Latest NetWare embraces Internet

For those NetWare shops that do a lot on the Internet, Version 5.1 is well

worth the cost of upgrading.

NetWare 5.1 expands on the Internet theme established by Version 5.0

and adds new functions designed to make the system more manageable for network

administrators. What's more, Novell Directory Services 8.0 comes standard

with NetWare 5.1 and provides the most stable, scalable version of Novell

Inc.'s directory service delivered to date.

But the World Wide Web-based management features alone offer a compelling

reason to upgrade. The new version makes it possible to effectively manage

any server — including rebooting it — remotely via the Internet. And Novell's

management portal provides file access to both the DOS boot partition and

mounted NetWare volumes.

We installed NetWare 5.1 on a 200 MHz Pentium system with 128M of memory

and 6G of disk space. The 128M of memory is the minimum recommended for

a typical installation. Novell recommends 256M of memory if you plan to

install IBM Corp.'s WebSphere application server, which comes bundled with

the software. Except for a minor glitch with a Logitech mouse, the installation

went smoothly.

The primary management tool provided for network administrators is

ConsoleOne, a platform-independent, Java-based management console introduced

with Netware 5.0. The console is well-designed and generally easy to use,

but it was very slow in its initial release compared with the standard NetWare

Administration (NWADMN) program. Both make it possible to manage users,

resources, and a multitude of related items. The latest version of ConsoleOne

(1.2b.19) has improved since the first release, but it still runs slower

than the native NWADMN.

As noted above, Novell's embrace of the Internet goes to the core of

the operating system with a Java Virtual Machine integrated into the OS.

The Novell JVM for NetWare is required to run the graphical user interface

capabilities. In addition to Netscape Communication Corp.'s FastTrack Web

Server, introduced in Version 5.0, NetWare 5.1 includes a news server, multimedia

server, FTP server and search server as standard equipment. The NetWare

solution does not offer server-side scripting in the fashion of Microsoft

Corp.'s Internet Information Server Active Server Pages, but the bundled

InstantASP does provides ASP script compatibility.

Novell has also taken an embrace-and-enhance approach to many Microsoft

capabilities. NetWare 5.1 ships with InstantASP from Halcyon Software Inc.

for executing ASP scripts typically run on Microsoft NT servers running

Internet Information Server. On the scripting front, Novell has delivered

Visual Basic Script source-level compatibility in their NetBasic product.

Those new features provide the server-side support for Web developers using

Microsoft's FrontPage or Visual InterDev product. They also make it possible

to use a NetWare 5.1 server to host Web pages and scripts in place of a

Windows NT server. And NetWare 5.1 provides new support for users of Microsoft

Office. Specifically, Version 5.1's support for Web Distributed Authoring

and Versioning and Web Folders means that Office users can use that product's

tools for group collaboration across the Internet. Although those tools

may not be practical for large documents, they work well with small, local

groups.

For upgrades, Novell provides its Upgrade Wizard, which converts the

bindery model to the latest NDS structure. There's also a utility for checking

NDS trees for structural problems.

NetWare 5.1 includes the starter pack version of Novell's ZENworks, which

includes tools for application and workstation management. And it includes

a few third-party applications, including IBM's WebSphere Application Server

3.0 Standard Edition and WebSphere Studio 3.0 Entry Edition for developing

and deploying server-side Java applications. There's also a five-user copy

of the Oracle8i database.

There's a saying that you should never waste time on a ".0" product.

Though that wasn't true of NetWare 5.0, there's no denying that Version

5.1 extends 5.0's strengths.

AT A GLANCE

NetWare 5.1

Score: B+

Novell Inc.

(800) 453-1267

www.novell.comPricing: NetWare 5.1 server plus five connections is available on the open marketfor $1,345. Volume discounts are available on the GSA schedule.

Remarks: NetWare 5.1 includes enough enhancements to make upgrading worthwhile. Newmanagement functions provide the tools to handle virtually any server problemremotely via the Internet. New Microsoft compatibility features offer interoperabilitywith Office 2000 and support for Visual Basic Script and Active Server Pages.The inclusion of IBM's WebSphere studio and server and Oracle 8i make NetWare5.1 a great choice for an Internet or intranet application server.

BY Paul Ferrill
Mar. 20, 2000

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