Microsoft's release of Windows* 2003
indirectly raises the question of solution selection between Novell and
Microsoft. While improvements have been made to Win2003 in specific areas
(particularly closing some security holes and a redesigned Web server), it
still suffers from architecture and administration weaknesses which lead to
deficiencies in the areas of scalability, openness, administration and
security. In addition, the level of features and number of services that are
available with Win2003 out-of-the-box are minimal when compared to those
available with NetWare® 6.5.
Organizations that are on track to keep
current with new IT technology and hold the line on current and future costs
will find it enlightening to evaluate Win2003 feasibility in five general
areas: business continuity, open source support, Web services, virtual
office capabilities, and total cost of ownership. This paper examines each
of these areas and the NetWare advantages over Win2003 in each category.
At a high level, Win2003 and NetWare 6.5 fundamentally differ in the
approach to creation of network computing solutions. NetWare provides the
foundation and framework for a holistic solution to the problems of managing
network resources and users—Novell® solutions build on strengths of
openness, standards support and a strong foundation of scalability and
reliability. Win2003 continues as a patchwork of point solutions that, at
the GUI level, paint a picture of feature-rich completeness but underneath
are a loosely linked collection of aged workstation technologies with new
interfaces, names, and patched on server components. Windows is still
focused on end-user, GUI-based applications—office applications, games,
personal productivity—while network services are an add-on.
Novell advanced directory technology combined with historically superior
file and print methods and now comprehensive open source capabilities and
Web services technologies, provide a foundation for revolutionary new
capabilities that are not matched by Microsoft, even in the latest version.
In addition, the strong performance design of NetWare continues to produce
superior results in the areas of scalability and reliability.
How a network infrastructure holds up under
conditions of normal use, dynamic changes, expansion and growth, and
unforeseen disasters is of paramount importance to the ongoing viability of
the organization depending on it. Inflexibility limits the ability to act or
react to change; limited scalability hinders growth; and vulnerability can
cripple or even eliminate an organization in the event of an unforeseen
disaster. Business continuity services for data access and recovery,
workspace protection, and ongoing security are critical.
provides a comprehensive set of business continuity services that eclipse
those available in Win2003 and provide a necessary layer of protection
during planned maintenance, reorganization and expansion as well as during
unforeseen emergencies and disasters. NetWare 6.5 maintains advantages in
the following areas.
Allows multiple client machines (home, notebook, office) to
automatically synchronize files using a standard Internet connection.
Files on any connected client are always current. Features include
automatic synchronization on connection, conflict bin, delta change
updates, Web access and reporting.
MS Intellimirror* Offline
Folders—Contents of MyDocuments on client device are redirected to a
network folder which synchronizes on connection. Connection must be
dedicated (VPN or modem) or on corporate network.
Novell iFolder supports synchronization of many clients; Offline Folders
only supports one client. Novell iFolder synchronization only updates
the changes, not the entire file and hence changes are more efficient
and less bandwidth intensive. Novell iFolder servers can be clustered
and geographically distributed for geo-site failover protection. Using
standard Internet connection eliminates cost and provides worldwide
Nterprise Branch Office™—
The Nterprise Branch Office appliance automatically provides data and
directory synchronization services to corporate hub, in addition to
local network, authentication, Web and printing services.
Win2003 has no equivalent to Nterprise
Branch Office—build-you-own capability requires extensive hardware and
manual configuration. Microsoft recommended configuration requires five
servers for a branch office solution.
Nterprise Branch Office data and network intelligence is protected and
managed through central hub—no need for local IT. Nterprise Branch
Office users can remain productive even if then corporate connection is
intermittent or temporarily terminated.
iSCSI SANs—NetWare 6.5 provides
ability to cluster iSCSI SANs for geo-site failover. Supports up to 32
servers in a cluster.
Win2003 supports iSCSI but not
NetWare provides the ability to create inexpensive and secure data
storage solutions. Using standard hardware and NetWare 6.5, reliable
clustered geo-site failover systems can be created without exorbitant
SnapShot and File Versioning—NetWare
6.5 includes SnapShot technology for open-file backup. SnapShot works
with enterprise applications to ensure that all pending transactions are
static before snap shot. Versioning provides immediate restoration of
multiple previous versions of files.
Win2003 includes Shadow Copy of shared
folders and open file backup. Files from client MyDocuments directory is
copied to a file server. Open files can be backed up.
NetWare SnapShot incrementally updates delta changes and allows
operation from the snap shot if needed—only changes are backed up, not
entire file. File versioning allows users to retrieve previous version
files without IT intervention.
Native File Access— Access
network resources using any client workstation: Macintosh* support for
Mac OS* X native, NFS support and Web-based NFS server administration,
improved Windows native file access.
Win2003—good Windows client support;
Mac support limited to OS 9 protocol version; NFS support slower than
previous NetWare releases (5.x, 6.0)
Eliminates need for any specific client—network is client-agnostic.
Performance of NetWare NFS support is 5-6 times faster than Win2003.
