Today sees the launch of the last full 32-bit version of Novell's network operating system. NetWare 5, scheduled to ship to customers on 20 September, is the company's first major upgrade to the OS since NetWare 4.0, or IntranetWare, shipped in October 1996. Its successor, codenamed Modesto, is now in development, and with it Novell will race Microsoft to be first to market with a 64-bit network OS.
With around 350,000 copies of the NetWare 5.0 beta being evaluated worldwide, it was Novell's biggest ever beta test. Eric Schmidt, Novell's CEO, claimed: "With NetWare 5, customers leap ahead of the pack with smarter, more manageable and efficient networks. Novell has regained its rightful place as the only networking vendor who can get them there."
There are four key areas Novell has focussed on to improve NetWare. "First we wanted NetWare 5 to take control of the entire network, managing the intranet, Internet, company databases, file servers, mail servers, the whole lot," explained Peter Joseph, UK corporate strategist at Novell.
Allied to this, however, was the importance of an easy migration process to upgrade from NetWare 3 and NetWare 4. "This was something we did not do so well in the past," Joseph admitted. "With NetWare 5, we've written upgrade wizards that do all the work for you."
Security for electronic business was the second area Novell concentrated on. "Generating business between people across the network is becoming more important but it requires complicated encryption technology," Joseph said. To this end, Novell has formed a partnership with Entrust Technologies which has enabled all Entrust security products to run on NetWare 5.
Thirdly, file and print services have been addressed in NetWare 5 to make the printing process more intuitive, Novell claims. "We have added an automatic driver download and two-way communication between the printer and the administrator," Joseph explained. "So, when something goes wrong, the printer alerts the manager with the problem, saving time and money."
Lastly, Novell has also improved the file system so that it can cope with larger volumes of data and faster boot times to help businesses maintain quality of service.
Of key importance is NetWare 5.0's espousal of the basic Internet Protocol, IP. This banishes the ghost of IPX, Novell's proprietary interpretation of this standard used in previous versions of the OS. However, Novell claims it has managed to simplify IP address management, by upgrading NDS (Novell Directory Services) to allow it to manage IP addresses using DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol).
Further improvements to the new OS also include what Novell claims to be the world's fastest Java Virtual Machine. "Most people are familiar with Java on the browser but the real benefit is running Java on the server to execute applications," remarked Joseph. According to industry benchmark tests, NetWare will run Java applications faster than any other server available.
NETWARE 5: THE KEY FEATURES
NetWare 5 key features at a glance
- Based on pure Internet Protocol (IP), which uses network bandwidth much more efficiently, simplifies protocol management and offers better integration
- an enhanced version of NDS, including support for the LDAP Version 3 communication standard for interoperability with other directories
- new directory-enabled security features including public/private key technology and support for the various levels of international cryptography
- Java Virtual Machine (JVM) for running server-based applications and services written in Java
NetWare 5 pricing
- A NetWare server with a five-user licence retails for $1,195 (#729) - The Novell Web site at www.novell.com/passport gives complete pricing details
FURTHER ENHANCEMENTS TO NETWARE 5
- ZENworks: A feature that will be enhanced in NetWare 5 via the ZENworks Starter Pack. ZENworks, which stands for Zero Effort Networks, is Novell's tool suite providing application distribution and management, workstation management, and workstation administration. This desktop management tool claims to simplify the use of Windows PCs by using Novell Directory Services. With ZENworks, users automatically receive new and updated applications that have already been personalised with information stored in the directory.
And when a user is working from another workstation and requests an application from a server, ZENworks launches the nearest copy of it which saves time for the user and bandwidth and money for the organisation - Oracle Integration: Novell has partnered with Oracle to integrate a five-user version of Oracle8 in the box with NetWare 5, providing powerful database connectivity and Web application development
- Developing Applications for NetWare 5: The NetWare 5 server platform offers several scripting languages, including Perl 5, NetBasic, Rexx, and ScriptEase. A programmer can use these languages for both Web server programming and also for server-side task automation. NetWare 5 also supports ActiveX application development.
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