Novell is set to release a version of its directory services product that interoperates with Citrix Systems' thin-client networking software.
Combining Novell Directory Services (NDS) and Novell's Z.E.N.works desktop management tool with Citrix's WinFrame thin-client server software will allow companies to more easily access and manage Windows applications across a network, Novell says.
The WinFrame announcement was made by Novell at the Thinergy '98 conference currently taking place in Orlando, Florida, which is hosted by Citrix.
Novell's decision to bring its directory technology across from PCs to thin clients may represent a shot in the arm for the thin-client movement which appears to have stalled somewhat of late, industry observers said.
With its promises of easy administration and low maintenance costs, the concept of thin-client computing initially appeared to present a genuine threat to the desktop PC market, the observers said. However, the technology so far has failed to meet the lofty expectations of its early proponents.
Citrix's WinFrame is designed to allow users to access Windows applications hosted on a server using a variety of client devices, including network computers (NCs), so-called "dumb terminals," and desktop PCs.
NDS, meanwhile, allows IT managers to customize the look and feel of a user's client interface and control which applications they can access based on a "digital persona" compiled in the directory services software, Novell said. Z.E.N.works is also compatible with Microsoft Corp.'s Windows NT Server 4.0, Terminal Server Edition, the vendor added.
Users with NT Server 4.0, Terminal Server Edition, and Citrix's MetaFrame thin client/server software will be able to download the necessary updated Novell client for NT (version 4.5) free of charge from Novell's Web site by the end of September, Novell said. That client will also ship with NetWare 5 by Sept. 20, and later in Z.E.N.works 1.1, the company added.
Customers with WinFrame will then be able to download Novell's updated client for NT, as well as the necessary prerequisite software from Citrix, in the same time frame, Novell said.
In related NDS news, Novell has also announced the availability of a beta version of the latest release of its directory services software for Windows NT. The commercial release, NDS for NT 2.0, is expected to ship before the end of the year, Novell said.
Novell said NDS for NT 2.0 will allow businesses to extend the directory technology beyond an office environment to help geographically dispersed companies manage branch office networks more efficiently.
The beta software can be downloaded immediately for free from Novell's Web site at http://www.support.novell.com/beta/public/. The product is expected to ship in the fourth quarter of this year, when pricing will also be announced.