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Novell readies new NetWare release

Cliff Saran
Novell is expected to launch its latest NetWare networking operating system at next week's NetWorld+Interop show in Atlanta.

The new release eliminates the need for organisations to install remote servers by providing file and print access over the Internet.

Currently available as a free upgrade for NetWare 5.1, the technology, dubbed iFolder, uses the Internet HyperText Transfer Protocol to provide access to files directly from a Web browser.

The print technology has similarly been designed to provide local printing for users in a branch office without the need for a print server to be physically attached to the branch network.

Speaking to CW360, Novell product manager Brian Green said the iFolder technology could be used to synchronise data between any number of PCs across the Internet. "It is a bit like roaming desktops but users can work unconnected," he said.

The software is based on a similar concept to the data synchronisation applications of notebooks and PDAs and allows users to copy documents between a central server and a remote PC or laptop.

The software has the potential to reduce costs, particularly for organisations with branch office networks, but some experts think the viability of NetWare as a long-term IT strategy is in doubt.

In a paper aimed at small and medium-sized business users published earlier this year, Gartner analyst Thomas Bittman noted that while "the number of NetWare certified professionals is large, fewer new NetWare skills are being developed".

Another issue affecting potential users is support. Bittman said that while Novell's support was good, "third-party service providers are shrinking rapidly".

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