Novell and Microsoft are turning up the volume on the small business server front, but analysts agree they are not segmenting the market enough.
Novell has launched the beta for its NetWare for Small Business 4.2, expanding the client-access limit from 25 to 50. It has added an Internet Connection Wizard, NetWare Management Agent for remote monitoring, Tobit Software's Faxware and support for NetWare 5 clients.
"NetWare for Small Business is leaner, meaner, more stable and requires a smaller footprint than its competition," claimed product manager David Hunt.
Remus Brett, small business analyst at Datamonitor, said: "Most of these products are re-packaged, scaled-down versions of the original and do not meet small business needs at all. Novell is pressing the right buttons here but failing to understand the market." He added, "Small businesses are not brand sensitive, it's about cost. Ease of use and availability of support are important but secondary concerns, unlike larger businesses."
Martin Gollogly, senior analyst at Datamonitor, said: "Most small businesses will go to their local high street computer shop, probably smaller than Dixons and their purchases are based on trust. IT advice for these people often comes from the family and maybe only the most senior person in the business will be IT literate. The vendors lump these companies into a sub-500 group when they should be breaking them into groups of under 50 or 50-100."
In the red corner, Microsoft has rolled out its BackOffice Small Business Server Internet Technologies offer, until the next beta of the Small Business Server, (SBS) 4.5 due by the end of the year.
With the latest offering, Microsoft is providing Proxy Server 2.0 and the Windows NT Option Pack free to current SBS customers.
Small Business Server 4.0, which Microsoft began shipping last year, includes NT 4 with client add packs to boost the total number of allowable clients to 50. The product includes versions of Microsoft BackOffice applications.
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