Novell will release native TCP/IP support for NetWare next year, but developers may see a preview of that release late this year. Users say that native TCP/IP will greatly help users deploying applications based on Internet protocols. But Novell will have a tough time supporting native TCP/IP in its existing NetWare products, which are built around the IPX/SPX network packet protocol, says one analyst.
"NDS (Novell Directory Services) and third-party software are tied to IPX," says David Strom, an InfoWorld contributing editor and president of David Strom, a consultancy in Port Washington, New York. "All of that infrastructure has to be rethought and redrawn for the world of IP."
Novell's current IP software, NetWare/IP, requires IPX headers for supporting some NetWare applications in a network. NDS, for example, is still tied closely to IPX. The headers will remain in next quarter's Green River release of NetWare, although the IP install will be more tightly integrated with the OS.
A 1997 NetWare implementation, code-named Moab, eliminates these headers, improving networking performance, according to Novell. Novell will release a developers' release prior to Moab and plans to support a future version of IP, known as IP, Version 6, which is expected to combine IP and IPX.
NetWare/IP, which is supported in the current version of NetWare, has not satisfied some users. "It just puts too much overhead on our servers," says Novell user Nef Martinez, a project manager at a Salt Lake City financial company who looked at an early implementation of NetWare/IP. Native IP will be more efficient, Martinez says.
Eliminating IPX headers will enable users to support a single network protocol, another user says. "There's nothing wrong with IPX headers per se, it's just another protocol to deal with," says David Rankin, a manager of data communications at the University of North Carolina, in Chapel Hill.
Novell also has released Client32 for DOS/Windows, a free 32-bit NetWare network client for 16-bit DOS and Windows The client is downloadable off the CompuServe NetWire forum and the World Wide Web at http://netwire.novell.com/home/client/client32/.