Novell highlights file and print features in Netware 6

MARKHAM, Ont. — Novell Canada Ltd. Thursday previewed its NetWare 6 distribution, which focuses on the functionalities the software is best known for: file and print.

Via NetWare 6 and its NetWare Web Access capability, users will be able to access files, printers, e-mail, calendar and other corporate applications and services from a browser, regardless of operating system, according to the company.

“The value proposition is shifting from applications as a personal tool to having services anywhere, anyplace, anytime,” said Novell Canada’s vice-president and general manager Don Chapman during a briefing from the company’s headquarters in Markham, Ont.

In an era of multi-operating system environments, one can’t assume or predetermine what type of Web device the customer will deploy, said director of technology for Novell Canada Ross Chevalier.

Chevalier emphasized the importance of using open standards like WAP and handheld device markup language (HDML) for access to applications from handheld devices like Palm and Windows CE and continued support for emerging standards like XML.

The company’s landmark applications within this new distribution are iFolder and iPrint. The former allows documents to be accessed from a centralized server over a browser. “It lets people work with their data wherever they want. We have this challenge for location independence and that’s what iFolder does,” said Chevalier. Aside from convenience, security is a key attribute, he added. Information from iFolder is automatically encrypted and anywhere access reduces the need for carrying diskettes and e-mailing files. Files may be downloaded and uploaded to and from a desktop if necessary, said Chevalier.

iFolder’s companion software, iPrint is a application that allows users to print on both IPP-ready and non-IPP-ready printers — the latter requires printer drivers. iPrint recognizes the printer selected and will automatically download and install missing drivers to a desktop. A printer may also be selected from a electronic floor plan saved in application, so users can choose select a printer icon from a given room or location rather than having to look up its IP address.

Novell has had to rely on its file and print strengths for NetWare since the software continues to lose market share as an operating system to Windows NT and Unix, according to Dan McLean, networking analyst for IDC Canada Ltd.

“For years NT has been killing NetWare,” said McLean. “In the last year or so Novell’s strategy has really been to focus on the core function and really promote it as a file/print operating system that can peacefully co-exist, if you will, with NT.”

Chevalier, however, is quick to tout other enriched functions for NetWare 6, such as improved clustering, a reduced servlet size for browser services and ease of upgrade from NetWare 5.x to 6.

NetWare 6 now supports for 32 nodes per cluster on 32 clusters. Lack of clustering technology made viewing and other online media outlets almost impossible during Tuesday’s crises in New York and Washington, D.C., noted Mike Levy, Novell Canada’s director of marketing.

ZenWorks for Desktops 3.2, Novell’s latest desktop management tool was also previewed Thursday. The software features imaging enhancements – such as improved compression technology, server-based multicasts and a new interface – and preboot services which, according to Chevalier, will allow the company to expand the software’s reach beyond with Windows market “by managing the hardware independent of the OS.”

NetWare 6 will be generally available in mid-October and priced at $270 per user license. Zenworks 3.2 became on available on Aug. 15, priced at $87 per user license.

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