Novell's OS upgrade to ease NetWare 5 move

Novell this week announced the release of NetWare 4.2, which will provide NetWare 4 users a stepping-stone upgrade path to the vendor's recently released flagship NetWare 5.

NetWare 4.2 will replace both Novell intraNetWare and NetWare 4.11. Novell will discontinue both of these products, officials said.

The seemingly unusual step of releasing an OS version that steps back from the most recent release makes sense for many customers, said Sean Sanders, product marketing manager for NetWare 4.2.

"This decision has been clear to us. Many customers have good business reasons for continuing with NetWare as they prepare to upgrade to NetWare 5 at their own pace," Sanders said.

These customers, Sanders added, might include those gradually upgrading to NetWare 5; those "who will only purchase and install an operating system with an established market presence", and those who have an installed base of applications developed for NetWare 4.

Novell said the product will be compatible with NetWare 5, and includes the IP and IPX protocols and the most current version of Novell Directory Services. It also includes the same IP and client software as NetWare 5 so NetWare 4.2 desktops can access NetWare 5 servers. A three-user demonstration copy of NetWare 5 is being included with NetWare 4.2 to aid customers in preparing for NetWare 5 upgrades.

Other features include a five-user version of Oracle8, set-up wizards to ease installation of the product, euro currency support, full year-2000 readiness, and Novell's ZENworks StarterPack of tools allowing for centralised administration of desktops and applications based on the Windows platform.