Unravelling NetWare 5

DQI Bureau
New Update

Networking technology allows heterogeneous

hosts to coexist seamlessly. This is considered to be one of the biggest advantages

provided by network computing vis-a-vis host-centric computing. Corporate clients can take

advantage of this by choosing best-in-the-category product for the service that one wants

to provide to the client PCs.


High degree of availability of resources on

server is critical. Novell has the reputation of providing a robust, scalable and stable

NOS so far. NetWare 5 has been rewritten ground-up. Some reports indicate that 80% of is

totally new code and only time will prove whether Novell continues to stand to its past

reputation. The server which was tested worked fine, but one thing needs to be noted here

is that this was only a lab environment and not a real production environment. Press

reports and Novell's site indicate that the company has already started deploying NetWare

5 for its own global network. It has also called upon its partners to switch to NetWare 5.

First looks

While NetWare 4 too was a big

leap in the computing world with the introduction of Novell Directory Services (NDS)

technology, NetWare 5 delivers more fundamental changes to Novell's operating system than

any previous upgrade has offered so far. The OS's kernel has been rewritten ground-up to

provide native support for TCP/IP (now no more NetWare/IP which was actually IP

encapsulated in IPX), symmetric multi-processing (SMP), memory protection, virtual memory,

file storage system capable of handling multi-gigabyte volumes with practically unlimited

file sizes, more mature enterprise-wide directory services with higher granularity and

support for LDAP version 3, and JVM (Java virtual machine) to host Java-based application


NetWare 5 also comes with bundled

applications like Oracle 8 with five-user license, Netscape Fast Track Web Server, and to reduce the cost of desktop management. Pure IP version of NetWare 5 comes

with the necessary add-ons which are a must for running any sizable TCP/IP network-DNS

server and DHCP server. DHCP server provides facilities to manage assignment of IP

addresses to clients, and more importantly, to remotely manage and dynamically configure

TCP/IP environment of client nodes whenever they boot up.


Service Advertisement Protocol has been

aptly replaced by open standards Service Location Protocol to reduce 'chatty' traffic on

WAN links, thereby substantially reducing the demand for expensive bandwidth of WAN links.

Those networks where users need to go beyond their LAN stand to gain. NetWare 5 has

upgrade wizards including those for upgrading NetWare 3.12. It is a known fact that many

corporate users are satisfied with the file and print server performance delivered by

NetWare 3.12 and, therefore, never felt the need of migrating to 4.x. They will find this

wizard very useful. Backup utility has significantly improved and has now gone GUI way.

NetWare 5 also comes with public key

cryptography, digital certificates and other security services. Such services are destined

to become critical services when enterprise networks begin to grow beyond their present

boundaries to permit accessing of mission-critical applications to its extranet users.

Novell Distributed Print Services (NDPS), support for hot-plug PCI, and for I2O, are

futuristic gains that are built into NetWare 5.

Classical enhancements


NetWare 5 can take advantage of multiple CPUs on your server. For example, Oracle 8, which

is shipped alongwith NetWare 5, is SMP-compliant and can run individual threads on

separate processors. This means one can now expect higher scalability and improved

response from applications.



Loading third-party NLMs or misbehaving applications on the

server will now not lead to server outages. If one is running thin on main memory, NetWare

will use disk memory.


can now take advantage of progress in Java technology. The server now acts as a Java

machine. NetWare supports the new Java servlet specifications. A servlet runs on the

server the way an applet runs in a web browser, and therefore can be regarded as a

server-side applet. Running Java applets on web browsers has certain intrinsic problems.

