Novell Vibe Cloud Logo
Back in April, we wrote about Novell's (news, site) latest SaaS offering, Vibe Cloud, which was supposedly a challenger to established enterprise collaboration tools like Chatter and Yammer. With a refocusing of its corporate strategy (and a new president), Novell is decommissioning the service, in favor of its Vibe OnPrem on-premise solution.

Vibe Cloud has had a short run, from opening in beta in November 2010, and formally launching just this April. With additional features on top of activity streams -- such as file sharing, document syncing, inter-company collaboration and the like -- Novell aimed to bring general-purpose collaboration into the corporate social network. But with a refocusing of Novell's corporate strategy, the company will be consolidating its services into its on-premise offerings.

Streamlining The Novell Collaboration Portfolio

Novell president and general manager Bob Flynn talked about streamlining Novell's portfolio, with a focus on collaboration, file-sharing and networking. Given this new thrust, the company will be consolidating its social applications into a single collaboration portfolio.

Novell is incorporating key social experiences from Novell Vibe into GroupWise to bridge social and traditional email collaboration for our customers. We're accelerating the consolidation of the Vibe platform with Novell Vibe OnPrem as the foundation as well. We're incorporating the most user-requested functionality from Vibe Cloud into the combined platform rapidly over the next several releases. These strategic decisions and renewed focus have led us to the decision to decommission the Novell Vibe Cloud service as of September 30, 2011.

Novell will be notifying Vibe Cloud users directly, and will help interested parties transition into their more established enterprise-grade services. This will mean that businesses using Vibe Cloud for enterprise collaboration can either move to an on-premise solution with Vibe OnPrem, or have their social collaboration done through Novell GroupWise once Novell gets to integrate this functionality.

Will There be Other Options?

Aside from running an on-premise hosted Vibe OnPrem solution, some would speculate that the combined Vibe Cloud and Vibe OnPrem functionalities will eventually make their way into partner-hosted Novell GroupWise cloud deployments. While Novell has not officially made an announcement to this effect, partner-hosted setups would help take the load off of business customers who would rather not have an on-premise setup for their collaboration needs.

Of course, the most-affected here would be small businesses that rely on the free -- albeit limited -- version of Vibe Cloud. With Vibe Cloud closing down, will smaller business move to other SaaS enterprise collaboration tools, or is a switch to an on-premise solution the best option?