Novell throws down the gauntlet

Novell throws down the gauntlet

Novell unveiled the success of its recently released management framework, eDirectory, at the Novell Brainshare conference in Salt Lake City yesterday, as the central component of its one Net strategy.

The much talked about one Net, last year referred to as DENIM (directory enabled net infrastructure model) and pitched to overtake Windows, appears finally to be eventuating.

Novell's soon-to-be chairman and chief strategist, Eric Schmidt, referred to eDirectory as one of the "single most important architecture changes we'll see in networks for years".

Designed to enhance network management across desktops, operating systems and wireless devices, the multi-platform system has saved Novell $US11 million in the first year of installation. This success has been mirrored in customers such as the UK Ministry of Defence and the Bank of Montreal.

Working with companies' existing applications, eDirectory solves mundane but cost-draining efficiency issues such as creating and replicating new employee details across all company systems and altering these details through a Web interface anywhere, anytime. It also tracks asset management-enabling financial officers to see who has a pager or laptop, or how many phone lines the company owns and who uses them.

Novell says one Net has opened the door to $US78.3billion in future market opportunities.

Schmidt stomped on Microsoft's recent .NET strategy saying that when the vendor finally shipped something, the market would get a better idea of its value and standard. "To the degree that UDDI is real we will work with it because we have to . . . Almost everyone has a MS desktop in one way or another," he says.

Meanwhile, the recent merger with consulting firm Cambridge Technology Partners (CTP) will kick-start the one Net vision, radically altering Novell's image from a company offering segmented products to one that is offering a unified end-to-end solution. This is also the reasoning behind Schmidt's decision to instate CTP president and CEO Jack Messman in the role of Novell CEO. "[one Net] is not a product sale, it's an integrated solution . . . [Messman] knows how to drive a solutions space business," says Schmidt.

Schmidt denied the CTP merger would create a conflict with Novell's existing partnerships, saying it played in different markets. However consulting will become an integral part of how Novell goes to market, with a predicted two to four-fold growth in consulting contracts creating a huge demand in this sector.

Agnes King travelled to Salt Lake City as a guest of Novell.Photograph: Novell chairman Eric Schmidt

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