Novell hopes it will be second time lucky in the applications server market as it launches its Open Solutions Architecture (OSA) - echoing a strategy that failed in the early 1990s.
The company has also stepped up its campaign to grab a sizeable chunk of the NT-based directories market for its NDS product, ahead of the launch of Microsoft?s rival Active Directory with NT 5.0.
As part of this attack, the company has knocked 25 per cent off the cost of NDS for NT, which enables NT network administrators to use NDS to manage their applications and resources. The promotion will run until April.
Finally, Novell is preparing to launch a desktop management tool.
The OSA will enable users to run Java components from existing software on the forthcoming Netware 5 server, and communicate via the Corba object architecture with other network services.
According to Novell, OSA conforms with Javasoft?s 100% Pure Java specifications, to allow applications to register, install, configure, manage and update across the network. It also supports legacy codes such as C++, Cobol, SQL and Visual Basic.
The strategy echoes Novell?s attempts in the early 1990s to host Unix applications when it tried to merge Unix SVR4 with Netware, and encourage developers to write application loadable modules. That approach was largely abandoned when Novell sold off its Unix rights.
Said Dominic Storey, Novell UK?s director of technology: ?OSA differs [from Novell?s previous attempts] because we are not asking people to throw away their existing development systems.?
An OSA software developers? toolkit will focus on the management of applications once they are created, rather than be used to develop applications.
Elements of the OSA SDK is now available from the Web as an early access release and will be available as part of Netware 5, due to ship in the summer.
Novell is also working on a desktop management initiative called Zero Effort Networking (Zen), which will enable users to control corporate desktop devices from one location. It will be an extension to the company?s Network Application Launcher, which enables administrators to assign applications to users and have them dynamically appear on their desktops.
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