OES 2015 Public Beta Now Open

I have been privileged to be a part of the authorized beta for Novell OES 2015, and it has been a great experience so far. The public beta was announced recently, and I encourage anyone who is even mildly interested to download and give it a look.

There are many tweaks and improvements in the release, but primary on my list are the following:

  • 8+ TB limit for volumes lifted
  • SMBv2

Both are directly related to file sharing, and both will end up making my list easier. The public beta includes a beta version of the Novell Client for Windows along with the OES build itself.

Give it a try and report any bugs you find. It isn’t Microsoft’s enterprise stack, but that can be a good thing.

My BrainShare Takeaways

From November 1 through November 5 I attended two events in Salt Lake City, Utah. I was able to attend and speak at the TTP Summit at BrainShare 2014 on November 1, 2 and then attend the main BrainShare 2014 conference from November 2-5. I had a great time at both events and want to thank everyone who was involved in getting them off the ground my thanks. I’m hoping to be able to come back in the future.

If you want a look at what Novell took away from conference, you can read Bret Fitzgerald’s post over at Cool Solutions. It has a good “30,000 foot” overview of the main conference. I had the pleasure of talking with Bret and other team members at Novell and NetIQ and enjoyed every one.

Below you will find what I took away from the entire week:

  • The development changes started at Novell not too long ago are pretty much fully implemented. Every division is talking about multiple releases over a given calendar year, beta programs, getting feedback from customers earlier in the process … all good things. I know that many of the headline products have received significant upgrades over the past 12 months already and that progress is not slowing down.
  • Vibe is maybe the most criminally underused product Novell has at the moment. Talking with the guys at Code and Concept was enlightening because of all of the things you can do with Vibe as a platform for more than just simple collaboration. I have in mind to spend some time this coming year to really dig into Vibe. I feel like it could fit into multiple areas on campus with little effort.
  • The Micro Focus merger can mean some good things for the company overall, but there is still a lot of work to be done and the prospects in the distance are unknown. Many of the education customers I talked to are quietly optimistic that a change in ownership is going to, overall, be a benefit to The Attachmate Group companies. It seems that “the market” agrees as shares have been up (quite a bit) since Micro Focus announced the plan.
  • Mobility is here to stay and Novell knows it. A lot of talk about expanding the capabilities of products like Vibe, Filr, iPrint (really excited about some of this stuff), and ZENworks to make managing mobile devices even easier. That is going to be a major focus here as well (at MLC) and those products will be central to how we get those things done. I had only my iOS devices along for the trip and so I was able to use the Filr and iPrint apps to get work done. They worked well and I’m excited to see where they go in the future.
  • GroupWise moving to embrace open standards to support the Mac is a great move in my opinion. Bringing first-class IMAP, CalDAV, and CardDAV support will allow them to integrate into the Mac platform seamlessly in ways that Google and Microsoft just are not interested in (sadly). I think it is a great move.
  • Good to hear some increased development around NetIQ eDirectory and iManager. Both will be getting major version updates in the coming year and as I like both products, that makes me happy.
  • There is an excellent community of IT professionals around the Novell and NetIQ ecosystems and I am happy to continue to try to embed myself in it a little more. I’m hoping that the continued effort on bringing great products to market to solve problems we are facing will grow the ranks again.

I’ll have more to talk about in the future as products start to be released. I am also hoping to talk briefly about my experience of going iPad-only for a week-long trip. More on that in the future.

I’ll See You at BrainShare 2014

I’m looking forward to being able to attend BrainShare 2014 at the beginning of November. I’ll be there spending as much time as possible learning about the mobile and file-sharing options from Novell and NetIQ and especially focused on our upcoming Novell OES migration.

Before that, however, I will have the opportunity to speak with my education IT friends at the TTP BrainShare Summit 2014 happening on Saturday and Sunday. I will also have the pleasure to speak there on Saturday. The title of the talk is SmallOps: My First Year in IT Operations at Martin Luther College, and much of it will be familiar to those who read this blog but I’ll post what I can after the talk.

It should be a good time and if you happen to see me, just grab me to say “hi”!

The Futures of Novell and SUSE

I have no insider information, but as a heavy user of both Novell and SUSE technologies I do have an interest in what happens with both of the companies. A large portion of what I do every day replies on Novell and SUSE to function and any major change for either would mean many headaches and late nights as we work to move to different platforms.

No matter how well-intentioned both sides might be at the onset of any merger, there is going to come a time when the numbers are going to be looked at and a return on the initial investment is going to be expected. If there is no return, or the return is not big enough, then decisions are going to be made to rectify that. Many times that can manifest in layoffs and products being discarded into the heap of history.

I don’t know how well the Novell and SUSE portions of The Attachmate Group are doing, but the idea that some very good products could be discarded is disheartening. I don’t think it is a secret that Novell had been struggling mightily before its purchase, and I don’t know how the company is really doing now but I’m fairly certain that it is probably not as large as it was when initially purchased. SUSE has been spun off (which I think was a net win for everyone) and some of the products once shepherded by Novell are now under the care of NetIQ (which might make sense to some), which leaves Novell with only a portion of its prior product portfolio. A smaller company might be more focused, but it also leaves it a smaller company.

My fears for the two main companies I work with on a daily basis are distinct:

  • For Novell, I fear resources continuing to get split off into other groups. I fear Open Enterprise Server getting tossed onto the back burner just as the roadmap has some excellent things being added (not to mention what SUSE is doing with SLES in the future). I fear that the work to consolidate ZENworks into a single, coherent platform is going to get slowed down just when it looks like a product that could be used to manage the entire swath of computing platforms from desktops to phones and everything in between. I fear Vibe continuing to be ignored and Service Desk never getting a fair shake. Some of these things might have happened anyway, but now the fear is there are the surface.
  • For SUSE, I fear any hint of the company keeping things for themselves and retreating from the open source community. I fear technology becoming secondary to short-term profits. I fear SUSE not continuing to push forward as fast as possible as more uncertainty comes into the pictures again. The splitting of Novell and SUSE has been nothing but a boon for SUSE as it has been able to forge ahead with its own identity and I fear it being swallowed again or its distinctive brand being lessened.
  • For the entire purchase, I’m a little fearful of the companies being public again. Being a public company is not always a positive thing for the products being worked on. Just this week HP announced a splitting of the company into two distinct pieces, Dell has gone private, Microsoft has a new CEO, IBM has a new CEO, and Oracle will have a couple of new CEOs. There is a lot of uncertainty in technology right now and I fear this is another small part of that.

Is it all doom and gloom? Not necessarily. I think that if this turns out similar to the The Attachmate Group changes, then it could be an overall good thing for everyone involved, but any merger-and-aquisition is difficult and this one will be no different.

I wish everyone the best of luck and look forward to both SUSE and Novell being a major partner at Martin Luther College.