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Novell's Open Enterprise Server Builds A Bridge To Linux

From Netware to the New Millennium

  • December 4, 2008
  • By Paul Ferrill

To understand the "what" of Novell's Open Enterprise Server (OES) you first have to understand the "why". Novell NetWare turned 25 this year and still has a significant number of users. Its success was largely based on doing a few things well-- file and print sharing. Other capabilities were added over the years, not the least of which was Novell Directory Services (NDS) with the introduction of NetWare 4 in 1993.

NetWare was and is a solid performer for delivering highly optimized file and print services for medium and large enterprises. With clustering, high-end storage, robust system management tools and dedicated support teams, NetWare delivered what most corporate IT departments needed-- reliable, scalable and manageable network services, at least that was true for the first half of Novell's corporate life.

The one thing NetWare didn't do well was provide an application server platform for which independent software vendors (ISVs) could develop. With the introduction of Microsoft's Windows NT server product the race was on for the hearts and minds of IT managers and, more importantly, developers. Unix offerings from IBM, SCO, Silicon Graphics, Sun and others offered another alternative for ISVs to consider.

Novell's purchase of SUSE Linux in 2003 ushered in a new era and a whole new mindset from a development and marketing perspective. It also brought with it the dilemma of what to do with the large NetWare user base. Novell's answer was Open Enterprise Server (OES). With OES customers can still run NetWare if they choose. They also now have the option to move over to a Linux-based OS and still have the enterprise-level functionality and support they have always received with NetWare.


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