It can be copied, response time for an application becomes dependent on clients and their

hardware ability and incompatibility issues arise in this world of browser wars. There is

a growing trend among developers to consider servlet technology for applications delivered

on the net. Java technology features of NetWare also support JavaBeans architecture to

facilitate distributed computing.


introduces Novell Storage System (NSS) with significant advantages. Users can choose

whether they wish to have classical NetWare file system for their volumes or they wish to

have NSS file system. NSS is a 64-bit file system allowing 8TB file size and can hold

files of up to 8 exabyte volume. NSS uses a logical partition type not tied to physical


In previous NetWare versions, mounting large volumes takes significantly long time and one
requires a lot of RAM. With NSS, mounting 100GB volume takes less than 30 seconds. And it

will need only 4MB RAM to do this job. NSS also enhances reliability (It is reported that

in Comdex '97, 3TB volume was intentionally crashed and recovered in 10 seconds).


However, NSS presently does not support

compression capability which classical NetWare File System has evolved to. Furthermore,

currently, it supports a minimum block size of 64KB. The company has planned service packs

to address these issues.


IP networks is not as simple a task as it may seem at a first glance, no matter which

technology you use-NT, Unix or NetWare. Assigning IP addresses to client PCs, providing

various parameters like gateway IP address, DNS server IP address, netmask etc while

installing TCP/IP stack, and later managing these on an on-going basis demands a lot of

time on the part of network administrators. It is here that DHCP comes to their rescue.

NetWare 5 can run DHCP server which can dynamically feed these addresses on a client when

it boots up. IP networks require a service which will help in resolving symbolic host

names to IP addresses. DNS server does this job for us.

NetWare's DNS and DHCP servers are

integrated with each other. As and when a DHCP server allocates an address, DNS server

tables get automatically updated (with A and PTR records). Thus, technically speaking, DNS

can be called a Dynamic DNS (DDNS). Furthermore, DNS and DHCP servers are tightly

integrated with NDS. The entire management of DNS and DHCP server is done through NDS.

This is one of the bundled NDS-enabled applications which come with NetWare 5. It displays

the power NDS is capable of providing to network administrators.



Currently, the prime usage of a network server is running a database

engine and/or web server for an intranet. These two bundled packages aptly fulfill the

standard application server needs when one buys NetWare 5. Oracle is well integrated with

NDS. Administrators can use NDS to assign access rights to tables. Oracle is also

SMP-enabled to take advantage of multiprocessor kernel capability of NetWare.

Presently, Netscape Fast Track Server is

integrated with NDS in a limited way. NDS capability can be used only to decide who on the

net have access to which sites. Netscape server follows the same rules as defined by

NetWare Trustee Rights feature. As of now, Netscape on NetWare does not seem to have

multiprocessor support.


software now adds a bright red 'N' to the system tray of task bar. A click on this

provides a user with a menu of network capabilities. One can see the network status, map

network drives, capture network printers and send messages. All these features were also

there in earlier versions; however, they were scattered between Network Neighborhood,

Control Panel and Explorer. Apart from this, there are facilities like automatic client

update etc.


Setting NetWare 5 apart

Other than the classical

improvements in the base OS functionality, what sets NetWare 5 apart are some of the key

improvements in the areas of protocol handling, network management and directory services.

NetWare so far was providing IP services by

encapsulating IP in IPX packet, then transporting it on the net as IPX packet, and finally

de-encapsulating to get back the original IP packet. No more of this is now needed, as

NetWare has been rewritten to have native IP support. Existing applications which use IPX

directly will continue to run properly, either by running IPX in parallel or through IP

with IPX compatibility mode. If one is too fussy and wants to run only one protocol, i.e.

IP alone, and still desires to have IPX-based legacy applications run properly, it is IP

with compatibility mode which can play the necessary trick. NetWare is smart enough to

understand the situation and handle it accordingly.

To manage all aspects of network

management, one needs a technology which is scalable and permits distributed architecture.

NDS, which is inherently hierarchical in nature, and is object-oriented with features that

permit adding of new attributes to the objects, is an ideal tool to address this issue.

NDS now has a bundled application known as for this job.


Coming to NDS, any medium-to-large-sized

network requires a directory service which can act as a repository of resources and

objects on the network that have to be managed. NDS came with NetWare 4.X. Most users saw

it only as a tool to provide single log-on facility to access server resources on the

network. However, directory service is far more capable.

