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NetWare 6.5 shrinks DirXML drivers, improves iManager

Mar 20, 20033 mins
Enterprise Applications

* Limited DirXML licenses, updated iManager, plus Snapshot Backup

One of Novell’s most successful products over the past few years has been DirXML, the virtual directory creation tool that brings together NDS/eDirectory with other directory and database services. But with a price ranging from $5 to $25 per user, it’s not always within everyone’s budget. But if you move to NetWare 6.5, some of DirXML’s advantages come along for free.

Part of the “Business Continuity” group of services in NetWare 6.5 is something called “Environment Integration.” That’s just a marketeer’s term for a limited use DirXML license.

The DirXML service currently has available drivers to connect eDirectory to:

* Active Directory.

* Delimited Text.

* eDirectory. 

* Exchange. 

* GroupWise. 



* Lotus Notes. 

* Network Information Services (NIS). 

* NT Domain. 

* PeopleSoft. 

* SAP HR. 

* Schools Interoperability Framework (SIF).  

* WebSphere MQ.

Only a handful of these will be included with NetWare 6.5, but they will be the ones that are most likely to be needed in a heterogeneous network. Specifically, the drivers for Active Directory, NT Domains, and eDirectory (so you can connect multiple trees) will be included, along with the tools needed to synchronize accounts and passwords.

“Environment Integration” is a money saver for most enterprise networks, although I think it might have been better to also include the LDAP, NIS (or both) drivers as well. There are many Unix and Linux operating systems, in addition to Windows Servers, running on NetWare networks these days.

Of course all of these new and enhanced services will need to be managed. I’ve talked before about Novell’s failings with management programs such as Syscon, Fconsole, NWAdmin and Console One (see So, of course, Novell is trying again, this time with iManager.

Novell released iManager alongside eDirectory soon after NetWare 6.0 shipped. It was (and is) a better design than Console One, but has somewhat limited functionality outside of the directory service. In NetWare 6.5, iManager has been expanded to cover more of the NOS as well as the utilities, services and applications that ship with it.

IManager in 6.5 still isn’t complete (but the earlier management programs never were, either) but it is getting better and the people in charge of iManager have committed to bringing out updates periodically, even before another version of NetWare ships. Keep your eye on iManager, I think you’re going to come to rely on it a lot, and maybe even like doing so.

One final service I can mention under the rubric of “Business Continuity” is Snapshot Backup. This is a device and a vendor-independent instantaneous archival service based on the Novell Storage Systems journaling file system. Backups can be done anytime using tools included with the NetWare console and, perhaps more importantly, versioning information for multiple copies of the same file are maintained so that theoretically, you can return to any point in that file’s life span. I haven’t seen this in practice yet, but it does sound interesting.

That gets us two-thirds of the way through looking at the changes and improvements in NetWare 6.5. Next time, we’ll begin to examine those that are grouped as “Web services.”