Novell's FOSSA Architecture Document out by December

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Novell plans to publish later this month or in December the architecture document of FOSSA, its long-term strategy for the management and deployment of resources both within and outside the enterprise.

The document will be outlined to open-source developers later this year, as the company expects that participation of the open-source community will be important for creating some of the technologies for the FOSSA strategy, said Jeffrey Jaffe, executive vice president and chief technology officer of Novell, on Thursday.

Novell announced in March that it was working on a project, code-named FOSSA, that would let users run their workloads by mixing and matching physical and virtual machines, management tools, identity services, collaboration software and open-source operating systems.

Novell hopes that putting out a document with the roadmap for FOSSA will attract the technical community into building an open-source community for management services. "There aren't enough people right now working on open-source management services, " Jaffe said.

Novell will also in parallel reach out to other companies in the industry, including Microsoft, to support its FOSSA initiative. "It used to be that the way the industry got together to solve customer problems was through standards organizations," said Jaffe. "Now it is increasingly through open source, which offers automatic standardization."

FOSSA will have an open-source core, which will include the operating system for managing the resources on a single computer, and basic management services for managing resources across multiple systems, Jaffe said.

The entire management system will not be open source to start with, but over time more and more of the software stack will move to open source, based on the maturity of the technology and the extent to which the industry has agreed on a standard approach, he added.

Novell is positioned as mixed source product company offering both open-source and proprietary software, and the company sees FOSSA as a way of delivering its products and technologies to its customers.

In the area of management services, while the core will be open source, there will be for a long time opportunity for Novell to differentiate with proprietary extensions such as advanced algorithms to manage systems in complex environments, Jaffe said.

About 70 percent of Novell's engineering staff currently work in the area of management services. Most of the management services software developed is currently proprietary, but over time the company will leverage the open-source community for its management services products as well, he added.

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