Novell unveils new version of NetWare

Novell Inc. unwrapped NetWare version 6 last month, which the company says includes a variety of added elements geared toward enabling its One Net vision.

While the official launch took place in Atlanta at the NetWorld+Interop conference, Novell Canada held its own introduction session at its Canadian headquarters in Markham, Ont.

Don Chapman, vice-president and general manager for Novell Canada, said that complexity is what is holding companies back, especially as most of them have different computing operating systems. Novell wants to allow its customers to integrate in order to access information – no matter what their environments, he said.

With that in mind, NetWare 6 supports Windows, Mac, Unix and Linux clients. It also features components such as iFolder, which the company first demonstrated at its annual BrainShare conference held in Salt Lake City last March.

Novell iFolder enables users to access and to synchronize their files across all networks and Internet-enabled devices, retrievable from anywhere at any time.

“This changes how people can work,” said Ross Chevalier, Novell Canada’s director of technology.

Also added in this release is iPrint, a tool which allows users to find and install a printer using a browser.

Chevalier demonstrated that if, for example, he wanted to set up a printer for his next visit to Novell’s headquarters in Provo, Utah, he could do it from his office in Markham. iPrint enables the user to accomplish all of this easily, and even allows the administrator to set up the printers by location (such as “John’s desk”), or users can use a floor plan to identify where the printer is. With one click of the mouse, it is installed, Chevalier said.

Web Access, another feature added to NetWare, allows access to NetWare services – such as e-mail, files, calendars, and corporate address books – through a browser or personalized portal. Chevalier stressed the ease of use for users, adding that no training is really required. The sign-in interface was created to allow anyone to sign-in simply, just as they would any other portal.

Other new features include eDirectory 8.5, Native File Access Protocols, which eliminate the need for the Novell client, Novell Storage Services and browser-based management.

Dan Kusnetzky, vice-president of system software research for Framingham, Mass.-based IDC, said Novell is attempting to accomplish a very tricky task.

“They are trying to change people’s thinking, (from) thinking about NetWare as simply a file and print services operating system, to thinking of it as a foundation piece – glue is maybe a better word – that links everything together,” he explained. “And NetWare 6 is the foundation for a whole bunch of services: directory services, single sign-on, security…a whole bunch of things that are very interesting and technically very well done. The challenge I think Novell faces is not a technical challenge. They already have an operating system that is very scalable…The challenge is getting people to think about NetWare differently than just file and print services for a small workgroup.”

He added that the company seems to be making more of an effort to focus on speaking with “Dilbert’s boss” about what its technology can bring to the table when it comes to things like total cost of ownership – a strategy it has been talking about for some time now.

“NetWare 6 has all kinds of things that would make life a lot easier for people. Novell’s challenge has never been the technology – their technology has always been superb – their challenge is to articulate a message that was not aimed at Dilbert. I believe they are starting to make that change.”

NetWare 6 has moved from a server-concurrent licence model to a user licence model, according to the company. Expected to be generally available mid-month, NetWare 6 pricing is approximately $270 per user licence. For more information, visit

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