• United States

NetWare is all grown up

Apr 01, 20033 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsWeb Development

* Web services and Applications Server - NetWare is no longer just a file and print workhorse

My first NetWare servers – right up through NetWare 2.15 – were nondedicated. That is, in addition to being a server they could also be used as a client. Many nontechnical people required this facility in a server because they felt it was “just sitting there doing nothing” otherwise.

The rise of Windows servers, which could run lots of applications in addition to file and print services, simply fed the misconception that NetWare servers mostly “did nothing.” Even network managers contributed to this thought – admit it, don’t you get worried when your server’s CPU utilization goes above 50% for any length of time when logically you know that it means your server is sitting idle for half the time? How long would you last if for 30 minutes out of every hour you simply twiddled your thumbs?

Off and on over the years, Novell has tried to bring application services to the NetWare platform. Archival and antivirus services have been there for quite some time. But that’s not really too important to the nontechnical folks in your organization. OK, it is important, but it’s not sexy. They want Microsoft Back Office type of applications. They want Web services applications. They want glitz and glamour.

NetWare 6.5 could be a big hit with the glitz and glamour crowd. Each server will ship with a fully licensed, fully functional version of Novell exteNd Application Server, the flagship product Novell acquired when it purchased SilverStream Software.

Before you get too carried away, it is just the exteNd Application Server that’s included. The full development package will cost extra. But this follows a very successful pattern – the Btrieve pattern.

For many years, Novell included the Btrieve database management system with NetWare so that developers could be confident of the longevity of the network operating system and develop applications for it. Novell’s hoping that this strategy works the same for exteNd. Not that you’re totally without other development tools though, since exteNd Application Server includes Novell exteNd Workbench, a fairly comprehensive J2EE and Web Services development environment. ExteNd Application Server also includes what are touted as high-performance CORBA, JMS, Transaction Management and Web services engines. I’m not sure what all those things mean, but I do know that people who walk the walk and talk the talk about Web services think they are important, so I’ll bow to their better judgement.

What I can say though, is that the addition of SilverStream exteNd Application Server makes NetWare a powerful platform for electronic business. Couple that with the speed and robustness of the server and the security and flexibility of eDirectory and you’ve got a product that is no longer just for file and print services. NetWare 6.5 is a brand new ballgame.