Hot skills: Novell’s Open Enterprise Server makes the open source connection

Common open source skills come in handy for Novell work

Common open source skills come in handy for Novell work 

What is it?

Novell Open Enterprise Server is the next product release for Netware users. The suite provides file, print and application services in an open environment. Novell Open Enterprise Server combines the Netware and SuSE Linux platforms in one system

Novell was once synonymous with the Netware file and print software that dominated the local area network market from the 1980s to the mid-1990s. With the decline of non-Windows proprietary operating systems, the company has redefined itself as a provider of “net services” – directory, security, identity, and application and storage management services.

Where did it originate?

In Utah, in 1983. By the early 1990s Netware had 70% of the network operating system market, but that fell precipitously with the introduction of Windows NT. Other products include Groupwise collaboration software, the Zenworks (Zero Effort Networks) remote management tools for Windows and Netware, the LDap-based eDirectory, and Novell Identity Manager.

Novell’s technology has often knocked spots off its Microsoft equivalents in comparative reviews. But Novell’s marketing has sometimes been poor, and it has missed key trends – even when it has been ahead of them.

What’s it for?

Novell Open Enterprise Server provides file, print and application services using a mixture of proprietary and open source technology. It enables application delivery, networking, communication and collaboration services on either the Netware or SuSE Linux platform.

What makes it special?

Open Enterprise Server uses many open source technologies developers will be familiar with, including Apache, Tomcat, Mono, JBoss, mySQL, PostgreSQL and Samba. Novell’s iManager enables administrators to look after any combination of Linux and Netware with a single set of tools.

Any combination of Netware and Linux servers can be clustered, and Netware servers can failover to Linux.

Novell Open Enterprise Server provides a networking foundation where Netware and SuSE Linux can coexist and interoperate within the infrastructure and you can select the platform mix that best suits your needs. Common management utilities enable the management of both platforms using the same tools.

How difficult is it to master?

There are different levels of Novell certification, but most involve about six exams, with associated training. However, Open Enterprise Server makes use of existing Linux and other open source skills.

Where is it used?

Open Enterprise Server is designed for medium-to-large enterprises, and users include the National Health Service, the City of Munich, ITV and De Montfort University.

What’s coming up?

Novell promises new Open Enterprise Server features, including Novell Storage Services on Linux, and shared iFolder capabilities between Windows and Linux clients.

Rates of pay

Netware administrators can earn upwards of £25,000, engineers’ salaries start at £28,000. CNE certification is often needed.


Training is available from Novell’s training partners. Novell is currently offering its SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 administration course free of charge.

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