At present, the power provided by NDS to

write network applications is hardly being utilized by application developers. Part of the

problem was lack of an efficient protocol to access directory services. Now with LDAP

technology maturing fast, there is all likelihood that directory-based network

applications and services will see a growth in their capabilities.

The Pure IP way

Why go the pure IP way? Good

question. But a debatable one. Pure IP helps in reducing network management and

interoperability problems when it comes to integrating NetWare with other TCP/IP-based

services on the networks. For example, integrating with Unix or NT or internet. If the

client desktops are already configured with TCP/IP protocol software to access

TCP/IP-based services, say a database service running on Unix or NT, then the networking

software on these desktops needs to be only marginally augmented to deploy NetWare

services. If one opts for IPX to access services offered by NetWare server, one has to

manage two protocol stacks on client PCs.

It can be debated whether it is a wise

choice to provide bread-and-butter services like file and print to Wintel clients through

TCP/IP technology. For those who are on the other side of the debate, that is, who prefer

to opt for IPX for this purpose, NetWare 5 continues to support IPX for providing these

services. However, an interesting fact is that NetWare not only supports such a choice but

it also has in-built technology to seamlessly integrate IPX and IP segments. End-user

desktops don't have to know what protocol choices have been made for different servers and

segments. As a corollary of this feature, one can say that NetWare 5 provides 'migrate at

your leisure' choice to satisfy any user's quest in adopting a pure IP technology. What

more can one ask for to embrace legacy environments and to design smooth at-your-pace

upgrade implementation strategy? And especially with the whole world moving to

internet/intranet standards, which thrive on TCP/IP technology, this is a welcome step.

File and print services, for which NetWare

is so far regarded as a king, will also come to us through TCP/IP technology. NT

networking is still to adopt this step. It uses NetBIOS encapsulation over IP to provide

file and print services.

Many people are of the view that it is much

better to run one single transport protocol on a given network. This argument is forwarded

on the basis of cost for running multiple protocols vis-a-vis the benefits derived. If you

run multiple protocols, then you incur the cost for managing multiple protocol stacks on

clients and servers. If the network deploys routers, then there is additional cost of

router software to support additional protocols.

Running TCP/IP protocol on a network is

almost mandatory these days. Otherwise, one may have to forgo some internet/intranet

services (although it is possible to use gateway technologies like IPX/IP gateway).

Therefore, if NOS demands some other protocol than TCP/IP to provide its basic services,

then one has to necessarily run this protocol as an additional protocol. This was the case

with NetWare for a long time. It provided its file and print services through IPX


However, if the second protocol has almost

no management cost, which is the case with IPX (except for possible router software if

needed to cross WAN links), then where is the problem in running two protocols

simultaneously? In fact, some segments can run just IPX and no IP. Managing and

administrating IP is far more expensive than IPX. Therefore there is no harm if one

judiciously sticks to IPX on certain segments which require only file and print services.

However, trend toward internet/intranet and other TCP/IP-based services on LANs is

dictating IP on almost every node.

This is where Novell introduced NetWare/IP.

It was actually IPX encapsulated in IP. With NetWare/IP, node can be made to think that it

is using only IP. However, Novell didn't package NetWare/IP correctly, although its the

same as Microsoft's NetBIOS-over-IP encapsulation. There is no real performance difference

between encapsulating IPX in IP, or for that matter, NetBios in IP. However, Microsoft did

a good job of hiding the whole encapsulation scenario behind the point-and-click network

configuration tool. Users sometimes tend to think that Microsoft is using native TCP/IP

for file and print services until their WINS server dies and everyone on the network

segment has to shut off their PCs and reboot to be able to see any servers.

Well, now NetWare can be considered one

step ahead of Microsoft with its introduction of pure TCP/IP for file and print services.

However, those users who are used to the comfort of IPX will suddenly find themselves busy

in understanding DHCP and DNS servers. That is a necessary step, any way, if one has to

adopt internet/intranet technology with its full potential. Pure IP is expected to make

Novell more interoperable with the rest of the world.

