Novell enlists allies in fight for survival

Novell is set to reveal a wide-ranging alliance with Oracle and formally announce its Wolf Mountain clustering APIs at this week's BrainShare conference in Salt Lake City.

Novell is set to reveal a wide-ranging alliance with Oracle and formally announce its Wolf Mountain clustering APIs at this week's BrainShare conference in Salt Lake City.

The news follows last week's announcement that Netscape and Novell are forming a new company to develop versions of Netscape's SuiteSpot offering that are integrated with Novell Directory Services (NDS) running on IntranetWare.

As part of its alliance with Oracle, Novell will announce that NDS has been integrated with Oracle's Web Application Server 3.0 to provide an integrated application development and deployment platform for Oracle's Network Computing Architecture. The integration will allow information on the Web server to be manipulated and managed via NDS, with support for Java, ActiveX, CORBA, and Distributed Component Object Model.

Novell will also announce NDS has been integrated with Oracle's databases running on HP-UX, Windows NT Server, Sun Solaris, and SCO Unix. Novell is already committed to providing versions of NDS for these OSes. This would allow administrators to use the single-log-on feature currently available only for Oracle databases running on IntranetWare.

Novell will also announces plans to license Visigenic Software's object request broker technology.

Richard Finkelstein, president of Performance Computing, a Chicago consultancy, says that such a deal will be "a way for Oracle to leverage NDS and for Novell to rejuvenate NDS technology that is at the moment languishing in the LAN."

Novell will also demonstrate its previously outlined Wolf Mountain clustering technology, which will bring fail resilience to file and print services. Novell is promising that the hardware and software package will enable fail-over clusters on Intel-based servers using Scalable Coherent Interface, Tandem ServerNet, and Gigabit Ethernet interconnects. Sources say the technology is not expected to ship in products before 1998.

The new company to be formed by Novell and Netscape will bring SuiteSpot to IntranetWare. Called Novonyx, the jointly funded company will be based in Utah. It will employ 60 to 80 engineers, says Netscape president Jim Barksdale.

Initially, Netscape is contributing a source-code licence for SuiteSpot and its FastTrack Server software, although the remaining elements of SuiteSpot will also be integrated with IntranetWare. The first products are expected this fourth quarter.

Barksdale characterises the advantages for Netscape very simply. "We will make more money," he says, because the deal will give the company access to Novell's 60 million users.

Neil MacDonald, an analyst at the GartnerGroup, in Stamford, Connecticut, says that "certainly the positives here come out on Netscape's side." However, he also draws attention to the fact that SuiteSpot on IntranetWare will "go head to head with Novell GroupWise", potentially causing conflicts of interest between the different products.

"The bottom line is that we have got where we are through being open," says a Novell representative.

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