Latest NetWare embraces Internet
- By Paul Ferrill
- Mar 19, 2000
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
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
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.