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Schmidt at Brainshare: Novell gunning for MS

And apparently someone's still running NetWare 2.0, nine years on. Is this a (78 rpm) record?

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Eric Schmidt said in his keynote at Novell's Brainshare in Salt Lake City this week that there was still a user running NetWare 2 after nine years - longer than NT has been announced; a NetWare 3 installation that has been running non-stop for 2,347 days; and a NetWare 4 installation running for 894 days. This epitomises one of the problems that Novell faces: the reluctance of users to update. However, users were moving from NetWare 4 to 5 at nearly three times the rate that they had moved from 3 to 4. In mid-1997, Novell was being written off as a victim of Microsoft, and showing a loss of $122 million. But purple-shirted Schmidt exuded a new confidence as he unfolded the new Novell story - regaining some of the ground that it had lost while it was mired with too many unproductive staff at all levels, too vague a technical vision, and more than a hundred products (now reduced to ten). Novell is heavily responsible for the delay to Cairo-NT5-Windows 2000 as Microsoft tries to get corporate networking performance to match that of NetWare. At Brainshare, Novell announced a personal identity scheme it calls Digitalme which allows bookmarks, cookies, preferences, user IDs, credit card and contact information to be managed using NDS developments. Novell has persuaded Citigroup and FirstUSA to use the technology. An Internet Caching System was also announced for Intel-based OEMs whereby Web server capacity is increased (ten-fold, Novell claims). By having the caching on servers, it is possible to get more customers on Web sites at the same time, and deliver more content. Compaq and Dell are the first big names to announce they would be using it. The caching market is forecast to reach $2 billion by 2002, according to Collaborative Research. Novell has found it hard to partner in the same way as Microsoft, but suddenly a corner seems to have been turned. The most important announcements have been the non-exclusive deals with Lucent, Nortel and Cisco. Now there is a second and third tier of new relationships, including IBM (for WebSphere, a Java platform for the design of high-performance Web applications), Oracle (a new bundling agreement), and Compaq (a partner for the NDS billion object tree). Presumably SCADs (Novell's scalable clustering directory services) ran into some trademark problems, because Novell has now modified it to SKADS (kick-arse). NDS 8, now in open beta testing and expected to be released next year, is said to have eliminated the need for any special-purpose Internet directory and scales to around a billion objects. It was pointed out that a key feature of a directory is that it should be shipping -- believed to be a reference to the status of Active Directory. Also demonstrated was a 12-node version of Novell Cluster Services on Compaq and HP kit, which is also in open beta. Novell says its 1999 objective is to take back its leadership role in networking from Microsoft. All that needs is a little assistance from Microsoft in finally delivering NT5 next year and full of bugs. That shouldn't be too hard. ®

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