Novell Inc. has split its remote network services software from NetWare to sell as a separate application, creating what it calls a software appliance in the competitive remote management market.
Novell Nterprise Branch Office 2 for Linux, Windows or NetWare environments is a Web-based file
storage and print server for data centre backup over the Internet that can be controlled from an off-site location. According to the company, it’s ideal for businesses that don’t want to install a hardware server in a branch office or who have small IT staffs.
One advantage is that users can have local file and e-mail access even if the wide area network is down because data can be saved and replicated later to the company data centre, says James Simzer, Novell Canada’s director of field and channel sales.
“”Saying ‘The Internet is down and I can’t work’ is no longer an excuse for a branch office,”” he said.
Branch Office 2.0, which has a list price of US$2,500, has another advantage resellers will like: each copy comes with 250 licences. The earlier version needed a NetWare 6.5 licence for each user.
“”It does seem to answer some of the problems customers have mentioned in the past,”” such as the need for easy administration of a remote server, said Carlos Paz-Soldan, vice-president of technology at Tenet Computer Group of Toronto.
“”Whether they actually buy it is something to be seen.””
Stephen Elliott, a senior network management analyst at IDC in Framingham, Mass., called it “”an additional add-on product Novell can sell into its enterprise accounts.””
Competitors range from Microsoft Corp. to Computer Associates, IBM’s Tivoli division, and Hewlett-Packard’s OpenView.
The fact that Branch Office 2 doesn’t need a hardware server at the remote location doesn’t make it that unique, Elliott said.
The updated version has enhanced disaster recovery and password management, support for Novell GroupWise post office agent for e-mail and a Novell ZenWorks supported configuration for distributing applications to remote offices. It also supports Novell eDirectory and Microsoft Active Directory.
Reseller training for Branch Office 2 is available on Novell’s PartnerNet Web site, said Simzer.
The company says installation is at least twice as fast as Branch Office 1.0.
Until July 31, Branch Office 1.0 and NetWare 6.5 customers can upgrade to the new version by purchasing a single upgrade licence and an upgrade protection part number.