As a Novell Connection reader, you're probably already aware of the aggressive Novell transformation over the past few years—from a traditional closed-code, closed-source software company to a leading provider of Linux-based solutions, and a champion of the open source movement. Today, that transformation is essentially complete.
The commitment of Novell to Linux and open enterprise solutions is both far reaching and all encompassing. And the organizational, cultural, technical and strategic groundwork that will enable Novell to quickly take advantage of new open source opportunities is now firmly in place. So perhaps this is a good time to pause, take a fresh look at the open source market and review the Novell strategy for helping you take advantage of emerging open source opportunities.
To set the stage, it's useful to place Linux and open source in proper historical context. It's important to remember that the open source movement is still in its early stages. There is a great deal of excitement and enthusiasm driving the open source movement forward, and an army of commercial and open source developers is working hard to create impressive new open- and mixed-source solutions. As a result, there are nearly endless predictions about what commercial Linux and open source solutions will look like in a few years.
But the bottom line is that this market is still too young to place much stock in these types of predictions. As with any vibrant emerging market, it's still a wide-open field with plenty of interesting surprises in store. Businesses and Linux vendors are only beginning to discover and explore the business potential of Linux and open source. And that translates into remarkable opportunities for any enterprise software provider that's agile enough to see and seize new opportunities quickly, smart enough to apply those opportunities directly to the needs of its customers, and capable and focused enough to execute effectively.
"The open source game is still very young. Novell will stay focused on customer needs and what we can do to help them win in this young, expanding market."
Novell embraces this vibrant and rapidly expanding open source dynamic, which is why the company has worked so tirelessly to build an organization that includes the expertise, partnerships, infrastructure and business models needed to see and take advantage of new Linux and open source opportunities immediately—regardless of how these markets and technologies continue to mature and evolve. With these elements in place, Novell has positioned itself to focus all of the company's talents and resources on helping customers use Linux and open source solutions to solve problems in innovative ways—and help them simplify, harmonize and manage complex mixed-source and multivendor infrastructures.
This approach recognizes and addresses a number of important business realities. Smart CIOs and other business leaders recognize that Linux and open source can offer them intriguing new possibilities for cutting costs and solving a wide range of business problems. They also understand that in today's world, multi-vendor, mixed-source environments are an unavoidable reality. But in these types of mixed environments, complexity nearly always becomes a major issue.
As technology infrastructures become more diverse, businesses find themselves under intense pressure to simplify. This includes finding ways to make the open source pieces of the infrastructure work well together with the proprietary pieces. It also includes finding efficient ways to manage all of the identities, services and resources in the organization—despite the fact that those identities, services and resources may be provided by a bewilderingly complex combination of different proprietary and open source technologies.
Fortunately, Novell understands that the open source game is not just about helping customers deploy effective, low-cost Linux and open source solutions. It's also about giving them the tools they need to simplify, unify and manage the resulting mixed-source environments more effectively.
"In mixed-source and multi-vendor environments, simplicity is the new paradigm. We have to help our customers simplify the management of their diverse environments."
The impressive promise of a young and vibrant open source market and the business reality of complex mixed-source and multi-vendor environments have been—and will continue to be—the driving forces behind the Novell software for the open enterprise strategy. Of course, that strategy is fueled by thousands of specific business solutions, initiatives and activities throughout the company.
But all of those activities are now focused exclusively on listening carefully to you, the Novell customers, and applying effective low-cost Linux and open source solutions to your business needs and requirements, and helping you simplify and manage your complex mixed-source networks. As a Novell customer, you're already familiar and involved with many of these initiatives and solutions, but there are a few core components of the Novell strategy that are worth noting.
> Making Enterprise-Wide Linux a Reality
The first key element of the Novell strategy involves making Linux a viable, low-cost option through every layer of the enterprise—from the data center to the desktop. This has been a familiar Novell mantra for the past two years, and more important, Novell was the first company to actually deliver on that promise.
Today, Novell offers you a full-featured, low-cost desktop alternative, a complete range of thin client and fixed-function solutions for point of service terminals and kiosks, and an impressive range of enterprise-ready server solutions running on a dizzying array of different hardware and chipsets—all leveraging exactly the same core Linux operating system.
This accomplishment has obvious positive implications in terms of licensing, management and training costs. It's the first key step toward making Linux a complete, legitimate enterprise player. It offers you legitimate software choice through every layer of your business. And it provides you tremendous opportunities to simplify complex systems and environments and take advantage of lowcost commodity hardware.
> Harnessing the Power of Virtualization
Virtualization is an absolutely essential component of the Novell strategy for making diverse, mixed-source environments more unified and easier to manage. By using virtualization to decouple resources from the physical hardware they're tied to, you can transform the way you allocate and manage hardware and software resources—and make those resources more independent and available.
For this approach to work effectively, industry players must work together to adopt virtualization standards that work across different hardware and software platforms. Novell is driving these efforts by promoting Xen 3.0 as the open source standard for virtualization and working with Intel, IBM and other leading hardware and software companies to develop Xen-based virtualization solutions.
Of course, the recent landmark agreement with Microsoft is another major element of the Novell mixed-environment virtualization strategy. This agreement includes a US$60 million commitment from Microsoft over a five-year period to market Linux and Windows virtualization scenarios. By working together to develop virtualization solutions that work in Windows and Linux environments, both companies are showing their commitment to solutions that simplify and support multi-vendor and mixed-source environments.
> Staying Focused
Another important element of the Novell strategy involves staying focused on areas where Novell can add the most value. This includes creating Linux distributions that meet the highest possible number of customer needs and add maximum value to the core Linux operating system. It also includes creating management tools and services that make it easier to manage mixed-source environments.
All of these services live close to the Linux operating system. They are the areas where Novell has the most experience and the most mature products. And they complement—rather than conflict with—the work Novell is doing with its hardware and software partners.
> Finalizing Critical Model Changes
Given the degree of transformation Novell has undergone recently, the final piece of the company's strategy we'll touch on here involves ongoing efforts to finalize and refine key model changes. This includes continuing to refine the company's focus, rolling out more customer-driven product development and lifecycle management processes, improving routes to market and adjusting channel economics.
These ongoing efforts will increase corporate discipline, make Novell an even more agile and responsive business partner, and improve the company's ability to execute on its aggressive and forward-thinking strategy.
> Moving Forward with Confidence
After years of important transformation and change, Novell is poised to make waves in the young, vibrant and rapidly expanding Linux and open source marketplace. The company's strategy for doing this is simple, practical and straightforward: Listen carefully to your needs. Create enterprise-ready Linux and open source solutions that address those needs across every layer of the enterprise. Make it easier to manage and unify the inevitable reality of multi-source, mixed platform environments. And create an organization that can respond quickly to changes as the young open source industry expands, evolves and matures.
Of course, every individual Novell product, solution, partnership and program feeds into these high-level strategic goals. But in the end, Novell exists to help you harness the innovation, flexibility and cost savings that have come to define open source.