Novell has taken a minority stake in Red Hat and four other Internet and network software companies in an effort to help push Novell Directory Services and NetWare further into electronic commerce and the Internet. Novell Ventures announced a $15 million investment in the following five companies:
Red Hat Software, which resells Linux.
Edgix, which develops content delivery products targeting ISPs and the enterprise. Edgix will be using Novell's Internet Caching System, which runs on servers from Dell, Compaq and other third-party vendors.
Indus River, which develops virtual private network (VPN) technology.
Food.com, which is an online shopping site for food takeout and delivery in San Francisco.
W. R. Hambrecht & Co, which develops the OpenIPO service, an electric auction-based method of conducting initial public offerings.
The investments are consistent with Novell's strategy of getting Novell Directory Services (NDS) into many different markets and expanding its scope beyond the NetWare-only environments. By investing in the five companies, Novell is hoping to get its directory and other technologies entrenched in user nets before Microsoft's competing Active Directory ships.
For example, the investment in Indus River gives Novell the chance to show that NDS can ease the deployment and administration for VPNs. While VPNs are a secure method for communicating across the Internet backbone, they can be a nightmare to administer. NDS is a secure, central repository of user information, which can make it easier to roll out as well as manage adds and changes in a VPN.