Since Oracle’s acquisition of Sun Microsystems, several smaller players have looked to pick off Sun customers, cashing in on the uncertainty and anxiety left after the merger. This time, the little fish trailing after Oracle is Novell, which has just released a range of incentives that it hopes with tempt Sun Solaris and identity management customers to switch.

In particular, the strategy aims at Sun customers with a perpetual licence on five identity management and security products. These customers, Novell says, can now switch to a Novell equivalent for free, paying only maintenance.

A similarly shiny and new offer is being touted for Solaris customers. For a limited time, customers buying Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Server subscriptions get free training aimed at Solaris administrators thrown in, to make that migration smoother.

Justin Steinman, vice president of solution and product marketing at Novell, said: “If Sun customers are concerned about the future of Solaris, they can now migrate to SUSE Linux Enterprise.

“If they are concerned about the future road map for Sun’s identity management products, they can now migrate to Novell Identity Manager 4, the only identity solution to manage identities in physical, virtual and cloud environments.

“And if you are a former Sun partner, you may be interested in establishing a new relationship with a company such as Novell, which is deeply committed to the partner channel.”

With all this in mind, however, it’s important to remember that Novell is in rather a state of flux. The company is rumoured to have over 20 companies looking over its books and product lines. Novell’s boss said in April that the company’s Linux business, as well as its identity and security management software, had taken a severe blow. These things in turn have led existing Novell customers to be cautious when it comes to making long-term platform commitments, unsure of Novell’s future. All of this points to Novell’s poaching strategy being largely unsuccessful.