Novell and Opennet tout Linux solutions

Novell is attempting to convince Middle East end users visiting Gitex today to cast aside their proprietary systems and embrace open source software.

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By  Matthew Southwell Published  October 3, 2004

Novell is attempting to convince Middle East end users visiting Gitex today to cast aside their proprietary systems and embrace open source software. To help sway visitors to its stand, the vendor is showcasing a wide range of Linux-based solutions, including its Linux desktop and enterprise Linux platforms. In addition, the vendor is tantalising show delegates with updates on the forthcoming release of Open Enterprise Server, which it is expected to ship later this year. “The reason we are here at Gitex is because we are all about choice. Our stand is a Microsoft free experience. Users that have been beholden to Microsoft now have a choice,” says Steve Brown, Novell’s regional vice president for the Middle East, Africa, UK & Ireland. “There are a lot of pressures facing IT managers at the minute, including reducing TCO, reliability and ROI. People need a system they can relay on 24x7 to face these pressures and this is where Linux comes in,” he adds. Brown believes each end user and country within the Middle East will adopt Linux and then tailor it to ensure it meets specific requirements. While the open source community has always seen this as a positive thing, others have suggested that it leaves end users open to support problems. However, Brown says those days are over and Novell has the support experience end users need to use the open source OS effectively. “We bring 10 years worth of support experience to Linux. We can provide follow-the-sun support globally, we have support engineers and we have the full range of enterprise support services end users require. As such, the biggest problem that faced Linux i.e. support, no longer exists,” Brown explains. “We have the whole open source ecosystem behind us too. There are people here [in the Middle East] and they are working with Linux and supporting each other. Another example is Jeraisy in Saudi Arabia, which has recently formed an entire division dedicated to working with our Linux solutions,” he adds. Over in the Dubai Internet City Zone, Opennet is showcasing the latest products from Linux vendor Red Hat, including its recently launched desktop solutions. The company is also telling Gitex delegates about the Linux courses and certifications it offers. Opennet, which is the master distributor for Red Hat in the Middle East & Africa (MEA) region, is also giving visitors to its stand today the opportunity to win a free migration assessment. Valued at around US$6000, the evaluation will tell the lucky winner how much they could save their organisation if they switched to the open source operating system. “Migration assessment allows us to help a company evaluate its existing network infrastructure and the cost savings it would incur by migrating from proprietary software to using open source solutions like Red Hat,” says Tewfik Zitouni, managing director of Opennet MEA. “This gives corporate information technology users and consumers the opportunity to compare products and services before making a business decision that gives them a clear choice,” he adds. In addition to demonstrating their open source wares, both Novell and Opennet are referencing end users in the Middle East that have already deployed Linux in their computing environments. For example, Novell is talking about its recent work with Qatar Petroleum, Zayed University, Kuwait National Petroleum Company, Emirates Media and Dubai’s Higher Colleges of Technology, all of which have adopted Linux in some form or another. Other vendors with an interest in Linux, including IBM, HP, Sun Microsystems and Oracle, are also referencing successful customer implementations. For example, in the Sheik Rashid hall, the latter is highlighting the success enjoyed by the likes of the Al Ghurair Group, which migrated its Oracle E-Business Suite applications from Windows to Linux last July and now runs financials, property manager, asset management and supply chain management on the open source OS.

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