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Novell says shipped NetWare 5 early

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Novell has been shipping NetWare 5 ahead of schedule, and perhaps a year ahead of NT5. Yesterday Novell announced that a dozen or so Fortune 500 companies had already gone live with the product, which at last has the features that were missing from NetWare 4. NetWare 5 uses TCP/IP as a native protocol, and includes with appropriate migration tools, 64-bit storage indexing, and memory protection, and the Oracle 8 version 5 database instead of Btrieve, which could be a very important factor in view of the substantial lead that Oracle has over Microsoft's SQL Server. Novell also has in beta for delivery later this year NDS (Novell Directory Services) 2.0 for NT. NDS can also manage Domain Name System/Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol services centrally. Eric Schmidt, Novell's CEO, was asked at the chief information officer's conference yesterday in San Francisco about NT Server and Active Directory. He said: "I prefer to talk about shipping products", but that NDS would co-exist with and interoperate with NT and Active Directory. Novell's ZENworks, a management utility, is being given higher marks by reviewers than Microsoft's IntelliMirror, particularly because Novell's product can work with legacy systems whereas Microsoft's can only work with NT5 Workstation clients. Novell has a significant window of market opportunity while Microsoft is in vapour with NT5 (it is worth recalling that Microsoft has been talking about Cairo, as NT5 was then dubbed, since 1993). Ballmer said last week that NT5 would not be released for eight to twelve months, but what he did not add was that with so much new code (possibly 15 million new lines), there will be considerable caution in adopting it until the first flush of bugs are removed. There are many NetWare 3 users who have evidently decided not to upgrade to NT4, so the probability is that many of them will now upgrade to NetWare 5. Whether NetWare will prove able to gain against NT depends on the groundswell that Novell creates, and whether potential users will continue to wait for the vaporous NT5. ®

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