Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Staying Red

As you may know, I have bled "Novell Red" for quite some time. However, experience upon experience has caused not only me, but other deeply rooted Novell bigots to question the intelligence of remaining a Novell customer.

GroupWise in particular has been a very frustrating product to own and operate, especially over the past two years. We've had serious discussions internally about migrating away from it in favor of, well, anything else that will work.

Enter Ken Muir, the former ZENworks golden child who decided he wanted a new challenge and left that product for the GroupWise arena. Recently, I was fortunate enough to have a brief but in-depth conversation with him (via e-mail appropriately enough) about the fundamental issues I see throughout Novell from the perspective of a customer.

While I cannot share the details of our conversation, suffice it to say that I for one am willing to give Novell the chance to demonstrate they 'get it' again. This chance will be manifested in the form of GroupWise 7 SP1, which is expected to release sometime in the next month or two. When it ships, we will implement it in production - on Linux - and use it as the starting point for server hardware replacements that we must conduct nationally.

We continue to have successes and issues with OES SP2 on SLES, but every day provides another opportunity to learn. My hope is that the issues we encounter continue to be resolved by education, rather than becoming bug-finding expeditions (as we have been doing presently with other Novell products).

It's a difficult, difficult time to stay loyal to Novell. I keep asking myself, "If we were all Microsoft, how much time could we devote to other initiatives?" My experience tells me that we'd be swapping one set of problems for another. Microsoft OS'es aren't nearly as high-maintenance as the press would have you believe, but they do have maintenance requirements. They also have numerous feature deficiencies which we somewhat take for granted - this is what I fear the most. The decision to use Novell vs. Microsoft for your core infrastructure is never apples-to-apples. There are tons of considerations, intangibles, and dependencies, and these differ wildly in every organization.

For now, at least, we will remain Red.


Ken Muir said...


Long overdue but I just encountered this blog any my "virtual ear" was ringing given that my name was mentioned.

How about a follow up on SP1? You wrote this before it shipped. SP1 is the most rapidly adopted, highest quality release of GroupWise EVER. My team did a tremendous job.

Have you seen the next version of GroupWise, code named "Bonsai"? Check out some demos:


Also, I showed if off in Friday's keynote at BrainShare:

http://www.novell.com/brainshare/general_sessions07.html (about 1:10 minutes into the stream)

As always, you and all customers have an open line to me. kmuir@novell.com

I appreciate your feedback and I am excited for Novell's future.


ZEN Master said...

A fair request - I've just done so, under the title "Staying Red, Pt. 2". Thanks, and congratulations on your success thus far.