What is it?
Until the rise of Microsoft NT, Novell's Netware was the most widely used PC Lan file and print technology. For the past couple of years Novell has pursued a strategy of targeting the weaknesses in NT with products like its directory and the Novell Firewall for NT, so that NT users will have good reason to continue to use Netware for networking.
Where did it originate?
In Provo, Utah, in 1983. Novell introduced the first IT supplier skills certification programme in 1985.
What's it for?
For building Lans and intranets which integrate seamlessly with the Internet. The current release, Netware 5.1, has been optimised for e-business and the Web. Novell has also pioneered network-enabling consumer appliances.
What makes it special?
As a dedicated network operating system and utility supplier, Novell has been able to maintain a considerable lead over Windows NT. NDS (Novell Directory Services) provides a prime example, especially when compared with the much more limited, space-hungry Microsoft Active Directory.
Now at NDS 8, the third generation of a seven-year-old product, it offers virtually unlimited scalability (up to one billion objects) making it suitable not just for corporate users but also for ISPs and application service providers with huge numbers of customers.
NDS is available for Netware, Windows NT and Solaris, and will shortly also be released for Linux and Windows 2000.
How difficult is it?
With a knowledge of PC and network fundamentals, it is possible to train as a Netware administrator in about a week. However, a knowledge of NT and Netware and how they work together is a premium skill. Another hot skill is Netware 4 to 5 migration. Migration and Netware for NT professionals courses are available from Novell authorised education centres.
Where is it used?
Netware is fairly pervasive worldwide. Some sites moved from Netware 4 to NT rather than Netware 5, but Novell claims many of them are returning to the fold, having found NT wanting. One of Netware's strongholds in the UK is the public sector.
Not to be confused with
Knitwear, although the ability to find your way around a Fair Isle knitting pattern may be helpful when administering complex networks.
What does it run on?
Having successfully surrounded Windows NT, Novell is expanding its portfolio to include Solaris and Linux in platform-independent versions of its products.
Few people know that
If the company succeeds in Internet-enabling kitchen appliances, we may see the return of Novell cuisine. Big plates, small portions.
What's coming up?
Netware 5.1 began shipping in January 2000. And Novell promises close integration with Windows 2000 when it appears, including integration of Microsoft's Active Directory with NDS.