At a glitzy event for CIOs here this week, Novell boasted that it shipped its NetWare 5.0 network operating system last week, 10 days earlier than expected.
The directory is the future for Novell and its customers, said Eric Schmidt, Novell chief executive officer and chairman. A directory stores information about all the users, computers and other devices attached to the network; the company's NDS (Novell Directory Services) provide the tools through which the administrator manages all the users and devices attached to the network.
"Of all the things about networks, the single most important thing to get right is the identity" of users, he said in a keynote that preceded a demonstration of some of NetWare 5.0's features such as year 2000-compliance checking, remote access via a browser and automated desktop reconfiguration.
During a question-and-answer session, Schmidt grappled with the question on many attendees' minds -- what about Windows NT Server 5.0 and its Active Directory?
"I prefer to talk about shipping products," Schmidt said, referring to the delay of the NT 5.0 release which is now scheduled for sometime next year. NetWare will co-exist and interoperate with NT, he said. In the meantime, "our strategy is to use the directory now to gain momentum," Schmidt added.
Schmidt refused to discuss details of future product plans, but did say that within the next six to nine months the company will come out with a series of products and tools that will "take advantage" of the directory.
A migration wizard, enhancements to NLMs (NetWare Loadable Modules) and an upgrade promotion will make NetWare 5 particularly attractive to current NetWare 3 and NetWare 4 users, according to Jean Bozman, an IDC software analyst.