Novell CEO and president Eric Schmidt has reaffirmed the strategic direction he outlined a year ago and claimed the company has made great strides towards achieving it.
Schmidt said Novell had attained a number of goals which it set last year - to clear up the sales channel, focus management efforts on priorities, and deliver products.
'This is the year we begin to give customers what we promised,' said Schmidt, predicting that Novell would ship more new products this year than ever before in its history.
He pointed out that today's networks are in a 'sorry state', saying Novell would concentrate on helping companies achieve better total cost of ownership (TCO) and manageability. Novell Directory Services (NDS) will be the focal point for this effort.
Another key component for this TCO strategy is ZENworks (Zero Effort Networking), Novell's answer to Microsoft's zero administration Windows.
ZENworks went into open beta last week, and is scheduled to ship in Q2.
Schmidt also reaffirmed the company's commitment to Java, first outlined during last year's BrainShare. Schmidt, who was chief technology officer at Sun before he joined Novell in April 1997, said Netware was likely to become one of the largest Java server platforms, if not the largest.
To bolster this claim, Novell announced benchmark results by Key Labs, which showed Java applications running 2.5 times faster on Netware 5 than on Windows NT, and five times faster than on any Unix platform.
Schmidt underlined Novell's commitment to its large installed base - referring to it as one of Novell's hidden assets. He claimed 81 per cent of all Fortune 500 companies have Netware installed. Although Netware was outsold last year by Windows NT, according to data from IDC, the company still has by far the largest installed base with an estimated 62 per cent of all PC networks.
In another speech, Chris Stone, senior vice president of strategy and corporate development at Novell, stressed Novell's commitment to work more closely with Microsoft.
Stone said Novell intended to continue its efforts to support NT in its network management software, promising to 'manage NT better than Microsoft does'. Novell has already shipped NDS for NT, and later this year will introduce a version of NDS - currently used by over 350 applications - that runs natively on NT.
See interview with Chris Stone, Novell Vice President, page 22
Novell has outlined its plans for Netware 5 while keeping to its middle of the year release schedule with the shipment of the third and final beta version.
Netware 5 will be the first version to support symmetric multiprocessing and native TCP/IP. The latest beta also adds setup routing and a migration wizard that will help users upgrade, plus an enhanced implementation of Novell Directory Services (NDS).
NDS has been improved to run faster and cause less network traffic. It now supports version 3 of the lightweight directory access protocol standard interface (LDAP) and has tools to help with directory searching.
One feature is Console One, a management console written in Java, which allows network managers to perform certain tasks through a graphical interface, instead of the traditional text-based blue interface, which remains supported.
The console can run directly on the Netware server, which includes the Java Virtual Machine and an X Windows GUI environment. Console One can also be run from any client that supports Java.
Console One can be extended by the addition of 'snap-ins'. It will become the management user interface for all Novell applications, including the next versions of Groupwise, Managewise and Border Manager. However, it is unlikely that all Netware console functions will be implemented in Console One by the time Netware 5 ships. Additional modules are expected to be released during the second half of the year.
Novell also announced deals with Intel and Metrowerks. Intel will help Novell bring Netware to its 64-bit Merced processor, expected to ship in 1999, and will also collaborate on network security.
Metrowerks will port its Code Warrior IDE (integrated development environment) to Netware, allowing developers to write Netware loadable modules in the environment.
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