Zero effort network

The term network management is typically associated with managing hubs, switches,

routers, WAN links, other network devices and cabling infrastructure. However, in reality,

the most expensive aspects of network management constituting more than 75% of the cost


- face="Arial" size="2" color="#000000"> Managing user accounts and their access rights

- face="Arial" size="2" color="#000000"> Managing resources and access rights to these
resources for example, volumes/shares or printers

- face="Arial" size="2" color="#000000"> Managing networking software, application software,
software for value-added services like email/groupware and office automation packages on

end-user PCs. People engaged in managing medium-to-large-size networks will accept this

fact without any debate. That is why there is a hue-and-cry about TCO and that is why

there are initiatives like zero administration networks. allows taking hardware

inventories for the PCs on the network, defining what applications an individual user can

access, remotely creating desktop icons on user's PC (NAL), uniform desktop no matter

which PC a user logs in from, application distribution, remote installation and management

of files and registry entries for PC-based applications.' tight integration with NDS,

coupled with extensibility feature of NDS, can lead to an innovative set of applications.

Take the case of management of PC maintenance agencies. Normally one provides a list of

PCs with their configurations to agencies to bid for price. This list can be easily

produced using After deciding which agency will maintain which PC, this

information can be associated with PC objects created by NDS/ The user can now

directly know whom to call in case of a hardware problem. Extending the set of attributes

of PC object to include purchase dates and warranty periods, an NDS-based application can

be written (with LDAP protocol) to intimate the user in advance what will be due for

maintenance and when. Thus there is a great scope to develop innovative applications once

PCs get into NDS as objects.

NetWare 5 has taken a major step toward

this direction. is the product targeted precisely to lower the desktop

management cost for any medium-to-large-size network. IntelliMirror is Microsoft's answer

to and is expected to be launched alongwith NT 5. Reports on NT 5 beta 2 tests

indicate that IntelliMirror is a capable application but lags behind in its

capability to manage legacy systems, since IntelliMirror will work only with Windows NT

5.0 Workstation clients.

Providing GUI interface to manage

application and other desktop software does not help much to lower network management

costs. Every software has two interfaces: conceptual interface and syntactic interface.

GUI addresses problems associated with conventional syntactic interfaces. Understanding of

conceptual interface is far more important. If that would have not been the case, why

would so many internet users get confused in setting up TCP/IP stack using Windows 95 GUI?

Basic conceptual understanding of IP address and its role, and the role of DNS while

running a browser, is more important than knowing which tab to click to set what.

Understanding conceptual interface for the desktop means things like understanding how the

file system provides hierarchical directory structure. If the end-users start

understanding such conceptual interfaces for using the technology, then one would not have

to spend hours in retrieving their data files which get lost in program directories!

Knowing what needs to be done is more important than knowing how to do it. Conceptual

interface for an application deals with developing an understanding of what needs to be

done whereas GUI or syntactic interface deals with how to actually do it.

GUI on server console to manage the server

can sometimes become a nuisance. It does not let us automate system administration like

what Unix scripts allow us to do. However, those who over-value GUI for server management

will be happy to note that NetWare 5 provides ConsoleOne, a Java-based GUI to manage the

server. Since it is Java-based, the response of ConsoleOne provided in the beta copy is

far from what is desirable.

One of the ways to reduce desktop

management costs is to go for diskless nodes. It is the contents on the hard disk of the

desktops which is most difficult to manage. Therefore, the best strategy is to get rid of

this hard disk itself. Novell 3.12 had an excellent support for diskless node networks in

the good old era of DOS. With Win95 ushering in, having a diskless node network has become

almost impossible. WinFrame from Citrix and Windows terminal server from Microsoft are

good alternatives to explore. However, both technologies have one weakness compared to the

diskless nodes: they use the brain and memory of server and let the desktop power go

unutilized. Distributing computing is considered to be a great advantage of networking and

Intel had done a good job to support this paradigm.

