Novell Walks the Path to Re-Invention

exteNd 4.0

ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

Novell Inc is today expected to take a practical step towards becoming a web services and application development vendor, announcing the first release of its re-brand exteNd suite.

Provo, Utah-based Novell is due to announce exteNd 4.0 at GartnerGroup's Symposium/ITXpo in Orlando, Florida. Version 4.0 is the first implementation of the former SilverStream Software Inc product to launch since the completion of Novell's $212m SilverStream acquisition.

The company is also expected to unveil a product roadmap spanning the first half of 2003. This roadmap will see exteNd combined with Novell's directory and identity servers for secure single sign-in to applications and web services.

Novell this year became the latest in a list of companies to jump on the web services bandwagon with its SilverStream acquisition in July. Novell's chairman, president and chief executive Jack Messman said the SilverStream tools would help customers build a services oriented architecture.

The SilverStream deal and web services focus, though, is just the latest attempt by Novell executives to re-invent the company from a boxed software and operating systems company. The company's first attempt in 2000 centered around a vision for a software services infrastructure that straddled intranets, the internet and extranets and which Novell called One Net.

Novell said One Net was an endorsement of XML and Enterprise Java Beans (EJBs), which would be wrapped into all products - moving away from programming in C. However, One Net failed to ignite the industry's imagination or revive Novell's fortunes.

In March this year, before the SilverStream deal was announced, Novell said it would infuse products with support for Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), Web Services Description Language (WSDL) and Web Services Development Kit (WSDK).

exteNd 4.0 is Novell's latest step on the path towards reinvention, and sees the company embrace some of the industry's leading players and products. Version 4.0 supports Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) 1.3, offers out-of-the-box portal functionality, is compatible with IBM's WebSphere and San Jose, California-based BEA Systems Inc's WebLogic application servers, Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft Corp's Visual Studio.NET and WebSphere Studio for Application Development.

Novell's roadmap will build on backing for emerging standards for applications and web services. exteNd 5.0 will support emerging portal standard such as Java Specification Request (JSR) 168, Web Services for Remote Portal (WSRP) and Web Services for Interactive Application (WSIA). An additional landmark in the roadmap will see Novell port SilverStream's application server to NetWare by the first quarter of 2003.

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