Open source to dominate enterprise by 2007


22 Mar 2005

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SALT LAKE CITY: Open source software deployments across small, medium and large-sized enterprises will continue to grow exponentially and will emerge as a dominant standard in 2007, predicted network software player Novell’s CEO Jack Messman yesterday.

Outlining the company’s ongoing strategy Messman affirmed Novell’s commitment to Linux-based technologies and a further separation from Windows by unveiling a host of strategies and products based on the open source software movement.

Citing IDC research that projects during the next few years that Linux will grow at the server level by 25pc and at the desktop level by 40pc, Messman said that today’s companies believe that they need to deploy Linux if they want to stay competitive, save money and optimise production.

Messman also quoted a chief information officer (CIO) magazine survey that reveled that 53pc of all CIOs stated that open source would be their dominant technology by 2007.

“A few years ago we predicted that 2004 would be the year of Linux,” Messman said at Novell’s annual Brainshare event in Utah. “Linux deployments worldwide grew 38pc between 2003 and 2004. “Firms are embracing open source because it gives them the freedom to remove complexity and cost from managing IT.”

Nailing its cause further to the Linux mast, Messman went on to introduce a range of new products and strategies based on open source. Among these was the first end-to-end, server-to-desktop Linux solution for small businesses, Novell Linux Small Business Suite.

Messman described the solution as a way of delivering big business benefits to firms on a small business budget. Computer manufacturer Dell is amongst a number of vendors applying the product to its servers. Judy Chavis, director of business development for Dell, said: “Novell Linux Small Business Suite on Dell PowerEdge servers further enhances the Linux platform to provide small and medium businesses network solutions that are easy to manage and scale to meet their needs today and in the future.”

Among the new products introduced was Novell ZENworks 7, a systems management solution that enables firms to manage their Windows workstations from a Linux platform. The company also announced a 10-year extended support commitment to its SUSE Linux Enterprise Server product as well as new product features for the next version of its GroupWise networking platform that competes head-on with Microsoft Exchange.

However, one of the most significant revelations was the company’s unveiling of a new IT security strategy entitled identity-driven computing. The strategy enables organisations to use open source standards like Linux to design systems that adapt to the complex and dynamic nature of business by using identity information to define the interaction between users and technology assets.

Under the strategy, organisations can derive greater leverage from all their IT assets – servers, desktops, devices, applications and network infrastructure – by securing and manage the complete asset lifecyle through policies, just as they would for users. Under this strategy the company unveiled two new modular platforms designed to secure and manage every aspect of the enterprise – Applications Services Foundation (ASF) and Identity Services Foundation (ISF).

Novell partner Trusted Network Technologies’ CEO explained: “As the line between internal and external access dissolves and IT organisations attempt to gain control, focus is shifting to the role of identity in mitigating risk and identity-based compliance.”

Novell senior vice-president and general manager for identity-driven products, David Litwack, added: “Customers can identity-enable existing applications to take a flexible and cost effective approach to implementing identity in their IT systems. Novell’s ASF and ISF are the key platforms that enable customers and partners to benefit from identity-driven computing.

Meta Group analyst Earl Perkins commented: “Novell’s identity-driven computing strategy takes the approach that complexity could be better managed if technologies were more adaptable and more fully leveraged business assets.

“The next formidable challenge for them and their competitors is integrating complex identity-driven services such as federation and virtualisation with specific application server platform environments and doing so in a modular, manageable and cost effective way,” Perkins said.

By John Kennedy