Interview Eric Schmidt: Tech Update
Interviews : Stephen Ibaraki, I.S.P.
With more than 80 million users, what happens when Novell, with a true scalable enterprise network management system since 1994, comes up against Microsoft Windows 2000 and their Active Directory? Where as resellers should you focus your resources?
Dan Kusnetzky, program director operating environments and serverware services, International Data Corporation, provided these thoughts.
“...Organizations that are productively using an operating environment do not walk away from their investments when the major use is the same. Over a million copies of NetWare were shipped in 1998 alone. It is not likely to disappear any time soon...Novell has worked out agreements to put NDS on NetWare, Unix, Linux, and even OS/390. Microsoft is putting Active Directory on Windows 2000...”
Novell has some product initiatives, which will help their position. For example, their new Novell Cluster Services, which won Best of Show award at Networld + Interop, ensures uptime by linking together two to eight Intel servers to create a cluster – up to twelve have been demonstrated. Another initiative of note is Novell’s Single Sign-On which allows you to enter your identity once and have background authentication to identify you to other applications that you attempt to access.
Ultimately, the future resides with Dr. Eric Schmidt, CEO and Chairman of Novell, whose career and that of his company depends upon key decisions made at this time -- decisions that will significantly impact resellers.
Q: What are you doing for the vendor channels?
A: ... Across the board, we are focusing these intensified efforts in three areas: knowledge, margin and revenue. For example, we launched the Novell Academy to broaden the knowledge base of our channel. We not only aggressively expanded our technical training on NDS and NetWare 5, but for the first time we are pursuing worldwide training of the professional sales reps who use Novell technology to solve customer problems...
Q: According to IDC, server license shipments for 2003, will be: NT 44.6%, Linux 18.2%, and Novell 17.8%. It has also been suggested that Novell’s flattening in market share in the past was in part due to Novell’s technical focus.
A: We have refocused our marketing over the past 18 months to address the business benefits of our products to CIOs and business owners, as well as to our traditional community of network managers, administrators, and software developers. We believe that this helped reverse the flattening of NetWare sales that took place in the mid-1990s and set Novell on a new growth trajectory. The IDC numbers are not especially relevant when compared to the growth trajectory of Novell's directory-based business. In our recent fiscal quarter, sales of our directory-enabled NetWare platforms were up nearly 30 percent year over year. Directory-enabled applications are up 34 percent year-over-year. Services, training and consulting are up 43% year-over-year to $49 million.
We believe that NetWare's excellence as a Web application server will become more apparent soon, especially after we make IBM Websphere available on NetWare 5, and that this will boost our platform market share. However, we are most focused on building market share among directory services users, which is not measured in this report by IDC. The recent Network Magazine survey showed NDS in use by more than 80 percent of companies using a directory service with only 2 percent stating definite plans to move to Active Directory. As the Internet Directory Leader, Novell plans to sell directory services and related applications for NetWare, NT, UNIX, and Linux: all those platforms measured by IDC.
Q: Most businesses will change to Windows 2000 to support Office 2000 and associated Microsoft Backoffice products. Why maintain two directory services when one comes supplied with Windows 2000-x?
A: Sometime in the next century, after a long period of debugging, it's conceivable that many customers will use Active Directory to manage desktop applications within Windows 2000 LANs. Just as we do today, Novell will provide the best directory and associated tools for managing Microsoft desktop and BackOffice applications. Moreover, customers will still need a full-service directory like NDS to manage Web services, e-commerce, and enterprise applications and data distributed across NetWare, UNIX, NT and Linux...
Q: Being as explicit as possible, what are Novell's long-term technical strategies and goals?
A: We are focused on Novell Directory Services (NDS), our directory-based NetWare platform, and applications that utilize the directory to manage and access information across the enterprise and the Web. Some of our key product development areas include single signon for enterprise applications, metadirectory integration of enterprise data, policy management of routers and switches, digital identity management for both businesses and individual users, Web caching, and secure business-to-business extranets.
Q: What are your views on Windows 2000 and Active Directory?
A: It's not clear when Windows 2000 will ship, but when it does we will support it equally well. Customers today need networks that are manageable, secure, and open to platforms and applications from multiple vendors. For these customers, it's "NetWare and NT," not "NetWare versus NT." Active Directory is planned as a Windows-centric solution designed to improve the cumbersome domain structure used for network management within NT. As such, it covers only a small slice of the heterogeneous networks and Internet services that customers manage and control with NDS. Novell intends to make NDS fully interoperable with Active Directory, enabling customers to integrate Active Directory and Windows 2000 into more robust networks managed by Novell's full-service directory.
Q: What are your views on Linux?
A: Accordingly, Novell has invested in Red Hat software to accelerate the development of NDS and other Novell services for Linux.
Q: What is the role of NetWare 5 in Novell's strategy and what are your plans for the future of the NetWare platform?
A: Couple this with the only directory capable of scaling to the Internet--we have tested NDS 8 with one billion objects with subsecond response time--and you have the infrastructure in place for a new generation of Internet applications and e-commerce activities. By the end of the year, we will further strengthen the platform by porting IBM's Web Sphere application environment to NetWare 5....