The replication market got a new player last week with the launch of Novell Replication Services (NRS).
Replication is one of the key features of Lotus Notes, and both Microsoft and Netscape have recently been reported to be working on replication tools.
Novell claims NRS is the first tool to enable two-way replication of files and synchronisation of data across a network. It allows network administrators to select files for replication from one server to any number of other servers within a single NDS (Novell Directory Services) tree.
Currently, these processes often have to be done by hand. With NRS, however, replication can be carried out automatically, and set up to take place at night when the network is less busy.
"This is different from Notes replication, because this is distributing the file system," explained Paddy Falls, engineering manager at Novell's site in Hungerford, where the software was developed. "Replication reduces the cost of administering a network, frees up bandwidth and provides better availability because when a server is down, the data is still held on the network."
Users can download the 1.0 version of the software now from the Internet at http://www.novell.com/home/pubbeta/nrs. This is a free trial version which is timebombed to expire in December. A commercial release of the software, version 1.1, will not be available until July. Pricing has not been announced.
The software has been in beta testing with several large customers since last August. In the UK, BT and KPMG both acted as test sites, and KPMG last week became the first company to install the software across its WAN.
KPMG has installed four NRS servers in the UK which support 10,000 PCs across the network.
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