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"Novell's on a Roll," Says Bill Claybrook

"Novell's on a Roll," Says Bill Claybrook

In the past two days, Novell has made two important Linux-related announcements  - the release of its Connector for Microsoft Exchange Server to open source and expansion of its Premium Service support for Linux.

The release of Connector makes the entire Evolution product available as open source under the GPL license. This is a good move for Novell because it is important to provide a product that allows Linux users to collaborate with Windows users with respect to e-mail, scheduling meetings, etc. without having to spend an additional $69 for the Connector. The Connector may have been viewed as a revenue generator for Ximian, but that is not the case for Novell. Novell is interested in attracting more users to its Linux desktop offering and this will help.

The second announcement  - expanding its Premium ServiceSM support program to cover its Linux offerings - is the more important of the announcements. The Premium Service support programs apply only to Novell software. Novell says that it is the only software company to provide comprehensive enterprise-level support for a customer’s entire Linux environment, from servers to desktops to laptops. While this may be technically true, Red Hat has been providing enterprise-level support for all of its software for sometime now and when Red Hat Desktop is in the enterprise, Red Hat will be providing full enterprise support for it. Nevertheless, Novell’s Premium ServiceSM support is a known quantity and is respected by enterprises because NetWare has been around for many years.

Novell Premium Service support program does differ from most other vendors’ support programs because one contract covers all servers that run Novell software. As users add servers, say Linux servers, they do not have to pay for additional support contracts. The Premium 1000 package lists for $5,800 and additional packages range all the way up to $375,000. The cost of service depends on the response time to a problem that a client wants. For example, the Premium 1000 packages guarantees that a client receives a response within eight hours. The $375,000 package guarantees a response in 30 minutes. The more you pay, the more expert the service engineers are. If you have Novell software running on one or more mission critical servers, then you could expect to pay tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars for service and support.

More Stories By Bill Claybrook

Bill Claybrook is President of New River Marketing Research, a marketing research firm that focuses on Linux, open source software, and commercial grid computing. He performs primary research and helps marketing organizations plan for new product offerings and develop go-to-market strategies, as well as develop marketing analysis content. Prior to entering commercial computing and marketing research, he was Associate Professor of Computer Science at Virginia Tech and the University of Connecticut, as well as Professor of Software Engineering at the Wang Institute of Software Engineering.

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