Novell Offers SLES 10 Peek, Acquires Tally Systems

Novell made a slew of Linux announcements at this week’s BrainShare gathering, but today all eyes are on its next major upgrade of SuSE Linux Enterprise Server and an acquisition that will expand its Zenworks systems management offering.

Dubbed Code 10, the new SuSE distribution is expected to move into beta testing in August and ship in early 2006. SLES 10 will incorporate commercially supported Xen virtualization, consolidated software management, a Common Information Model systems management API and flexible add-on capabilities to allow ISVs and service partners to tap into products and services, according to the company.

No SuSE Surprises

Illuminata analyst Gordon Haff told LinuxInsider that there are no real surprises in SLES 10. The features, he said, have been out there in the software community for some time.

“Novell has merely decided that these features are now mature enough for production enterprise use,” Haff said. “I don’t see it as a major competitive boost. Really it serves a bigger story that you are seeing at BrainShare, which is all the components that are available to be used in conjunction with SLES. That’s really the big thing that Novell brings to the table.”

Haff called SLES is a very capable Linux distribution that competes well against Red Hat Enterprise Linux. But he added that it’s Novell’s Open Enterprise Server and Zenworks that add value for to the company’s Linux play.

Tally Acquisition

To that end, Novell also announced today that it has agreed to acquire Tally Systems. The Lebanon, New Hampshire-based company offers a set of integrated tools with discovery and inventory, license management, and software usage and trend analysis capabilities. Novell expects the acquisition to beef up its Zenworks offering.

“The regulatory compliance necessary in today’s business environment demands accurate tracking and reporting of IT assets,” said Novell Chairman and CEO Jack Messman. “Bringing together Tally Systems’ asset management with Novell’s change and configuration management gives companies a powerful method of ensuring compliance, reducing software costs and preparing for software audits.”

Novell said the transaction should be completed by the middle of April. Terms were not disclosed.

“Novell is steadily and effectively increasing the scope of Zenworks,” Haff said. “Certainly one of Novell’s thrusts there is to expand more into physical, operating system, and software license asset management, which is not something that they really have done much of so far in Zenworks. The Tally acquisition adds additional capabilities to Zenworks.”

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