Furthermore, the applications running on a

server, in case of Winframe or Windows terminal server, are yet to mature to re-entrant

form as provided by the applications on Unix servers. Most of these applications are

expected to be office applications and it favors vendors not to make them sharable. (That

is the only way to generate volumes, make money and then use this money to add further

fuel to the IT hype created in the end-user segment!)

Novell has no technology at the moment to

solve this problem except for integrating management of applications delivered through

WinFrame technology of Citrix.

Enhanced NDS

NDS enhancements in NetWare 5 include more granular control. For example,

consider the case of an administrator who needs to assign the task of updating email

addresses of users to one of his network assistants. So far, there was no way by which the

chief administrator could give rights to the assistant just to change email addresses.

Now, with the new NDS one can create an address administrator which can change and update

email addresses for every user on the network without having the privilege of looking into

user home directories. Catalog feature of NDS permits a user to log into the network

without having to specify the NDS context.

What are the alternatives to NDS?

Networking with Unix servers provides network information system (NIS) technology which

allows one to manage users' accounts from a single server. In the NIS architecture, there

is one NIS master server and a few NIS slave servers. Any NIS server can authenticate a

user on the network. NIS provides network-wide single login facility.

PCs can be NIS clients and so can be other

Unix systems. NIS also allows floating tables on the network and writing applications to

access these tables through libraries using RPC calls. Good technology to manage user

accounts, host names and other information for managing multiple Unix server environment.

NIS was introduced by Sun. It had some inherent security problems and suffers from flat

file structure. Therefore its scalabilty is a problem. NIS also attempts to integrate name

resolution services. However, that is a bit tricky.

This was all in the Unix era. Then came in

PC LANs and PC LAN servers like NetWare and now NT. NetWare addressed the issue of

network-wide single login through its NDS technology introduce with NetWare 4. Since then,

NDS has matured. It is now being regarded as the jewel in the crown of NetWare technology.

Active Directory Services (ADS) is the

reply from Microsoft for its NT environment. However, it is expected to be released only

with NT 5. Industry reports and technical literature clearly indicates that NDS is far

ahead of ADS in its capability and features. With ADS more than a year away-and with

growing awareness and demand for enterprise directory products-Novell stands to make

significant progress in that market. Some analysts say that Novell doesn't have a

technical challenge on its hands, but simply a marketing challenge.

Novell has plans to make NDS available on

other platforms as well, for example, Solaris, AIX and NT. This will let mixed NetWare and

Unix environments support single login and reduce administration costs. NDS/NetWare users

will be pre-authenticated for Oracle database access. NDS-defined groups can be configured

to access specific Oracle databases.

Management of the enterprise-wide network

using NDS will allow one-seat administration to become a reality on the heterogeneous

networks of the future. Multi-platform support, high degree of maturity and the

NDS-enabled application trend is likely to make NDS almost unbeatable.

The perspective on NetWare 5

File and print is best done by NetWare-there is no competition. NT, at the

moment, is a good choice for low-end application server for non-mission-critical

applications. An NT server for each application should be a proper design, given the

current level of robustness and scalability of NT. Unix is good choice at the moment for

mission-critical large applications.

With NDS becoming the prime technology for

directory services, providing the capability to lower network management costs and with

the growth in NDS-enabled applications, medium-to-large networks stand to gain by the

presence of NDS server box. Some of us may ask, "Is it worth developing the skill set

in so many diverse technologies?" Corporate users already have Unix skill set.

NetWare servers have the reputation of configure-and-forget. Skill set for managing NT is

steadily growing. The fundamental objective of networking technology is to marry diverse

technologies and to reap the benefits which diversity offers. Therefore, those network

managers who are afraid of handling diverse technologies better remain as managers of

host-centric environments.

Intelligent managers will soon realize that

proper deployment of a network solution should not be tied to a single account payee

check. It is always to one's benefit to make technology providers compete with each other.

