June 7, 2011

3 Min Read
Novell GroupWise: New Life In the Cloud?

By samdizzy


Conventional wisdom says thousands of Novell GroupWise customers migrated to Microsoft Exchange in recent years. But HostedEM, a managed service provider, wants to give GroupWise new life in the cloud. Indeed, HostedEM has been working closely with Kaspersky Lab, Novell, Sonian and Verizon to offer Novell GroupWise as a cloud service — backed by anti-virus and archiving capabilities.

Can HostedEM (short for Hosted Enterprise Mail) succeed? Some skeptics gave up on GroupWise years ago as Novell struggled to stay relevant against Exchange Server. Meanwhile, Quest Software and other companies have introduced migration tools to help VARs and MSPs shift customers from GroupWise to Exchange.

Still, GroupWise continues to enjoy pockets of success. As of 2010, Novacoast — another managed services provider — claimed to have more than 1 million GroupWise seats under management.

Betting It All on the Cloud

HostedEM has a slightly different strategy. Novacoast has remotely managed thousands of on-premise GroupWise seats for customers. In stark contrast, HostedEM seems to be pursuing a pure cloud strategy. The components include:

  • HostedEM, powered by Novell GroupWise (the actual email platform).

  • Deploying the HostedEM GroupWise service in Verizon’s cloud.

  • Archiving capabilities from Sonian.

  • Anti-virus capabilities from Kaspersky Lab.

The HostedEM relationship appears strategic to Novell, which recently reorganized under Attachmate‘s ownership.

  • The classic Novell products — such as GroupWise and ZenWorks — are now managed by a Novell business unit in Utah.

  • Novell’s identity and security management group have shifted to Attachmate’s NetIQ division in Houston, Texas.

  • Novell’s SUSE Linux business is now a SUSE unit based in Germany.

In a recent interview with The VAR Guy, Attachmate CEO Jeff Hawn said the company certainly plans to grow the Novell business unit. HostedEM’s cloud strategy sure sounds important to those growth plans.

Reality Check

I’m not suggesting GroupWise can suddenly regain market share against Exchange Server, Lotus Notes and newer cloud offerings such as Google Apps. But HostedEM also has a unique market position. Indeed, the hosted Exchange market is filled with numerous service providers. In stark contrast, HostedEM seems to have the GroupWise cloud spotlight to itself. And Novell is promoting HostedEM on its home page.

Still, plenty of challenges remain. Privately, some TalkinCloud readers say HostedEM service seems a little pricy at $10 per seat per month — especially when Microsoft Office 365 is set to launch June 28 with a starting price of $6 per user per month. (Of course, VARs and MSPs should make their own price and feature comparisons, since cloud suites vary greatly.)

Another key challenge: HostedEM’s web site doesn’t say much about the company’s management team, financial backing and history in the cloud market. To generate customer confidence, HostedEM will need to pull back the curtain a bit more on its executive expertise and business staying power, TalkinCloud believes.

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