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Higher Levels of Collaboration

Novell Data Synchronizer: Connecting Disparate Systems

Written by Ken Baker

With interoperability at the core of everything that Novell does, it’s no wonder that a key architectural component of the Novell collaboration vision is a new technology that enables your disparate collaboration solutions, business-critical applications and mobile devices to seamlessly synchronize events and information. Available soon, Novell Data Synchronizer is a bi-directional, many-to-many synchronization engine that provides back-end synchronization of e-mail, calendar items, contacts and tasks to multiple systems.

Since Novell Data Synchronizer is a multi-source, multi-target synchronization engine, it’s not tied to any specific collaboration solution. As a result, it will enable the synchronization of data and events between traditional collaboration systems as well as mission-critical enterprise applications such as CRM, ERP and other business solutions. Whenever a change occurs in one of these connected systems, the product will store the changes in real time to allow other connected systems to access them. (See Figure 1.)

Since Novell Data Synchronizer is a multi-source, multi-target synchronization engine, it’s not tied to any specific collaboration solution.

Making Mobile Connections

Following a hub and spoke model—with the synchronization engine as the hub and connectors as the spokes—Novell Data Synchronizer will first provide connectors for mobile devices, Novell GroupWise, Microsoft SharePoint, SugarCRM and salesforce.com. In the future, a variety of other connectors—for Novell Teaming, Documentum, SAP, Exchange and more—will also be made available.

One of the most anticipated connectors for Novell Data Synchronzier is the Mobility connector. This connector will provide the mobile support foundation for Novell GroupWise and Novell Teaming. Through the Mobility connector, your users will enjoy even more functions, performance and device flexibility than they have with Novell GroupWise Mobile Server. In fact, all GroupWise Mobile Server customers will have access to the Novell Data Synchronizer Mobility Pack, which includes Novell Data Synchronizer, the Mobility connector, and the GroupWise connector. (See Move Up and Go Mobile.) Additionally, Novell will provide them with resources to simplify the move from GroupWise Mobile Server to the Novell Data Synchronizer Mobility Pack. (Novell will continue to support GroupWise Mobile Server until December 2010).

The Mobility connector will synchronize e-mail, contact and calendar data, and should be able to work with most mobile devices that use the iPhone (2.0, 2.0. 3.1 or later ), Windows Mobile (6.0, 6.1 and 6.5), Palm, Symbian (Series 60 3rd Edition, 4th Edition, or 5th Edition), and Android (2.0) operating systems. To deliver stellar synchronization between BlackBerry devices and Novell GroupWise, we are continuing our long-time partnership with Research In Motion. (See BlackBerry Support.)

When you install the Novell Data Synchronizer Mobility Pack, the Mobility connector will automatically be installed. As you prepare for the installation, the Novell documentation provides a Mobility Pack Installation Summary Sheet to help you gather needed details such as LDAP server information, LDAP credentials, LDAP containers, GroupWise post office agents and mobile device ports.

Once you have the Novell Data Synchronizer engine and the Mobility Pack installed, you will need to set up an account on the users' mobile devices in order to allow them to synchronize using the Mobility connector. While the actual configuration will vary based on device type, the account will typically need to be configured with the user's GroupWise e-mail address, GroupWise mailbox password, e-mail account type, Novell Data Synchronizer server IP address or hostname, and a secure connection certificate. Once the mobile device connects to the Novell Data Synchronizer system (depending on GroupWise administration settings), the user's GroupWise personal address books, past e-mail messages (3 days or newer), past calendar items (14 days or newer), and all future e-mail and calendar items will be synchronized to the mobile device.

More Connections

The GroupWise connector for Novell Data Synchronizer will be provided as part of Novell GroupWise and will leverage the SOAP interface to synchronize e-mail, tasks, calendar data and contact information across other collaboration systems. In order to get full functionality from the GroupWise connector, you'll need to be running Novell GroupWise 8.0.2, which will be available when Novell Data Synchronizer ships. Additionally, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 64-bit (using the Python database) is the only initially supported platform for the Novell Data Synchronizer engine. Additionally, Novell Data Synchronizer customers will automatically receive SUSE Linux Enterprise Server entitlements for as many servers as are required to run Data Synchronizer. In the future, Novell plans to expand platform support for Novell Data Synchronizer to include Windows, as well as other data bases.

In addition to the GroupWise connector, Novell will soon provide a Teaming connector as part of Novell Teaming. The initial Teaming connector will synchronize personal calendar and task information. Subsequent versions of the Teaming connector will also synchronize information related to teams, contacts and groups.

As mentioned before, Novell will also provide some non-Novell connectors. For example, its SharePoint connector will synchronize e-mail data, calendar items, tasks and contacts between SharePoint and other connected systems. The SugarCRM and salesforce.com connectors will synchronize the same collaboration data between these products and other connected systems.

It’s important to note that connectors won’t be limited to what Novell provides. By leveraging the Novell Data Synchronizer software development kit and its open API, organizations and Novell partners will be able to create custom connectors for their own systems as well as third-party solutions. The open nature of Novell Data Synchronizer creates limitless opportunities for you to create highly productive environments where your users can share relevant content from a wide array of collaboration and enterprise systems, such as CRM, ECM and document management systems; cloud-based social applications; and even solutions that compete with Novell collaboration offerings.

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