Organizations looking to migrate, upgrade,
expand or even consolidate cannot overlook the overall cost of ownership.
Across several categories of costs, NetWare 6.5 consistently provides better
value than Windows. A Gartner TCO study conducted at WFS Financial indicated
software, hardware and administration costs for NetWare were 52% less
expensive than Windows NT*/2000. With no changes to the Windows architecture
in 2003 and only minor changes to management utilities, NetWare will remain
less expensive to own and implement.
The cost advantages of NetWare
compared to Windows are summarized as follows:
Complete Package— NetWare 6.5
is a complete package and includes networking capabilities for small
business to enterprise needs for a moderate per user cost. Base offering
includes: file, print, Web, exteNd application server, Web services IDE,
database, eDirectory, iPrint, Novell iFolder, Nterprise Branch Office,
Web-based iManager, Server Consolidation Utility, Virtual Office
Portal/Virtual Teams, eGuide, DirXML Starter Pack, Native File Access
and much more.
Five different versions of Win2003 are
available with additional functionality costing more.
Win2003 Standard Edition: basic file, print, application, Web
Win2003 Enterprise Edition: add Clustering 8 processors and
Win2003 Datacenter Edition: add 32-way SMP with manager and tested
on qualified hardware
Win2003 Web Edition: limited functionality but includes XML
services and ASP.NET
At a price comparable to Windows 2003 Standard Edition, NetWare 6.5
provides all of the functionality of Microsoft's Enterprise and
Datacenter versions plus 32 node clusters with 32-way SMP. Pricing is
simplified and capability is greater with management for complete range
of services integrated through eDirectory.
Licensing—NetWare 6.5 provides
flexible licensing based on the needs of an organization. Licenses can
be per user, per server or per organization. License types can be mixed
and matched in an organization. In all cases, the least expensive
combination of licensing is possible. Organizations only license per
user and can have as many server instances of NetWare as needed without
Win2003 licensing now is available per
server or per user. Multiple versions of Windows 2003 exist however, at
varying price points with the cheapest being for the Web server only.
Win2003 Standard is $1k (5-user/device), Enterprise $4k (5-user/device).
Per user pricing averages $160-200. The MS licensing subscription model
is expensive and requires ongoing payment for continued right to use
software (i.e. license expires after time).
NetWare licensing is less complicated and easier to track and manage.
Pricing by user allows organizations to provide a wide array of server
services at no additional cost. An organization would pay the same
licensing cost regardless if they have one file server or 20
file/application/Web servers. NetWare licenses never expire.
Hardware—NetWare on average
requires less hardware power to provide the same level of capability.
Win2003—Less efficient design requires
more RAM and processing power to provide the comparable level of
services in NetWare. Win2003 Enterprise and Datacenter versions are only
available on specific (expensive) hardware that has been specially
configured and tested to work with it.
NetWare hardware costs are much less for the same level of functionality
and user or application support. Example: MySQL application can support
a maximum of 50 users on Win2003 but 1200-1300 users on NetWare 6.5 with
the same hardware.
User Support—Self service,
eDirectory management, NetStorage, iPrint, Virtual Office—all of these
technologies and more make NetWare 6.5 easier to support larger numbers
Win2003, with dependence on Windows
clients, no included portal or Web-based self-service features, and
patchwork administration requires higher levels of user support.
Support costs with NetWare are lower. Users can do more for themselves
through the Web and eDirectory simplifies user provisioning and
eDirectory and advanced capacity allows administrators to manage more
users and resources with less effort.
Win2003 includes some administration
enhancements but basic global management is still awkward and time
Gartner TCO study found that Windows is 41% more costly to administer
and maintain than NetWare in some enterprise environments. (source:
Gartner WFS Financial TCO assessment, 15 March 2002)
Migration—Change is constant in
many organizations. NetWare 6.5 Server Consolidation Utility and
eDirectory flexibility make it easier to work between versions, migrate
from other sources, reorganize and rearchitect.
Windows mainly provides an upgrade
tool that requires ripping and replacing earlier version to bring them
current with the latest version.
Reorganizing, accommodating mergers and acquisitions, and rearchitecting
is much less costly with NetWare. A Gartner study indicates it costs
nearly twice as much to migrate from NetWare to Windows than to upgrade
to newer versions of NetWare (source: Gartner WFS Financial TCO
assessment, 15 March 2002)
Immediate ROI— NetWare 6.5
provides immediate ROI with ready-to-deploy applications and services
(i.e. Virtual Office, Novell iFolder, iPrint, eGuide, etc.)
Win2003 requires additional services
and expense for applications beyond file and network printing.
Cost for NetWare can be recaptured quickly for a faster return on
Other Key Deficiencies
Key areas not mentioned above where NetWare
6.5 excels when compared to Win2003 are architecture, security, maturity,
and desktop philosophy.
