IDG: How is Novell exploiting the fact that Novell Directory Services (NDS) is a more mature product than Microsoft's Active Directory?
Schmidt: You are assuming that Active Directory is a real product. It hasn't shipped yet, but we're told it will ship soon. Once it ships, we have committed to fully interoperate with it. We have a technology that allows you to mix and match [servers and workstations] as needed. Most people will use NDS for corporate and backbone directories because it runs on more than just Windows 2000.
What is that technology?
The technology is DirXML. We ann-ounced it last summer, and it is available now. It allows you to combine directories in interesting ways. We did that to make sure that if people made an NDS decision they could use whatever other applications or directories are floating around. There are a bunch of DirXML products available now - for Lotus Notes, Oracle and PeopleSoft.
When pitching a big Windows NT shop on NDS, how do you attempt to separate NDS from NetWare in the minds of their network executives?
NetWare and NDS are different products. They do different things. NDS is a product that runs on top of Windows NT, NetWare, Linux, Solaris and OS/390. I am aware of companies that have a large amount of Windows NT servers, but they also have a large number of Unix servers and mainframes, and NetWare servers. We have a variety of products that match those environments. With respect to NDS, it's a different type of sale. It's how NDS can help you integrate all your management and directory needs and corporate Web pages. These days, we start with NDS. When the customer understands NDS, we end up selling NetWare, as well as NDS running on top of Windows NT and Windows 2000. The strategic sale is the directory.
What is Novell doing to stem the tide of users moving from NetWare to Windows NT?
There are situations where applications are available on NT and not on NetWare. Windows NT and NetWare are focused on different things. We want to make sure people understand the benefits of NetWare. We have shipped NetWare 5, and it has been successful.
What is Novell's plan to attack the e-commerce market?
We have a product called eDirectory, which we announced in November. We will shortly announce products that run on top of eDirectory that allow you to see all your applications as though they are one.
But how will Novell rise above all the noise created by the many other companies targeting e-commerce?
There aren't any companies that aren't going after the e-commerce market. But we have the only working cross-platform directory. In the security area, we are the only company that has a directory that can manage all the certificates a company may need. (Schmidt also says Novell plans to add a prod- uct to its ZENworks line focused on e-commerce.)Novell recently bought a company called JustOn to get into the online storage services market. What other areas will Novell focus on this year through acquisitions?
We're going to buy a whole lot of little companies to fill out our technology map in the directory, management and security space.
Can Novell remain independent for the next five years?
Sure. Is there some reason to think we couldn't? Novell is the fifth-largest software company in the world, revenue is growing, we're making a lot of cash, morale is good and customers are happy.
Novell puts 'Net services' strategy in spotlightBy Stephanie SanbornNovell next week will introduce its `'Net services' strategy, combining several products into an offering aimed at increasing Novell's business-to-business transaction and Internet commerce reach.
A series of ZENworks announcements, centred around a release of ZENworks for Networks 1.0 and ZENworks for Servers products, will garner a good piece of the limelight, sources said, noting that ZENworks will be extended past its current desktop management capabilities, becoming more of a brand for Novell.
ZENworks for Networks will be a QoS (Quality of Service) solution, using NDS (Novell Directory Services) to manage network traffic and store QoS policies for bandwidth allocation, edge device configuration, and security. The solution is made up of policy servers and traffic management agents hosted on servers within the network.
According to Novell, ZENworks for Networks is also an important piece of the company's Directory-Enabled Network (DEN) standardisation effort to automate device configuration management.
Novell will also detail its iChain platform, a series of e-business software products to Internet-enable business-to-business commerce and help companies do business on the Internet. Sources said that NDS eDirectory will continue to be a key component in Novell's Net services push, iChain strategy, and future Novell product releases.
`My rough impression is that it's their e-commerce play, and it's going to come out in something similar to what the Sun-Netscape Alliance is doing with iPlanet, trying to release a suite of products that will enable Web commerce,' said Michael Hoch, research analyst at Aberdeen Group. `Novell can offer a complete solution as opposed to a point product, and that's the impetus behind iChain.'
Novell Internet Messaging System (NIMS), an Internet-based messaging system which leverages NDS and supports LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol), POP (Post Office Protocol), IMAP, and SSL (Secure Socket Layers) standards, will also be pushed further into the business-to-business arena.
`I think that they're clearly right to be moving into this business-to-business software solutions area,' said Dan Blum, senior vice president of The Burton Group, in Utah. `We're seeing so much activity in that area; a lot of the Y2K spending is moving into commerce-related initiatives, security-related initiatives. It's an area where Microsoft has not been doing so well as they've been trying to get [Windows 2000] out.'
Novell will continue to release products in groups as parts of an overarching solution to show users how its products work together, sources said. The expansion of Novell's Internet reach comes just a few weeks before Microsoft's Windows 2000 release, a fact that Michael Howard, principal analyst at analyst Infonetics Research in California, believes is no coincidence.
`Novell knew that marketing needed a lot more emphasis and they put the investment behind it in terms of really sharp people and the actual messages and how they're reaching the target customers.'