NetWare supports Mac OS X with roaming profiles. Access is encrypted on
NetWare while Windows support is clear text.
offering includes 2 nodes, expandable to 32 for enterprise-class,
distributed clusters ensuring high availability All applications are
integrated with eDirectory™ and leverage eDirectory security to allow
for service mobility between nodes in a cluster without compromising
Win2003 provides clustering only in
Enterprise and Datacenter versions and is limited to 8 nodes. Due to
Windows workstation-based architecture, all applications have heavy
dependencies on the Windows Registry which is machine specific. This
makes clustering more difficult and creates security vulnerabilities if
not configured properly.
Basic level of clustering for any type of use is available at no extra
charge. Clustering with up to 32 geographically distributed nodes
provides enterprise-class computing power and scalability. Designed from
the ground up based on enterprise-wide, industry leading directory
Novell Storage Services™
(NSS)— 64-bit indexed storage system handles billions of directories
and files with individual file sizes up to 8 terabytes while maintaining
a small memory footprint. Software RAID 5 support without the need for a
controller, splitting and moving of volumes, pool snap shots for backup,
archive or restore, and Web-based management for partitions, disks,
pools and volumes. NSS is a journaling file system designed for fast
mounts and minimized disk repair (only requires rebuild if disk hardware
failure occurs). NSS was first available in NetWare 5.0 in 1998.
The Windows file system (NTFS) added
partial journaling in Windows 2000 but a disk checking utility was still
required. Windows 2003 provides more complete journaling capabilities
and a reduced need to run the disk checking utility (approximately one
percent of disk crashes).
The mature file storage and handling capabilities of NetWare provide
capacity as well as consistency. The result is less down time, fewer
failures, and greater scalability than available with Win2003. Novell
Storage Services has five years of field-proven experience compared to
new Windows 2003 technology. Also, NSS provides better performance. NTFS
performance slows as the number of files and folders increases. NSS does
not experience performance degradation, even with millions of files in a
iManager—NetWare 6.5 includes
iManager, a Web-based management console that provides single-point
access and control for all network resources. iManager manages servers,
users, storage, printing, Web services, DHCP/DNS/FTP, iSCSI, NSS plus
other Novell add-on products. iManager allows remote configuration of
Win2003 includes several different
management utilities (Microsoft Management Console—MMC, Group Policy
Management Console—GPMC, etc.) for managing network users and resources.
Management utilities are Windows-based.
iManager allows administrators to comprehensively manage all resources
through one interface and that interface is accessible from any point on
the Internet. Administration is simplified through consistency and
administrators are free to work from any location that is convenient.
Administrators can manage server processes and configure or upgrade
Server Consolidation Utility—NetWare
6.5 Server Consolidation utility provides powerful flexibility for
organizing, rearchitecting and creating high availability networks.
Move, divide, combine and rearrange file, print and user configurations
across multiple OS versions. Process is non-destructive-copies and
reassigns ownership, inheritance, filters.
Win2003 includes migration tool that
allows upgrade of an older domain to a new one. Passwords are migrated.
NetWare configuration solution is much more flexible for working between
versions of software and is a valuable organization and architecture
design tool. All information is migrated, not just passwords. Microsoft
solution is primarily an upgrade tool to bring older versions current
eDirectory—NetWare 6.5 includes
the world's leading directory service technology for securely and easily
managing all network resources. The architecture for eDirectory provides
constant protection, even if sections of a network are down. There is no
dependency on a single machine.
Win2003 includes Active Directory* for
managing users, file access and Windows devices. Based on domain model
and integrated with other domains by forest connections.
eDirectory is still a significantly superior technology with inference
and inheritance. Active Directory lacks relationship and context
management of resources which limits the ability to manage by class.
eDirectory is more flexible and extensible, more easily managed, better
performing, more reliable, and more open.
Installation and Configuration—
NetWare 6.5 includes new pattern deployment installation options that
automatically configure and tune a server to a specific use.
Preconfigured servers include:
exteNd™ J2EE* Web Application Server
NetWare AMP (Apache, MySQL*, PHP/Perl) Server
NetWare Backup Server
NetWare Web Search Server
Nterprise Branch Office Server
Network Attached Storage (NAS) Server
iSCSI Storage Server
Novell iFolder Server
Virtual Office Server
NetWare also supports Blade installs out of the box.
Win2003 provides various Role
installations which are lists of components to include. IIS is not
automatically installed because of potential security holes.
Pattern deployments in NetWare are tuned to a specific purpose with
optimal server and parameter settings. Win2003 Roles are only selected
components with no customized tuning or optimization. Installing Roles
on top of each other is possible, creating opportunity for data loss and
Few people nowadays remember that the IBM PC was
not the first "personal computer" and that MS-DOS was not the first industry
standard operating system. In fact, MS-DOS was but an imperfect copy of the
operating system that really has a claim to that title.
The first generation of personal computers (or microcomputers, as they were
known then) used chips like the Intel 8008, 8080, Zilog Z80, MOS Technology 6502
and Motorola 6800. While some early microcomputers (for example, the Apple II)
used proprietary operating systems, hundreds of different manufacturers licensed
a product called CP/M (as in Control Program / Monitor) made by a company
called Digital Research. Long before the IBM PC and its clones / compatibles,
the CP/M architecture provided for industry standard software that was portable
across hundreds of different brands and models. This was DRI founder Gary
Kildall's main contribution to the software industry. Microsoft simply followed
in DRI's footsteps.