With the release of NetWare 5 in October 1998, Novell finally recognized the importance of the Internet, through its primary interface, NCP, IPX / SPX to TCP / IP. IPX / SPX was still supported, but the emphasis over TCP / IP. Novell also added a GUI in NetWare. Other new features were:
- Novell Storage Services (NSS), a new file system to replace the traditional NetWare file system – which was still supported
- Java Virtual Machine for NetWare
- Novell Distributed Print Services (NDPS) – printing services
- ConsoleOne, a new graphical management console based on Java
- Services of Public Key Infrastructure (PKIS) integrated nell’NDS
- Built-in DHCP Server and DNS nell’NDS
- Support for Storage Area Network (SAN)
- Novell Cluster Services (NCS) – clustering services
- A 5-user version of Oracle 8i
The Cluster Services was a big step forward compared to SFT-III, since it did not require specialized hardware or an identical configuration of the server.
NetWare 5 was released in a time when the NetWare’s market share fell precipitously; organizzaizoni and many companies were replacing their NetWare servers with Windows NT-based servers. Novell also released the latest update NetWare 4, NetWare 4.2.
NetWare 5.1 was released in January 2000, shortly after its predecessor. He introduced several useful tools, such as:
- IBM WebSphere Application Server
- NetWare Management Portal (later renamed Novell Remote Manager), a system management operating system based on web
- FTP Server, NNTP and streaming media
- NetWare Web Search Server
- Support for WebDAV
NetWare 6 was released in October 2001. This version has a simplified licensing scheme, based on users and not on the server. This reduced licensing costs and allows an unlimited number of connections per user.
Other changes, new features and enhancements include:
- Improved SMP support – up to 32 processors per server
- IFolder – location-independent access to local files from the platform and, through intelligent and automatic synchronization of the local iFolder directory with the iFolder server
- NetStorage – access to personal files through a standard web browser
- IPrint – you can install printers from a web browser and submit print jobs via the Internet, using the standard protocol IPP
- IManager – web-based administration tool for NetWare and other Novell products
- The Apache web server and Tomcat servlet container
- Native File Access Protocols – supports SMB, AFP and NFS, to provide client Windows, Macintosh and Unix / Linux access files on a NetWare server, without using a Novell Client
NetWare 6.5 was released in August 2004. Some of the new features in this release were:
- More open-source products such as PHP, MySQL and OpenSSH
- A port of the Bash shell and many traditional Unix utilities such as wget, grep, awk and sed to provide additional capabilities of scripting
- Support for iSCSI (both target and as initiator)
- Virtual Office – a web portal “ready” to provide end users access to email, personal disk space, corporate address book, etc..
- Ability to operate as a Windows Domain Controller
- Universal Password
- DirXML Starter Pack – synchronizing the user advances to another eDirectory tree, a Windows NT domain or Active Directory.
- ExteNd Application Server – a Java EE 1.3 compliant application server
- Support for custom profiles and auditing of printer drivers use the printer
- Support for NX bit
- Support for USB mass storage
- Support for encrypted volumes
Novell Open Enterprise Server
In 2003, Novell announced the successor to NetWare: Open Enterprise Server (OES). Initially released in March 2005, OES complete separation of the services traditionally associated with NetWare (Directory Services, file-and-print) of the underlying platform to deploy these services. OES is essentially a set of applications (eDirectory, NetWare Core Protocol services, iPrint, etc..) That can be run on a platform with a Linux and NetWare kernel. OES cluster deployments can even migrate services from NetWare to Linux and vice versa, making Novell one of the few companies to offer a multi-platform clustering solution.
Following the acquisition by Novell’s Ximian and SuSE (a German Linux distribution) has been widely observed that could be moved from Novell NetWare and shift its attention to Linux. Officially, however, Novell denies these assumptions and supports the intention to focus on both. In fact, virtually all Novell products run at least on both Linux and NetWare, and some (such as eDirectory, GroupWise, Identity Manager) on many other platforms.
While NetWare is still used by many organizations, especially in schools and government, is not nearly as popular as it was at its peak in the early nineties. At the time NetWare was considered the de facto standard for file and print services on the server platform compatible with the Intel x86 family.
Novell’s market share began to decline with the arrival of Windows 95 and Windows NT 3.51, in 1995. Before Windows 95, DOS and Windows 3.11 did not include sharing capabilities, and a NetWare server or similar products were a need to share files over a local network.
While the installation of NetWare was completely in text mode command line, Windows NT could be installed almost automatically in graphical mode. Use NetWare requires extensive knowledge of the commands and the names of the Netware Loadable Module (NLM), and relied on the familiar Windows NT graphical user interface and use the mouse. This difference enables inexperienced users to successfully install a server instead of relying on a Microsoft Certified Novell Engineer (CNE) to install.
NetWare 3.x bindery was designed with a service to store user names to a single server. NetWare 4.x introduced the Novell Directory Services (NDS) to synchronize the user names across multiple servers. The added complexity NDS created a significant deterrent update for users of NetWare 3.x with a single server. Because Windows NT 3.5/4.0 did not include any directory service to support multiple servers, it seemed easier to switch from NetWare 3.x to Windows NT 3.51/4.0, rather than NetWare 4.x with NDS. A multi-directory synchronization server for Windows was introduced from Windows 2000 Server, with the release of Active Directory. While trumpeting the benefits of Novell NDS, users with a single server from an upgrade to NetWare 4.x and went instead to Windows NT.
Two other technical issues caused the decline of Novell: the difficulty of expanding and supporting a non-standard TCP / IP. NetWare allows 4 partitions on a physical disk and did not provide a method to expand or to manage partitions. Is there a way to extend the usable disk space, which is simple but which few people are aware of. MS-DOS and Windows support up to four partitions on a physical disk. The software to manage these partitions became widely available at an affordable price. In the end, several companies, including Symantec (Norton Ghost for NetWare) and PowerQuest (ServerMagic) produced relatively expensive utilities that allow you to extend partitions NetWare.
Despite the fact that the Windows-based networks were far less reliable and more expensive, Microsoft began to wrest market share from NetWare in favor of NT. Microsoft, through the major journals, was more visible to managers of companies, while NetWare tended to be visible only to staff and IT magazines. Novell was also slow to adapt its pricing model, and NetWare seemed therefore more expensive. Companies often were more influenced by the initial costs of licenses, and the costs of long-term management, and NetWare was often not able to compete from that point of view.
In addition, Windows NT seemed to be more scalable. For small workgroups, a network could be installed without having to use a dedicated machine as a server, which made it more attractive than Windows NetWare. Microsoft continually stated that such a system could climb without major changes in the operating system and with little additional training, but in practice the structure of NT Domains grew heavy and complex to manage large-scale deployments, compared to Novell Directory Services (NDS ). To counter this problem, Microsoft later developed its own directory service called Active Directory. Its wide applicability, combined with a lower entry barrier in terms of training, was something that NetWare was hard to compete.