Architecture—Win2003 is Windows NT/2000
with modifications and follows the historical Microsoft tradition of
superficially updating features and interfaces while leaving the same
fundamental desktop operating system architecture in place. The Windows
architecture is a patchwork of solutions that are tied to the operating
system. This leads to difficulties in managing users, storage, access and in
creating secure and fault tolerant solutions. "Still, the new OS uses the
same core NT architecture, and the same object-centric model for controlling
access to files, printers and other network resources through access control
lists (ACLs)." (source: April 2003, Unwrapping Win2003, Information
In contrast, the architecture in NetWare is based on a high-performance,
efficient protocol engine and a holistic architecture that allows a myriad
of services (such as J2EE, AMP, eDirectory, XML, Web-based standards
services, etc.) to operate independently, yet be integrated for
comprehensive security and management. The architecture in NetWare provides
better security and higher performance which leads to long-term reliability
and high scalability.
Security—The much touted security enhancements of Win2003 are
mainly fixes to sloppy coding inherited from earlier versions. According to
Information Security, Win2003 "security holes were mainly fixed by cleaning
up sloppy coding of 3.51 and turning off services that by default were
turned on. It has many more services disabled by default, including the most
dangerous—World Wide Web Publishing Service, which makes the system into a
Web server and exposes it to frequently discovered HTTP-related exploits.
Win2003 has more security controls activated, but still leaves password
policy, lockout policy and auditing either disabled or relaxed. Most of the
new features don't do much to prevent the exploits that have plagued the
Windows OS family over the years."
The architecture in NetWare again provides excellent security—NetWare
specific viruses of the same class as Windows viruses are nonexistent. In
2002, Novell released only 4 security alerts while Microsoft released 64
during the same period.
Maturity—Announcement of a new feature doesn't necessarily
indicate that the feature is functional or ready for prime time. The
following list of new features announced with Win2003 have long been
available and are proven under intense loads in earlier versions of NetWare.
Journaling file system—Available since NetWare 5
SAN Boot—Available since NetWare 5
Partitioning and Abstraction—Available since NetWare 3
Flexible Volume Mounting (comes only with Win2003 Datacenter and
Enterprise versions)—Available since NetWare 5
Desktop Philosophy—A major portion of Microsoft's business is the
desktop and a significant strategy element is controlling the client. Server
and service backends are created and designed to take advantage of and
entrench the Microsoft client whether it is Windows in any of its variations
or Internet Explorer. This leads to applications and development
environments that are more closed and optimally work only with a Microsoft
Novell solutions have traditionally been client agnostic. Good support
for Macintosh and other client formats such as NFS and CIFS plus an open
application service environment enables users to access resources no matter
what client they are using. With the NetWare 6.5 release, there is generally
no need for any type of specialized client beyond a standard Web browser.
Backend applications and Web services support Web access; mail, file and
printer access is via the Web; and all management of the network and network
resources can be done using a browser.
The strategy of free and open access simplifies the development process,
provides greater freedom and mobility for users, and overall reduces the
cost of service implementation and maintenance. The benefits are greater
self-service and integration among stakeholders whether they are employees,
customers, partners, suppliers or administrators.
While the arrival of Win2003 will be noted
with a flurry of press and media events, organizations considering upgrading
or migration should carefully examine the real benefits of any switch.
NetWare 6.5 provides an extensive list of features, services and advantages
compared to those available with Win2003. Out-of-the-box functionality
includes Virtual Office, collaboration applications with Web-based portal
access for file and print. Open source technologies are included and
supported for Apache, MySQL and PHP/Perl. A complete J2EE application server
and Web services development environment is also included.
NetWare 6.5 includes reliable and scalable file and storage capabilities.
NetWare storage on the whole is more accommodating, more flexible and easy
to manage. Windows requires more effort, reconfiguration and change.
Administration and management of vast storage quantities is easily
accomplished through eDirectory and iManager. NetWare 6.5 continues in the
tradition of earlier versions to provide centralized and secure management
of heterogeneous resources. Disparate systems, including Windows domains and
Active Directory, are commonly managed and information is shared using
industry standard XML and Novell's DirXML Starter Pack.
Services included with NetWare provide safe and solid business continuity
solutions that provide high availability during routine maintenance or
unforeseen disasters. Nterprise Branch Office and Novell iFolder provide
automatic synchronization and replication services while iPrint enables
distributed and remote printing.
For any organization, NetWare 6.5 is a clear choice for getting
state-of-the-art technology and services with a minimum of integration
effort and expense. Win2003, masked by expensive marketing, is a makeover of
earlier versions with a new Web server and some security fixes. Companies
that compare the two products for practical application, use and
administration will find NetWare 6.5 delivers a superior solution.