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What’s in Small Business Suite 6.5?

Feb 19, 20043 mins
Enterprise Applications

* Novell begins shipping SMS 6.5

The NetWare Small Business Suite Version 6.5 started shipping last week, so let’s check and see how accurate my description of the product was when I touted it last October (see link below).

First, the “starter kit” promotion will continue with SBS 6.5. Under this promotion, the software is free when you contract with a Novell partner to get it. The partner will charge normal rates for installation and can also offer you a maintenance agreement to act as a sort of outsourced IT department, but the buyer can decide to do their own maintenance. That’s good news.

The bad news is that the starter kit is still only five user licenses. If you want more users, you have to purchase what’s called an “extender” pack. This includes the additional licenses, but also has a charge approximately equal to buying the SBS 6.5 server+5 package (i.e., the stuff you got for free with the starter kit). So it’s still only those with fewer than six users who get any benefit from the starter kit.

I’d thought that Novell might make this promotion a 10-user package because a) five users aren’t very many these days, and b) the maximum licenses for Small Business Suite have doubled. That’s right, you can now connect up to 100 users to your SBS server, twice the amount you could have with SBS 6.

Another plus is that your purchase of SBS 6.5 allows you to install up to five servers – three more than was supported by SBS 6.0. That can come in handy if you want to use existing, older hardware because all the ‘goodies’ that come in the SBS 6.5 package require a fair amount of server resources.

Besides NetWare 6.5, SBS includes:

* Novell GroupWise 6.5 (including e-mail, junk mail handling, calendaring and instant messaging).

* Novell BorderManager 3.8 (network security, including firewall and VPN).

* Novell ZENworks for Desktops 4 management services (including application management, hardware inventory and remote control).

* Novell Nterprise Branch Office 1.02  (providing complete network services to branch offices securely and inexpensively).

The final big change with SBS 6.5 is the licensing model. When Novell switched to a user-based model for NetWare 6, SBS retained the server-based model that had been the traditional Novell licensing method. That’s changed now, and SBS 6.5 uses the same named user model as “big” NetWare 6.5.

On the whole, it’s a good package (see the product page at the Novell Web site for all of the features, including the large contingent of open-source software that’s included). If the starter pack weren’t quite so limited (both in use and in upgrade-ability) it would be outstanding.