Novell Beefs Up NetWare 5, Kills Novonyx Name

Novell Inc. has added to the list of functions that will come with the impending upgrade to its NetWare operating system and promised a new version of the product for the small business market. In addition, the company has taken managerial control of its joint venture with Netscape Communications Corp., Novonyx Inc.

Novell Inc. has added to the list of functions that will come with the impending upgrade to its NetWare operating system, code-named Moab, and promised a new version of the product for the small business market.

In addition, Novell has taken managerial control of its joint venture with Netscape Communications Corp., Novonyx Inc., which will continue to be jointly funded. Novonyx will not attempt to market products under its name, but under the Novell and Netscape brands instead, Novell officials said.

Novell has also set up a new investment fund that will provide financing to software developers focused on applications based on Java, NetWare and the Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA), officials said.

NetWare 5, due out by midyear and available in its second beta release this week, allows NetWare users to run both Novell's traditional IPX protocol and the Internet Protocol (IP) on the same network. Calls made from a new NetWare 5 server into a NetWare 4.x network will be encapsulated and tunneled, allowing IPX-based NetWare services to reach into IP networks and vice versa, said Coleman Barney, director of marketing for platform services group, at Novell at a press briefing here today.

Novell has integrated the Domain Host Configuration Protocol and Domain Name Servers with the Novell Directory Services (NDS), providing NDS functions to IP address management utilities. Also new in NetWare 5 are backup utilities that are tightly integrated with NDS; support for the Service Location Protocol, for discovery and access to network resources; and Novell Distributed Print Services, providing for bi-directional communications between printers and servers.

Bundled with NetWare 5 will be Netscape's Fast Track Web server, which allows users to establish intranets and a presence on the Web, Barney said. Apparently FastTrack likes NetWare, Novell and Netscape officials said, meaning that it outperforms all other Intel-based FastTrack servers (including those for Windows NT, Linux Unix or SCO Unix for NT).

Version 5 also features a multiprocessor kernel, capable of supporting up to 32 processors and offering memory protection, virtual memory support and debugging functions as well as scheduling features for prioritizing applications running on a particular server.

Novell has integrated Sun's Java Virtual Machine close to the NetWare kernel, in an effort to make Java services the fastest service available within the network operating system, Barney said.

Novell will focus more energy on integration of Java, promoting NetWare as an "excellent" application development platform for Java-based applications, officials said.

In fact Novell has set up a US$50 million venture fund, headed by ex-Novonyx CEO Rob Hicks, who in his new position as vice president of strategic investments, will seek software developers who are focused on NetWare, CORBA and Java development.

Novell will use the money it has set aside to acquire minority stakes in companies which have proven technology and need first- and second-round funding for product development, Hicks said. He added that Novell will not provide "angel" funding to get startup companies off the ground. Hicks declined to provide any other details.

The Novonyx venture, until recently headed by Hicks, has been integrated into Novell's strategic and business development organization, headed by Novell Senior Vice President Chris Stone. The Novonyx name will not show up in products since both companies are better off using their established brand name to sell its wares, said John Slitz Novell's senior vice president of marketing.

The integration of Novonyx into Novell makes sense and allows Netscape to better take advantage of Novell's marketing and sales forces, said John Paul, general manager of Netscape's server division.

"We are pleased with this arrangement," Paul said. He added that it will be less confusing for customers, who will be able to buy the joint venture's products from either company and receive support and services from the same channel partner.

The integration of Novonyx into Novell has nothing to do with Netscape's current financial difficulties, Paul said.

Novonyx, which was formed seven months ago to port Netscape's SuiteSpot software to NetWare, earlier this month shipped its first products, Netscape Enterprise Server for NetWare and FastTrack Server for NetWare. Netscape is pleased with the speed at which the two companies were able to port products to NetWare and is looking for ways to expand its relationship with Novell, Paul said, adding that nothing specific is planned at this time.

Due out in March is the first upgrade to a version of NetWare aimed at small businesses and supporting up to 25 users. The upgrade to NetWare for Small Business 4.11 will include Novell's GroupWise workgroup application for messaging, document sharing and calendering. Also bundled now are backup servers, as well as fax and virus protection software. The small business server also includes Netscape's Communicator Web browser.

If Novell finishes its development work in time for the product's release in March, the company will also include Netscape's FastTrack Web server with NetWare for Small Business, Barney said. NetWare for Small Business 4.11 will enter beta testing Feb. 9.

Pricing for the small-business application is US$995 for a five-user license.

NetWare 5 beta 2 will be available for download as of Jan. 30, via Novell's Web site at http://www.novell.com/netware5.

Novell, in Provo, Utah, can be reached at +1-801-222-6000, or at http://www.novell.com/.

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