A lot of you have been waiting for news about our replacement for GroupWise Mobile Server. We have spoken about it in various blog posts prior to this one, however, I can now talk about it in a little more detail.
As you are all already aware, the core protocol is going to be ActiveSync, which means that any device with an ActiveSync client will be able to talk natively to GroupWise. This includes iPhone, Windows Mobile and all of the E and N Series Nokia devices. There are also ActiveSync clients for many of the other mobile OSs out there, though not necessarily shipped on the device. These include PalmOS and Android. We fully anticipate that Palm Pre will also eventually ship with an ActiveSync client in order to remain relevant in the handheld device market. We anticpate release towards the end of this year, though GMS continues to be supported by Novell in the interim, and we will give customers a migration window to make the cut over.
From the server side we are going to be shipping a new server component, which is yet to be given an official name (we name products just prior to shipping). This component, which I am going to call the integration suite for now, is essentially a synchronization server with various application connectors. This server will be responsible for taking data from a source, and pushing it to various targets, though the source for one sync, can be the target for another sync (so, bi-directional, multi source synchronization). One of those connectors is a GroupWise connector, and another one will be ActiveSync. We already have a number of other application connectors being worked on right now, and plan to deliver those through this year and into next. Right we we are targeting a connector for Novell Teaming, to sync personal calendar and task information, though there are also a lot of work going on to unify the GroupWise/Teaming/Conferencing/GWIM/iFolder/OpenOffice experience a lot more – which will happen outside of the integration suite. We also have Sharepoint, SugarCRM and Salesforce.com connectors expected this year, followed by SAP and EMC Documentum connectors. We have already been speaking to partners who want to write their own connectors to this integration suite.
Part of the plan for this is to not make it tied to GroupWise, but to also allow other Novell technologies to benefit from the integration suite so, for example, a customer that only has Teaming should be able to sync application data between it and 3rd party applications. From a licensing perspective customers will receive the server, the GroupWise connector and the Teaming Connector for free. The ActiveSync connector will, like GMS today, be available to anyone with current maintenance. Many of the other connectors will be paid add ons, bought from and supported by Novell.
As this is a server component it doesn’t matter what client is being used for the integrations to work; as long as the data exists in the mailbox (for the GW Connector) it can be grabbed and pushed through all of the other connectors without any user intervention. This is very powerful in the CRM world, as it allows managers to get a good overview of the correspondence that is happening with all of their customers, and see where those customers are in the sales funnel, for example.
The integration server will run on SLES and Windows, and can be deployed in various configurations – either single server, or in a failover, loadbalanced configuration. I have attached some architecture diagrams to this blog so you can see. There will also be an SDK freely available to anyone, which I anticipate that we will release sometime later this summer for public consumption.
We are looking for customers who are running some of the applications that I mentioned who would like to be involved in the requirements definition of the SAP and Documentum connectors, as well as customers who would be active beta sites for any of the other connectors. Let us know.
If you have additional application integration needs for Line of Business applications also let us know what those are, so that we can effectively prioritize future connectors.