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NetWare holdouts courted by Microsoft, open source

Microsoft is offering free tools to convince loyalists of the aging operating system to make the switch to Windows, but Linux vendors are eager to snare these customers as well.

Microsoft is targeting diehard NetWare customers faced with a looming decision on migrating servers to either to...

Linux or Windows Server 2003.

The Redmond, Wash., software company hopes to make the choice of Windows more appealing by giving enterprise administrators free migration tools, training and other incentives. A Microsoft promotion will give qualifying customers who migrate to Windows

Novell says you don't have to move, but the writing is on the wall.

Rob Enderle, principal, Enderle Group

Server 2003 a $600 partner services subsidy for each Windows Server 2003 license purchase with 50 client-access licenses. There is a cap of 25 subsidies per customer.

Windows Services for NetWare is a free, downloadable tool from Microsoft. The company is also offering online training vouchers and unlimited technical support through its newsgroups to NetWare users who choose to migrate. Microsoft also forged a deal with Quest Software Inc. to make the Irvine, Calif., company's NDS Migrator software available at a 20% discount to customers with 1,000 seats or more.

Novell is in the process of moving its installed base to Linux, but there has always been a contingent of loyal NetWare administrators who have hung on to NetWare, said Rob Enderle, principal at Enderle Group, San Jose, Calif. "Novell says you don't have to move, but the writing is on the wall."

The reality is there are still plenty of customers running older versions of NetWare, and like customers who have older versions of Windows NT Server, they are starting to consolidate their

For more information

Read about Novell's final nail in the NetWare coffin


See why the Linux-Microsoft battle is mostly hype

servers into updated versions of the software.

Customers running older versions of NetWare are coveted by many operating system vendors.

"You will be targeted by Microsoft, by Novell, Red Hat and others," said Mike Cherry, an analyst at Kirkland, Wash.-based Directions on Microsoft. "All of them will try to make it easy to transition from where you are."

Cherry said there once was an assumption that customers running one vendor's software would stay on that platform, but this is no longer the case.

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