Novell Steps Up Virtualization Support

Novell will be the first major vendor to integrate a virtualization hypervisor into its operating system when it launches SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 this spring.

March 18, 2006

2 Min Read
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Novell will be the first major vendor to integrate a virtualization hypervisor into its operating system when it launches SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 this spring.

At its BrainShare 2006 conference this week, Novell CEO Jack Messman is expected to announce integrated support for the Xen open-source hypervisor in SLES 10, due to ship next quarter, and in its next Open Enterprise Server (OES), sources said. The technology will virtualize guest operating systems, including Windows and NetWare.

Novell, Waltham, Mass., also will emphasize its decision to offer all of its products going forward, including GroupWise and Zenworks, on the Linux platform first before Windows, sources said.

“Novell’s SUSE is doing the right thing virtualizing NetWare on Xen because it gives them a way to preserve legacy code base going forward. They’ve turned NetWare into a first class para-virtualized guest,” said one source, who requested anonymity. “They’re on track for shipping SLES 10 in the May/June time frame.”

The move will enable customers to run fully virtualized NetWare virtual machines on the Linux distribution and on OES. The latter offers Linux services on top of the Linux and NetWare kernels. Xen 3.0, completed in December, supports Windows, NetWare, Linux and Solaris.“It’s nice if you are a NetWare shop because now you don’t have to have a dedicated box running NetWare. You can have NetWare virtual machines on Linux boxes,” said Paul Anderson, CEO of Novacoast, a Novell Platinum partner in Santa Barbara, Calif.

VMware, Microsoft and SWSoft lead the market with stand-alone virtualization software. But the integration of virtualization into the OS, a new concept on industry-standard servers, combined with the completion of the Xen 3.0 hypervisor and the availability of Intel’s and AMD’s on-chip virtualization extensions have turned up the heat on the platform vendors.

Novell’s chief rival Red Hat and nemesis Microsoft also are integrating hypervisors into their respective Linux and Windows platforms. Red Hat on March 14 said that Xen will be integrated with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5, which ships later this year. The technology will appear in the Fedora Core 5 developer’s code this month and in RHEL 5 beta code due this summer.

Novell is making significant strides on the technical front, but its Linux business remains a concern for Wall Street, analysts and partners. During its first fiscal quarter of 2006, Novell generated $56 million in Open Platform Solutions revenue, up only $14 million from the year-ealier quarter. It reported $43 million in OES sales and $13 million from all other Linux platform products. Novell’s total revenue for the quarter was $274 million, down from $290 million a year earlier.

Steve Erdman, vice president and general manager of channel and alliances at Novell, said partner technical training on SLES 10 is ongoing. “Our partner sales coverage strategy entails having a dedicated business development team in the field whose charter is to recruit and enable partners around Linux and open source to address the needs of our mutual customers,” he said.0

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