NetWare sales revive in China thanks to that man Snowden

If it ain't Microsoft, it's in fashion behind the Great Firewall

Worries about US spying in China have sparked new interest in Novell's venerable NetWare product line.

NetWare ruled the LANS of the early 1990s, providing file, print and directory services in the days of client/server. Like so many other companies of the era, Novell struck trouble once Microsoft arrived in its patch. Windows NT 4.0's improved domain services, and strengths as an application server*, made life hard for Novell.

The company eventually decided to walk the open source path, developing NetWare Open Enterprise Server (OES) and offering customers the chance to use either a Novell kernel or that of SUSE Linux. In January 2014, OES recently received a second support pack for its 11th version, and continues to offer the file, print and directory services that made the company's name.

Boris Ivancic, the company's veep and general manager for Asia, today told The Reg that combination of features is proving popular in China, where net new sales of NetWare OES are on the rise.

Your correspondent joked that this might be attributable to the activities of one E. Snowden, late of Moscow. Ivancic quickly agreed, saying products that have nothing to do with Microsoft play very well in the Middle Kingdom at the moment.

Novell's not leading with NetWare these days. Instead, the company's talking up the combination of the “Filr” share 'n' sync tool and the ZenWorks Mobile Management tools as a fine way to provide mobile workers with access to on-premises file server. President and general manager Kathleen Owens says Novell customers are as keen as anyone else to support bring your own device (BYOD), and also just as keen to do so securely. Filr taps into Novell's directory services expertise – and integrates with other directories – to help make remote file access take place while conforming to other policies.

Keeping GroupWise customers on the platform is another priority, with pointing out the cost of a rip-and-replace project an argument that she said holds water with many users.

Novell's parent company Attachmate recently announced its intention to merge with MicroFocus. The combined entity will employ about 4,500 people and combine platforms, security, application re-platforming and application management. Combined revenues will exceed a billion dollars a year, making the group a more-than-decently-sized enterprise software player. ®

* Novell always felt that its NetWare Loadable Module application server deserved more attention than developers were willing to give it. And as it happens NLMs kinda almost live on. Here's why: the first commercial NLM was Cheyenne Software's ARCserve. Cheyenne was eventually slurped by CA, which only recently spun out ARCserve as an independent entity. I've no way of knowing if there's a single line of code that's made the journey.

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