How NetWare 5 was


The installation of

NetWare 5 was smooth. To what extent can the GUI interface help in making strategic

configuration choices, like whether to format a volume for NSS file system or for old

NetWare type file system, while installing a network operating system, is certainly a

debatable proposition. However, those who think GUI is a must everywhere will be happy to

note that after certain steps are over and Java kernel becomes operational, installation

turns itself into a GUI interface to take you through the remaining steps.

NetWare 5 Beta 3 Refresh (Build 40/609)

dated June 9, 1998 was used, with server hardware (non-branded) of the following


Pentium II 266 MHz, Intel N440BX

motherboard, 128MB RAM, 4GB ultra DMA HDD, 32x CD ROM drive, 1x3.5 FDD, 2 serial, 1

parallel, 1 PS/2 ports, integrated Intel E100+ PCI Ethernet adaptor, integrated PCI VGA

card with 2MB RAM.

Server hardware should now have at least

64MB RAM, although Novell recommends minimum of 48MB. Given the fact that today's desktops

require 32MB RAM to run Microsoft Office products at an acceptable speed, demanding a

minimum of 64MB RAM is not too much to ask for. NetWare 5 CD comes with bootable DR-DOS,

eliminating the need of having a separate DOS copy to get started with installation of

server software.

Caldera's DR-DOS was loaded from the beta 3

CD and Install program started. Installation detected motherboard's two processor slots

and automatically loaded multi-processor support. It detected IDE and SCSI support on the

motherboard and loaded the necessary device drivers for Symbios SCSI. It created SYS

partition of the size specified (with old NetWare file system type-SYS volume must be of

classical NetWare file system type) and loaded the basic minimum files required.

Thereafter, it started the GUI interface for the rest of the installation.

The entire process of making various

choices and completing installation of NetWare 5 took around 45 minutes.

Then Oracle 8 was installed, taking another

45 minutes. Netscape Fast Track Server was also loaded which did not take much time. Both

the add-on products were installed without any problems.

Then came installation of the client

software. On one node a pure IP client was installed (with IP address and other

information provided manually, no DHCP at the moment.) On another node an IPX client was

installed (no IP here).

It was planned to benchmark the effect on

file service response when one moves from IPX technology to IP technology. Benchmarking

file service response was considered important because of two reasons. First, Novell is

considered unbeatable when it comes to file services. It was conjectured that NCP and IPX

protocols are key to this unbeatable response. The second reason is elaborated below:

For many years, we were on a network which

had deployed NFS (Unix-based file-sharing protocol) to provide file services to PCs

through industry-grade Unix servers (and still continues to be deployed on a selective

basis-to let users update their home pages residing on Unix accounts using DOS/Windows as

front end). When this network started using IPX-based file services through NetWare 3.12

installed on 386- and/or 486-based plain vanilla PCs with 16MB RAM, file service response

dramatically improved. This clearly suggested that IP/UDP-based file services through Unix

servers with NFS protocol is definitely much slower than IPX/PEP-based file services

through NCP protocol of NetWare. It was desirable to check out what happens when NetWare

moves from its core IPX/NCP technology to IP/NCP technology to provide file services.

The results were very promising. Copying an

8MB file from NetWare 5 server to the local hard disk took 10 seconds for an IPX client

whereas it took 12 seconds for an IP client. That is only marginal degradation. Whereas,

the same activity took more than 25 seconds for a PC loaded with IP and NFS stack and

deriving file services from Sparc Server 20 with Solaris 2.4 of Sun Microsystems.

This led to the conclusion that those who

want to have file services through IP technology of NetWare 5 will witness only a marginal

difference in performance. Thereafter the performance of Oracle and Netscape Fast Track

server was tested. The Oracle performance was satisfactory and was as good as what we get

from an Oracle server on a comparable NT box. However, it must be noted that no formal

benchmarks were conducted for database performance. Oracle is well integrated with NDS,

which provided the facility to grant selective rights to users for accessing Oracle

tables. Performance of the Netscape server was superb.

