWare 6.5. At this point, Novell has revealed little about its plans for NetWare 7, except to say that it will be a highly evolved, data-center-class services platform that you can run on NetWare or Linux.
As Novell NetWare 7 won't be released for some time, Novell will pave the road for Novell and non-Novell customers alike with NetWare 6.5 and the Novell Nterprise Linux Services product lines.
2 - Novell Nterprise Linux services
Targeted at early adopters of Linux, the first release of Novell Nterprise Linux Services will offer a set of enterprise-ready network services on the leading Linux distributions.
3 - Novell Nterprise Linux services 2
In terms of services, the second release of Novell Nterprise Linux Services will pick up where the first release leaves off. Novell Nterprise Services 2 will offer all of the services available in the first release and several more, including the traditional NetWare file system, search and end-user services. The resulting services will be similar to the services currently available on NetWare 6.5 plus a few surprises.
Unlike the first release, which will offer services only on Linux, the second release will offer customers the option of running the services suite on the NetWare operating system or Linux.
4 - how will you get from here to there?
As you would expect, the Novell NetWare 7 migration plan varies depending upon your starting point.
Existing and new Novell customers may choose to use NetWare 6.5 as a transition step into the open source world. NetWare 6.5 supports many open source applications, including Apache Tomcat, Perl, PHP and MySQL. NetWare 6.5 maintenance customers will have the option to migrate to Novell Nterprise Linux Services release 2 (when it becomes available) or to wait for the Novell NetWare 7 release.
If you're already running and supporting proprietary Unix systems, installing and managing Novell Nterprise Linux Services 2 should be relatively easy for you, and the economics of doing so should be compelling. Whatever your experience or level of familiarity with Linux or Unix, Novell education, support and professional services teams will be prepared to help ease the transition to any one of the environments along the Novell Lintel product path.
5 - where's the proof of commitment to the plan?
Novell is embracing Linux as an additional platform for the delivery of Novell network services at every level-from Novell support, training and developer services to its partner programs.
For example, later this year Novell will make available the Novell Certified Linux Engineer (CLE) practical exam at testing centers worldwide. The Novell CLE will require an understanding of both Linux and Novell network services.
The Practicum technology that Novell uses enables it to move away from testing knowledge gained in a course or self-study environment, and more appropriately test skill and competency. You won't be able to earn your Certified Linux Engineer credentials by passing a multiple choice, true/false exam. You'll have to demonstrate your competency in real time, with real scenarios that are not only delivered in a time-sensitive environment but also in an environment that will record any mistakes or "breaks" that are created in attempting a problem resolution.
To pass the Novell CLE exam, you will be required to know SUSE Linux Enterprise Server or Red Hat Advanced Server and network configurations as well as how to install, configure and use iManager, iFolder, NetMail, ZENworks for Servers and the basics of eDirectory.
Novell Training Services will provide a course and Web assessment exams to help you prepare for the practical hands-on exam. The assessment exams will be based on tasks that are performed during the practical exam and will help you build confidence before taking the more expensive practical exam. Novell plans to offer this service at no cost to its current certification community.
When Novell Nterprise Linux Services 2 is released, Novell will offer more advanced courses and practical exams. Successful course completion will require an understanding of DirXML, ZENworks for Desktops, portal and Web services, and advanced eDirectory.
With the release of Novell NetWare 7, you'll need to pass both a NetWare 7 practical exam and Novell Nterprise Linux Services 2 practical exam to obtain certification as a Novell CLE.
The consulting arm of Novell will also provide several offerings to enable existing or new clients in their transition to Novell services on Linux. Two offerings focus on establishing base lines and roadmaps for a future transition to Linux with an analysis and evaluation of the customer's environments. These roadmaps may also include additional Novell solutions and services on Linux such as secure identity management and Web services.
The remaining three offerings focus on implementation and tactical methodologies along with tools that support the roadmaps. While these implementation offerings can be preempted by the two roadmap offerings, the implementation offerings can also be entry points for customers as well.
All of these offerings will be supported through a global training plan leveraging the developed set of methodologies, tools and templates.
SUSE Linux CEO Richard Seibt says, "Now, customers can leverage Novell's depth of experience in mission-critical infrastructure-combined with SuSE's proven world-class technology-to build the next generation of secure, scalable and platform-independent applications. Novell Nterprise Linux Services-running on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server-marks a seismic shift in the market for this truly disruptive technology."
Another key component of the Novell plans is its commitment to the open source community, its principles and its future. As a demonstration of this commitment, Novell will continue to provide and support open source code and to identify products and APIs for the open source community, and participate in open source community projects.
Further, Novell sponsors a Web site (http://www.novell.com/developer) offering a focal point for the collection, distribution and management of open source initiatives. Novell will host its own technologies as well as technologies from the open source community on this site.
Internally, Novell has established an open source review board to promote open source standards and contributions, and ensure adherence to open source principles and licensing.
6 - Novell's commitment to one Net
If lack of worldwide, world-class vendor support is one of the main reasons you've been holding back from deploying Linux in your data centers, you might want to reconsider. Breaking barriers along the open source path, Novell is one of the first major technology vendors to fully support not only Linux, but also network services running on Linux. With this move-which has been applauded by key industry players-Novell meets the needs of its customers (and the market at large) for fully supported services on an open platform. Novell's commitment to the Linux market will have a significant impact on the industry.
Until now, one of the most common concerns with moving to Linux has been lack of support from a major vendor. Novell is negating that cause for concern by offering full-fledged support of current and future Linux-based technologies-by offering, in other words, precisely what IT professionals and Novell customers have been waiting for.
This move demonstrates the consistent dedication Novell has to developing technologies, products and solutions that help make one Net a reality. In a one-Net world, networks of all types work together seamlessly, and informational barriers between organizational boundaries practically don't exist. In such a world, your users-that is, employees, customers, suppliers and partners-gain faster, easier and more secure access to the information and resources they need. At the heart of this one-Net vision is open, cross-platform computing, toward which Novell takes one giant step with Nterprise Linux Services.
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