With the acquisition of SuSE Linux under its belt, Novell continues to unveil its open source battle plans.
In Australia, the channel strategy is under review, Novell’s general manager for the northern region, Chris Catteau, said.
“Moving forward, we’re looking at who our key partners are, we’re looking at the niche players and we're finding new ones,” he said.
As the company trawls for fresh faces and looked to maintain existing relationships, the company is looking to beef up its channel education and training programs, Catteau said.
“Now with Linux actually going into the mainstream, this gives resellers a huge value proposition they never had before,” he said.
And while the company works to organize the troops, resellers can expect both horizontal and vertical market opportunities, ANZ solutions manager, Paul Kangro, said.
“We now have a full end-to-end Linux capability and we can offer value added services, installation and support,” he said.
Partners can add value by managing and maintaining the Linux environment, he said.
Novell partners can also peddle other services including identity management and security into key verticals including health, government, education, financial services and insurance, sales and marketing director, Asia Pacific, David Lenz, said.
Indeed, as the private and public sector start to consider the Linux migration – already there’s growing activity in the server and portal space - resellers can pitch the benefits of lower costs and greater access to information, Lenz said.
“The level of service provided to various organizations will change,” he said.
It would operate in a fully networked, wireless environment.
To get things moving, the company has launched two versions of a new Linux operating system (which will be bundled with several applications) as part of its product road map.
The company also plans to make its GroupWise 6.5 software available to the Linux operating system for the first time. The rollout of NetWare 7, meanwhile, which is also dubbed NetWare Enterprise Server, is slated for release at the end of this year.
“This is the melding of Linux services into one offering,” Kangro said.
Despite the groundswell of technology rollouts, the biggest challenge was educating end-users and resellers about the benefits of open source, Lenz said.
“The battle is going to go on for the next few years,” he said.
The business value often got lost in the techno-speak that swirled around Linux, he said. This was where resellers could help educate end-users.
Despite the battle, Linux is starting to take root, according to IDC.
An IDC study of 330 CIOS and IT managers across Australia and New Zealand shows the number of organisations using Linux servers has almost doubled since 1999 to 32.4 per cent.
Led by the public sector, growth is occurring in most industry sectors, IDC reports.
The finance industry appeared to be the most reluctant of any sector because of greater concerns with standards and risk, IDC’s director user programmes, Catherin Bennett, said.
Lenz said Novell was a step ahead of Red Hat and well positioned to lead the Linux charge because the company has a hand in all cookie jars from the desktop to server environments.
“You either have the capability or you don’t,” he said.