I'm following Novell for more than 20 years right now. And for roughly the same period of time there have been rumours of other companies acquiring Novell. But it never happened. Not really, at least. You could argue that the acquisition of Cambridge Technology Partners was sort of a takeover of Novell by Cambridge, with Jack Messman becoming CEO and so on. But at the end, Novell was at its own again. But yesterday the news spread that Attachmate is buying Novell - finally they are sold. Attachmate will keep Novell as separate business unit and maintain the brands of Novell and Suse. With other words: There won't be that many changes from a customer perspective at first glance.
When looking at Attachmate and NetIQ, it becomes obvious that Attachmate at that point of time is keeping the acquisitions somewhat separate. There is still a NetIQ website and the NetIQ brand is still maintained. Behind the scenes, there is integration - but not when facing to the customer. It is most likely that the same strategy will be followed with Novell.
However, the questions are whether, when, and how Attachmate will start to build on the potential of tighter integration between their different "divisions", e.g. the classical Attachmate, NetIQ, and Novell. There is a significant potential for integration - look at the broad support for different environments, from the mainframe to NetWare, Linux, and Windows. Look at the expanded capabilities for managing networks, delivered by NetIQ and Novell. And think about what the outcome for "intelligent workload management", e.g. the optimization and management of workloads in virtualized/cloud environments could be if all the strengths of Attachmate, NetIQ, and Novell are put together. Thus, there is some interesting potential for the future.
The question I have fully answered is: What does this mean for existing Novell customers and what should they do? The answer at that point of time is simple: Stay calm and proceed as planned. There is no reason to go away from Novell - in contrast: Novell is now part of a significantly larger organization and it finally has been acquired, thus the rumours around acquisitions are past. And the opportunities out of this acquisition for existing Novell customers are significantly greater than the risks - especially if Attachmate starts to leverage the potential synergies between the different companies within that conglomerate.