Novell Small Business Suite 6.5 Set to Ship

By SmallBusinessComputing.com Staff | Posted February 12, 2004

This week Novell announced the general availability of Small Business Suite 6.5, the latest version of Novell's complete networking solution suite for small businesses. Small Business Suite 6.5 includes full versions of Novell's networking and collaboration products, making big-business networking capabilities attainable on small-business budgets.

Novell Small Business Suite 6.5 will also feature licenses for up to 100 users, doubling the previous limit. It will also be part of the Novell Small Business Suite Starter Pack program, which allows qualified Novell resellers to deploy limited-license versions of the networking suite at no product cost to customers. The starter pack that features version 6.5 will be available shortly after Novell Small Business Suite 6.5 ships on February 20.

Current Novell NetWare users remain loyal to the software maker because the operating system is known for being very stable. Some small businesses find that Novell's reliability ultimately offers a lower total cost of ownership when compared with competitors' products. However, it's no secret that a NetWare market decline is happening.

Last year Gartner Research forecast that Novell's 4 percent share of the global server operating system market held in 2002 would decline to 1.3 percent by 2006. Novell first introduced NetWare in 1983, long before Windows ran on servers around the world. In the early 1990s NetWare owned the network operating system market with 70 percent share. But those days are gone, so Novell must keep evolving, hoping that providing more networking power for less will lure new users its way.

Chris Stone, Novell vice chairman, said the Novell Small Business Suite bundles 20 years of Novell technology innovation and experience into meeting the specific needs of small businesses.

"Small business owners need to be able to focus on running their businesses, and not worry about their networks," Stone said. "We make sure the Novell Small Business Suite will run with hundreds of line-of-business applications small businesses depend on, and we price it so practically everyone can take advantage of it. "

Raymond Boggs, IDC vice president of small business and home office research, said there is a tremendous market for a networking solution such as Novell's.

"With 8 million small- and medium-sized businesses in the United States alone, a vendor who can provide affordable technology that solves business problems is well positioned to succeed in this important market," Boggs said. "There is a tremendous market for a networking solution such as Novell's."

The growing number of smaller firms interested in local area networks is very much related to affordable technology. Novell figures Small Business Suite 6.5 delivers a compelling performance that small business can't afford to ignore.

Located in Seattle, Wash. ClearView Consulting provides network integration services for small to mid-size businesses throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico. ClearView Consulting specializes in the design and implementation of low-maintenance network infrastructures. ClearView Consulting leverages Novell products as its primary tool to get the job done.

"Our small business customers have an extreme need for reliability and security, and the Novell Small Business Suite gives them exactly that," said Robert Strasser, co-founder of ClearView Consulting. "The value of the solution makes them happy, the services make their customers happy, and overall it improves their business."

In addition to support for up to 100 users, the Novell Small Business Suite now features user licensing, meaning customers pay for a license for each user who logs into the network. Small business users are not charged for printers, other servers or other devices that access the software services of the Novell Small Business Suite. In addition, the suite includes a simplified licensing and configuration wizards that make it easier for resellers to implement Novell-based networks for small businesses.

The updated small business suite consists of Novell NetWare 6.5, Novell GroupWise 6.5 for collaboration, e-mail, calendaring and instant messaging, Novell BorderManager 3.8 network security software that includes a firewall and provides for virtual private network (VPN) access, Novell ZENworks for Desktops 4.0 for application management, and Novell Nterprise Branch Office 1.02 for providing network services to branch offices.

Open source software that comes along with the bundle includes Apache Web server, Tomcat and MySQL to provide support for hosting Web services or running Web-based applications.

Novell Small Business Suite 6.5 will be available through Novell channel partners for a suggested list price of $475 per five new users — $252 per five upgrade users. Five server licenses are included at no additional cost.

Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com Forums. Join the discussion today!

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