Novell launches updated PlateSpin products

I've been tracking PlateSpin (now part of Novell) for quite some time. The company has offered a number of innovative management tools for virtual and physical environments and continues to impress me with its approach to managing a diverse environment containing both physical and virtual servers.
Written by Dan Kusnetzky, Contributor

I've been tracking PlateSpin (now part of Novell) for quite some time. The company has offered a number of innovative management tools for virtual and physical environments and continues to impress me with its approach to managing a diverse environment containing both physical and virtual servers.

This time, I had an opportunity to speak with John Stetic, Director, Product Management, and Jason Dea, Product Marketing Manager, about updated versions of PlateSpin Migrate, PlateSpin Protect and PlateSpin Forge. As usual, it was fun learning about what the company had done to enhance already powerful products.

Here's what PlateSpin (Novell) has to say about these products

Novell today announced new versions of three of its PlateSpin® Workload Management products – PlateSpin Migrate, PlateSpin Protect and PlateSpin Forge®. These new versions support both Linux* and Windows*, making them the first virtualization management solutions to offer live migrations of workloads from anywhere to anywhere – physical to virtual, virtual to physical, and physical to physical – regardless of operating system platform. In addition, PlateSpin Forge and PlateSpin Protect now offer the industry's only consolidated disaster recovery solution for both Windows and Linux, including SUSE® Linux Enterprise from Novell.

  • PlateSpin Migrate 9 – Extending its leadership as the industry’s most trusted server migration tool, PlateSpin Migrate decouples server workloads from their underlying hardware and enables anywhere-to-anywhere migration over the network between physical servers, virtual hosts and image archives. New to PlateSpin Migrate, Linux Live Transfer and Linux Live “Server Sync” reduce downtime and risk when migrating business critical Linux workloads. Additionally, as organizations move more critical server workloads into a virtual infrastructure, PlateSpin Migrate now supports the movement of Windows Clusters between physical and virtual infrastructures.
  • PlateSpin Protect 10 – Designed for flexible workload protection, PlateSpin Protect replicates and rapidly recovers whole server workloads including data, applications and operating systems – all from a single point of control. It provides a simple, flexible and cost-effective solution for protecting physical and virtual workloads in the data center. New features in PlateSpin Protect allow customers to leverage existing virtual infrastructure to create one disaster recovery plan for all server workloads, whether physical or virtual, running both Windows and Linux. A redesigned web user interface allows for simple remote access to set up, test and execute disaster recovery plans, and offers a new level of visibility into the recovery process with reports and alerts to facilitate compliance reporting and enhanced lights out management.
  • PlateSpin Forge 3 – Developed as the industry's first all-in-one, plug in and protect, out of the box hardware appliance that protects both physical and virtual servers using embedded virtualization technology, the latest release of PlateSpin Forge now protects a wider array of workloads by offering flexible consolidated disaster recovery for all x86 physical and virtual workloads running Windows and Linux. Additional new features include increased memory and storage capacity for improved performance, new smart replication technology, Forge API and Windows cluster protection for business critical workloads.

Snapshot analysis

Organizations' IT departments have long been seeking ways to simplify their complex environments. One way they can do this is to seek out and deploy tools that manage Windows and Linux workloads in both physical and virtual environments in a uniform way. Novell is reaching towards supplying organizations with those products. This announcement shows how far they've come in the task of offering a unified management environment for the most popular industry standard systems.

The issue, of course, is that organizational datacenters look like  veritable computer museums. Mainframes, midrange systems and industry standard systems all play their role. Other equipment, including networking and storage systems have to be considered as well. Add the power and cooling management tools and IT administrators face an extremely complex challenge.  Novell, while offering innovative tools for Windows and Linux administration, only offers a partial ability to manage those other things.

Furthermore, Novell faces stiff competition from many others who are offering tools to manage physical and virtual environments.  The long list includes companies such as CA, HP, IBM. Novell's products offer some interesting capabilities, but often Novell is not invited to play.

As I've said before, Novell's technology often outstrips the company's ability to clearly articulate their products' capabilities in a persuasive and clear way. So, quite a few IT decision makers 1) don't know who Novell is, 2) that the company offers a set of PlateSpin products and 3) are worthy of strong consideration. Novell's marketing seems either not understand the basic marketing concept AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) or can't seem to execute against it.  After all, if Novell doesn't have IT decision maker's attention and interest, it is not going to be able to create a sense of desire for their products nor get them to take action to acquire them.

I've not had a representative of a single end user organization ask me about either Novell or it's PlateSpin product set. When PlateSpin was a separate company, I often had questions about its products. It's always amazed me how surprised decision makers have been when I've brought up Novell and its products during a conversation.  In a way, it's rather sad.

This tells me that Novell needs to rethink its approach to marketing its products. After all, if someone doesn't know the company exists, he/she won't consider its products no matter how well they fit that person's requirements.  If the company's products aren't considered, they won't be purchased no matter how strong they are technically.

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