Novell OES: A tale of two kernels

* What comes out of the OES box?

I got to sit down last week with Charlie Ungashick, Novell's director of product management and marketing, Linux servers and desktops. (Charlie hands out two business cards: one for his title, one for everything else!) We talked about - what else - Novell's upcoming Open Enterprise Server.

As you should know, OES is the next release of a server operating system and environment from Novell. It's based on both NetWare 7 and SuSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES). The user has the option (both are in the box) of running the network services on top of the NetWare kernel or the Linux kernel. (The kernel is the core, low-level part of an operating system on which all the other services - input-output, file and memory access, etc. - are supported.)

OES takes traditional NetWare services and makes them available on either kernel platform. The NetWare File System, eDirectory, iFolder, iManager, ZENworks - just about everything you could run on NetWare 6.5 - can now run on the Linux kernel in OES. By the same token, standard SuSE Linux applications and services - MySQL, Apache, OpenLDAP and much more - will run on top of the NetWare kernel.

Ungashick assured me that every service and utility that ships in the OES package will run on either kernel. Networks consisting of a mix of both NetWare and Linux kernel servers will interoperate totally (in fact, failover clustering will work from Linux to NetWare and vice versa).

For the NetWare 5 or 6 network manager there's not a lot that's new in OES (compared to, say, NetWare 6.5) in terms of services. But the addition of an application-friendly platform (with the Linux kernel server) coupled with the solid, workman-like file and print services traditionally offered by NetWare make for an outstanding package, one that most NetWare 5.x and 6.x managers should seriously consider upgrading to.

Former managers of NetWare 3.x and 4.x networks, forced to move to Windows NT, Windows 2000 and Windows 2003 for server operating systems because of application needs now can propose a move back to Novell with its far superior built-in management capabilities rather than wait two to three years for the next release of a Windows server.

Likewise, Unix and Linux administrators and managers should welcome the increased manageability and security offered by OES when compared to most versions of Unix and most distributions of Linux.

Bottom line: OES should appeal to just about any network manager, no matter what background they come from. Ungashick convinced me, and next issue I'll, offer some of his arguments to you.

Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.

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