Set expectations and beat them. That's the situation facing Novell as the company prepares for BrainShare EMEA, scheduled for May 18 to 21 in Amsterdam. This is the first time in five years Novell is hosting a BrainShare conference for EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) partners and customers. Novell Chief Marketing Officer and Channel Chief John Dragoon says the event is sold out. Here are the details.

According to Dragoon, Novell expects roughly 600 customers and partners to attend BrainShare EMEA, which will focus heavily on Novell's Intelligent Workload Management (IWM) strategy. Generally speaking, the IWM effort was well-received during the recent BrainShare U.S. conference, held March 21-25 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Also at BrainShare EMEA, it's safe to expect Novell to reinforce its recent SUSE Linux messaging. The company says more than 150  new applications are certified on SUSE Linux Enterprise each month. All told, Novell says, SUSE Linux now has more than 5,000 certified applications. In a recent press release, Novell claimed to lead Red Hat on a number of ISV fronts, including certified vertical market applications. (The VAR Guy is checking in with Red Hat for comment...)

Some of Novell's recent SUSE Linux momentum can be traced to the company's software appliance strategy. During the recent BrainShare U.S. conference, nearly a dozen ISVs stepped forward to endorse the appliance effort. Next up, Dragoon has hinted that Novell plans to promote the SUSE appliance strategy to internal corporate IT developers.

In the meantime, Novell later this month is set to host BrainShare EMEA. Will the event attract thousands of partners and customers? Nope. Will the conference exceed Novell's internal registration targets? Absolutely.

Reality Check

BrainShare EMEA arrives at an important time for Novell. Generally speaking, the BrainShare U.S. event was well received. And speculation about a potential Novell takeover has quieted down in recent weeks.

Still, Novell continues to face challenges on multiple fronts. Many Linux business advocates are set to converge at Red Hat Summit in Boston on June 22-25. And Novell needs to continually reinforce its IWM strategy, which could potentially help Novell's partners to offer the company's entire software portfolio.

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