• United States

Novell bets its dollar on MySQL

Mar 27, 20033 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMySQL

* MySQL replaces Btrieve as management system in NetWare 6.5

This week we’re looking at, primarily, the open source Web services components of the upcoming NetWare 6.5. Last issue we focused on the Apache Web server, today it’s the turn of MySQL database system.

MySQL is an open source database system but it was developed and is controlled by a single company (Sweden’s MySQL AB It’s a modern example of the King Gillette philosophy of marketing – give away the razor, then sell the blades. In this case, the database system is freely available to anyone.

MySQL AB sells applications and programming services based on the MySQL database. After all, the database itself is like an empty filing cabinet. In fact, it’s like an empty filing cabinet with no handles on the drawers. Without a way to open and close the file drawers, without file folders to sort and separate the files and without a filing system to organize the sorting and selection of files, all you have is a large doorstop. So too, with a relational database management system.

For almost 20 years NetWare shipped with the Btrieve management system and its descendents. Developers knew this and used it as a repository for their applications’ data. Novell even bought the company (SoftCraft) that originally developed Btrieve but then sold it back to the original SoftCraft owners during Novell’s orgy of divestiture in the 1990s. Now called Pervasive Software, its products are still available with NetWare, but are no longer high on the list of development tools for independent software vendors. Novell is hoping that the lightning that struck Btrieve and resulted in the thousands of applications in the marketplace and boosting NetWare as the network OS that supported, them will strike again with MYSQL.

The major difference is that MySQL is more closely associated with Linux than NetWare. By including MySQL with every box of NetWare 6.5, Novell hopes to convince developers that writing to the database as well as to eDirectory (for authorization, authentication and personalization) is a good combination for those wishing to sell to the business establishment. Especially to those areas of the business establishment who aren’t ready to commit to an open-source server operating system (such as Linux), but are troubled by the burgeoning hegemony of the Microsoft environment.

NetWare is uniquely placed to deliver the best user experience through a combination of Windows desktops, ZENworks, portal services, eGuide and the personalization functions that we covered under the “Virtual Office” features of NetWare 6.5. That combined with a proven, well-supported server and network operating system that can integrate the best features of open source software with the “best-in-class” commercial packages from Microsoft and others. NetWare’s security and robustness, of course, can go a long way to make this case.

We’ll wind up our look at NetWare 6.5 next week, just in time for you to go to BrainShare in mid April armed with the questions you’ll need to ask to ensure a smooth upgrade and deployment of what Novell hopes will be its best-selling operating system in many years.