Novell will increase support for its high-end channel partners as it readies VARs for battle with Microsoft's rival Active Directory (AD) technology. It also promised its NetWare 5.1 will be ready this month.
Novell will ship the upgrade to its networking operating system (OS) in mid January, a month before AD is due to ship with the long-awaited Windows 2000 OS.
The NetWare upgrade, code-named Cobra, will include additional features such as a five-user version of Oracle's 8i database, IBM's WebSphere Application Server 3.0 standard version, IBM's WebSphere Studio 3.0 entry product and a Web-centric version of the vendor's Novell Directory Services (NDS) product.
Steve Derbyshire, managing director at Novell Business Expert, Telamon Systems, claimed he was not yet worried about the impact AD might have on sales of NetWare. He insisted Microsoft would be in trouble if the product is not stable and added that customers would lose patience and switch to NDS if AD does not live up to its hype.
At Comdex, Eric Schmidt, chief executive of Novell, announced the vendor would open up portions of NDS source code to developers to rally support for the directory.
Derbyshire said: "Novell has a loyal customer base but it must make customers aware that directories are no longer an either/or proposition, as NDS is platform-independent."
After a survey of its top-selling Business Expert partners, Novell has vowed to respond to reseller queries faster and improve training as part of the partner accreditation programme. Johan Rosius, channel marketing director for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Novell, said: "We must ensure that business partners are backed up."
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