Novell to launch devtools
After the acquisition of SilverStream, Novell is giving the first showing of its new development environment for Web services at the upcoming Gartner Symposium. The product itself won't have moved on far from the SilverStream offering but this is a big step for Novell as it comes out of the infrastructure space.
This is very much a branding exercise for Novell that signals its intention to give its customers the opportunity to build applications on top of the NetWare environment. It's a bit sad but quite a lot of that rebranding effort has gone into the changing of one letter. SilverStream called its product 'eXtend' (note the capital X). Unsurprisingly, Novell's version is called 'exteNd' (capital N instead, probably red). Not much else has changed.
This move goes a long way towards the creation of a complete Web services infrastructure. NetWare 6 brought to businesses the idea that the Internet can really provide that low-cost transport mechanism that was promised. The eDirectory ensures that any authorized user can connect to the corporate applications safely and securely from any location in the world. This environment provided a portal mechanism but did not provide mechanisms for creating and consuming Web services.
Novell had all the requirements for delivering Web services but no mechanism for creating them and developing them into business processes. This is what the exteNd product set achieves. There is the Composer tool for pulling together logic and a Process Designer that allows the development of end-to-end solutions based on Web services. These services can be consumed using any client-side development tool although Novell exteNd also has its own in Director. All of this sits above a J2EE engine - where SilverStream made its original market.
There is no doubt that Novell has made a worthwhile acquisition with SilverStream. It has acquired some very strong Web services development tools and it will fill a gaping hole that existed in Novell's previous Web services offerings. The question, however, is whether Novell will actually make something of the opportunity that is presenting itself.
This is a company that does not have a reputation for being strong when it comes to product marketing, and it is up against the likes of Microsoft, IBM and Oracle. This takes us back to the good old days when Novell took on these giants in the operating and network systems spaces. Let's hope that it fares a little better this time - the technology deserves it.
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On Nov. 21, Novell announced fourth-quarter revenue of $300 million and an operating profit of $15 million, although non-cash charges created a quarterly loss. Stone recently met with Paul Gillin, vice president of editorial at TechTarget, to discuss the company's results and strategy.