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Novell flies high with Lufthansa

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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

Novell Inc is to receive product development input from Lufthansa Systems Infratec GmbH (Infratec) as part of a major security infrastructure deal with German airline Deutsche Lufthansa AG. The deal will also see Provo, Utah-based Novell trumpeting its new-found credentials as a network solutions provider.

Although details of the technology relationship are few, Markus Krauss, director of enterprise solutions Novell EMEA, suggested to ComputerWire that Infratec will have a significant role to play in Novell's future product developments, possibly in directory services, but more likely in extending Novell's skills with wireless technologies. Infratec was closely involved in creating a new wireless application-enabled business core for Lufthansa.

Krauss described the overall deal with Cologne, Germany-based Lufthansa as "a very important deal for Novell, one of the biggest in our history." The project will last until at least until 2005 and will take in 70,000 Lufthansa personnel worldwide and around 600 applications that have so far required separate user administration.

The Lufthansa contract includes provisioning Novell's own eDirectory product for user administration and authorization, Addison, Texas-based Entrust Inc's Entrust Authority PKI software and HR software from SAP AG.

Krauss said Novell may offer the same package to other airlines if it meets their requirements but the solutions approach does not preclude the substitution of other third-party software offerings, for instance PKI solutions from Baltimore Technologies or RSA Security. Entrust's product is also used by several of Lufthansa's Star Alliance partners.

Since the fall-off in its once core NetWare business, Novell has steadily switched its attention toward IT solutions based around heterogeneous products instead of packaged software, a trend capped off by its purchase of consulting and systems integration firm Cambridge Technology Partners Inc (CTP) in March last year. While CTP is involved in the project, Krauss would not say in what capacity.

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