Novell to unveil NetWare 6.5

Novell Inc. this month will announce its next-generation network operating system, NetWare 6.5, which includes browser-based portal and team services functions, directory integration and an application server for Web services.

NetWare 6.5, code-named Nakoma, has been in closed beta trials for months but will move to public beta in April and will begin shipping mid-year, said Rob Seely, product manager at the Provo, Utah-based company.

Seely listed 14 new features plus six improvements over Version 6.0, focusing primarily on the new Virtual Office interface, which brings together the previously released iFolder and iPrint Web services with new Virtual Team and eGuide functions. Virtual Office allows users to print, access and manipulate documents and collaborate via instant messaging and other functions in virtual teams from a customized browser, he said.

EGuide, a directory program, was already an internal Novell capability but is new to NetWare 6.5, Seely said. With the help of Novell’s meta directory, DirXML, eGuide provides connectors to multiple directories including Novell’s eDirectory, Windows NT domains and Microsoft Corp.’s Active Directory (AD), Novell officials said. Using the Virtual Office browser, a user could see all directory information with a single password.

In addition to Virtual Office, NetWare 6.5 focuses on business continuity and Web services innovations, Seely said. Among those features are Snap Shot Backup, allowing a continuous back-up to a server over a network so that work is preserved. The exteNd App Server and Perl, PHP and MySQL open-source programs are also part of the package.

Beta tester George Raetzke, a senior systems programmer at Northern Illinois University (NIU) in DeKalb, Ill. hailed a new server consolidation utility in NetWare 6.5. He said he would like to deploy a new cluster of servers using the utility, meaning multiple servers could work with pointers to a program in one server, resulting in a “huge savings in space for our labs.”