Perkins said that Novell's GroupWise and general collaboration strategy may be moving toward cloud services. In the hands of the right service provider, "it would actually serve as a pretty good services product for delivering collaboration as a service."
Novell's products include server operating systems, identity management tools and collaboration products including e-mail; management systems called ZENworks; directory services; and SUSE Linux. Attachmate makes terminal emulation products, as well as NetIQ; systems and security management software; and application integration and legacy migration tools.
Bob Schaber, network operations manager for the city of Dublin, Ohio, said his biggest question is about which products Novell will continue developing and whether the focus on any of those products will change.
Schaber would also like to know the implications of Microsoft's involvement. CPTN Holdings LLC, a consortium of technology companies organized by Microsoft, is purchasing nearly 900 Novell patents.
Dublin uses Novell Open Enterprise Server and its teaming and conferencing application.
"We're really comfortable with their product lines, what they offer and how well they work; As long as they keep developing them the way they have in the past we will keep using their products," said Schaber.
One of Novell's most prominent products is SUSE Linux, which it acquired in 2003. In 2006, Novell and Microsoft announced agreement to improve interoperability as well as joint sales agreements.
Charles King, an analyst at Pund-IT, said Linux was once seen as something that could push Microsoft's goal of moving quickly into the data center. "That, obviously, hasn't happened," he said. Instead, Linux has become a migration platform mostly for Unix and IBM "has leveraged it very effectively in the mainframe as well."
Major vendors like Oracle are also creating "their own walled gardens" of Linux to preserve competitive advantage, said King -- something he expects to continue.
He believes Linux has a strong future in the data center, "but I haven't heard, I guess what you would call, a statement of direction of where Linux goes from here."
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