Novell is continuing its push toward Linux with the release Monday of its Open Enterprise Server 2 (OES 2). OES 2 enables Novell's NetWare users to run NetWare in a paravirtualized environment on top of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.
The OES 2 release is intended to help NetWare users migrate to Linux by providing them with the same core functionality they've been running for years.
"Open Enterprise Server 2 combines the proven workgroup services from Novell with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, and this release actually completes the shift of providing workgroup services entirely on Linux," Wendy Steinle, director of product marketing at Novell, told InternetNews.com.
Jason Williams, senior product manager at Novell, said OES also addresses a number of other areas, such as additional support for Novell cluster services with options for business continuance clustering.
Most importantly, however, Novell is aiming to make it as easy as possible for NetWare users to use OES 2. Steinle said because current users run NetWare in a paravirtualized mode on Linux with OES 2, they can maintain their existing NetWare environments and preferences as they make their move to Linux.
Existing NetWare users who don't want to move to Linux don't need to worry. Just because Novell is backing Linux doesn't mean that Novell will be abandoning its core NetWare users, it said.
"We have stated commitment for NetWare till 2015 and we stand behind that," Steinle said. "OES 2 is clearly an indication that the innovation we are working on we are providing on Linux. We continue to support NetWare 6.5, which is the version we have paravirtualized in OES 2."
That being the case, Novell is tracking how many of its NetWare users are moving to OES. Steinle noted that Novell has seen adoption of 70 percent among its NetWare users for OES version 1.
"What that means is that 70 percent of NetWare customers have purchased OES and have migrated some of the services onto OES 1," Steinle said. "It's not likely that all of those customers have made a complete shift of all servers to OES 1 and that level of data is not available."
Whether a new version of NetWare will ever debut is a question that yields only a roundabout response from Novell.
"When people buy NetWare, they buy it for the services," Williams said. "OES 2 using [SUSE Linux Enterprise Server] as its base operating system is about the sum of the services it provides. So will there be a future version of NetWare? Well, those services are on Linux, and 99 percent of them run exactly the same as the way you're used to running them on NetWare."