Then DNS and DHCP were installed. For this

purpose, the schema on Novell server (DNIPINST) was extended and then installing and

configuring DNS and DHCP was completed on a node. It is expected that the need of doing

DNIPINST on server may not exist in the final shipping copy of NetWare 5.

It may be noted that the configuration and

management of DNS and DHCP servers is fully integrated with NDS. We had to run install

utility from sys:public\dnsdhcp directory to copy necessary Java console files and

snap-ins for the new NWADMIN32 utility running on the client. We realized that NetWare now

has new NWADMIN utility which is truly 32-bit.

Although the task of configuring DNS and

DHCP servers was far simpler than on a typical Unix server, it was partly tricky. Novell

is well-advised to provide its users with a 1-2 page printed handout (no asking to look

into manuals on CDs!) on how to get started on these activities. It will do a lot of good

to its clients and system administrators engaged in installing and managing NetWare 5


Then the veracity of NetWare 5 being a Java

Virtual Machine was checked. HotJava browser version 1.1.4 was downloaded from the

internet. Documentation indicated that it runs on JDK or JRE (Java Runtime Envrionment)

version 1.1.6 or later. It was loaded on NetWare 5 server. It came as a pleasant surprise

that, in a matter of a few seconds, one could start surfing on the net through this

HotJava browser running on NetWare 5 server console. There were absolutely no hiccups.

The server was run uninterrupted for seven

days. It never crashed. It is happy to note that NetWare 5 is in line with Novell's

tradition of not being too finicky about server hardware. For the user, NetWare once again

proves its ability to embrace MNC and country-made servers with equal grace.

NT's forte is that it is far easier for

developer community to write applications for. Therefore, NT has more applications.

However, with NetWare tuning into Java machine, Novell has opened up doors to attract

application developers to the NetWare platform. Java has the magic of

write-once-run-anywhere capability. Industry reports indicate that Novell has set aside

large funds to encourage application developers to adopt the NetWare platform for writing

Java-based, NDS-based and internet technology-based applications. Base technologies

required for developing such applications constitute the core of new features introduced

with NetWare 5. After a long time, marketing strategy of Novell seems to go hand-in-hand

with the newly-launched technology!

Novell's biggest problem thus far had been

the right marketing strategy. The company is technically better for certain services but

Microsoft markets its products better.

NT appears to be a good solution for small

networks. When the user needs to combine file and print services with application services

and desires to have only one box, NT is a good solution. However, NT's application

services are strictly through the client server model. But one wonders as to how many

small organizations moved to client server business applications. Not even all large

organizations have fully shifted their applications to the client server model.

Another situation where NT may fit the bill

is when we have many clusters of small workgroups and enterprise-wide application follows

distributed architecture.

It has been observed that many small

organizations suffer from the confusion of what an application server means. Many of them

load their EXE and data files on the server, use file services offered by the server to

access and to run the application. Technically speaking, the server is being used here

only to provide file services. Vendors have been able to convince the users that they need

application servers for this purpose.

NT 5 is unlikely to be released before the

middle of next year. By then IT managers will get too busy with Y2K problems. Thus, for

all practical purposes, NT 5 is unlikely to be adopted on a large scale before 2000.

Novell, thus, has a unique opportunity to regain some of its lost corporate mindshare. A

lot will depend on how well the company motivates application developers to adopt NetWare

5. It will also depend on what direction Java technology takes.

Novell needs to redesign its marketing

strategy (may be learn from Microsoft!). Products don't always get sold on their technical

strengths. If they do, they will get sold only in those organizations where the technical

chief is also the final decision-maker. Novell must understand that products need to be

sold to the managers in the decision-making seats.

For buyers, this is the most appropriate

time to invest into the new OS. Most of the older OSs are not Y2K-compliant. Some vendors

have offered necessary patches and some will provide in due course of time. However, these

are patches and their reliability can't be as good as the reliability offered by the OSs

which have been written ground-up in the recent past, when Y2K problem became a known

multibillion-dollar problem. Netware 5 is one such OS and therefore worth the evaluation.