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From Apollo to Zeus: Novell Maps Future Plans for Zen, GroupWise, and Directory

Open-source support initially made the headlines at BrainShare, Novell's annual conference, but the real news is that Novell spelled out its long-term plans for Zenworks, GroupWise, eDirectory, and other flagship networking products -- and these plans are ambitious, to say the least.
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Beyond public proclamations of fuller open-source support, Novell is using its annual BrainShare conference to quietly spell out some of its long-term plans for Zenworks, GroupWise, eDirectory, and other flagship networking products. Aside from the Zenworks suite that shipped this week, Novell is now readying another Zen release, codenamed Zeus, that will roll in asset management, server provisioning, and seven other future services. Moreover, by the time Novell ships NetWare 7.0, Zen is expected to be running directly on Linux.

In a future release of N Secure Identity Management (Nsure), codenamed Apollo, Novell will give full-fledged support to identity management over extranets, through new role-based access rights to applications running on Web servers. Apollo is planned for this fall.

Meanwhile, although details are still being ironed out, Novell is also planning major architectural overhauls to eDirectory, as well as to both GroupWise, the company's collaborative messaging environment, and NetMail, its lighter-weight Web-based messaging system.

The forthcoming changes to eDirectory will revolve around the back end, officials said, during a series of meetings at the show in Salt Lake City. The changes will be announced within the next six to12 months and released within the next 18 to 24 months. At this point, Novell is testing migration of its Directory to SuSE Linux's UnitedLinux distribution.

For GroupWise and NetMail, a lighter-weight Web-based messaging system, Novell is now contemplating a more componentized architecture, which will possibly allow some mixing and matching between the two crossplatform environments.

"Messaging environments, though, are where people live," pointed out Howard V. Tayler, product manager, Novell Messaging and Business Solutions. A messaging announcement is expected from Novell in another three months or so.

Beyond Zenworks Suite
The new Zenworks suite that ships this week adds three new services to Zen's existing support for desktops, servers, and mobile devices.

Unveiled this week as part of the Novell Resource Management announcement, the trio of services includes personality migration, through the bundling of Miramar Systems' Desktop DNA product; data management, through Novell's own iFolder; and Web self-service.

The project codenamed Zeus, though, has not yet been officially announced. In Zeus, a release slated for 11 to 18 months from now, Novell will add support for nine more services: asset management; application installation and deployment; standards utilization; Web-based administration; server provisioning; branch office capabilities; inventory reporting; comprehensive status reporting; and Active Directory integration.

According to Deborah Martin, Zenworks' director of solutions marketing, the expansion of Zen's services place the product in a sweet spot between huge management environments like HP OpenView and IBM Tivoli and "niche applications" like Altiris and Novadyne. "Administrators will get all that they need, without getting what they don't need," Martin contended.

Novell's plans for Zen, however, are drawing mixed reactions from show attendees. During a customer/partner panel at BrainShare, Paul Anderson, CEO of NovaCoast, praised the convenience of the new Zen suite.

On the other hand, Matt Krieger, architect, Global Network Services at Reader's Digest, said he'd prefer to be able to select only those Zen components he wants, as opposed to buying the entire suite.

Zenworks already supports management of Linux servers. In the still unspecified NetWare 7.0 time frame, though, Zenworks will start to run on Linux servers, Martin said.


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