Setting up a new novell network

a few weeks ago I set about a Windows 2003 server, this was difficult and fun and now operates in the office in town.  Now I need to consider novell.  First of all:

Why use them other than the cost element?


Where do I start?
Where do i get novell from and what version?
How much will it cost?
What server spec is needed in comparison to a windows based network?

File sharing, print sharing, users, security, levels of access...

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PsiCopConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Note that this Question is perhaps best asked in the NetWare TA ( And a pet peeve, "Novell" is a company. "NetWare" is a product. You say "NetWare network", just like you say "Windoze network" instead of "M$ network". All that said, let's see what we can do.

Redmond's drones will try to tell you that Novell is going away or NetWare is dead or just about anything to try to keep you from finding out accurate info about non-M$ products. Its FUD. A hint: Micro$oft LIES. More than most companies. They lie about their products and how much they cost. They especially lie about their competitor's products. They pay people to lie for them (whether its paid flacks in Internet chat rooms or newsgroups/forums talking up their products, or outright lies in their paid advertising, such as "Server Crunch").

The reasons to use NetWare, or indeed many of Novell's products, are many, but can be boiled down to: reliability, manageability, and security. When compared specifically against NetWare, Redmond's server products aren't terribly reliable, their manageability rapidly goes down as the network size goes up, and, well, when a 16-year-old twerp in Germany can bring Windoze boxes, servers and clients alike, to their knees worldwide, what does that tell you about the lack of security? And the argument that Windoze is most-hacked because its most widely installed is specious. If that were true, Apache would be the most-hacked webserver, since (according to NetCraft) it runs twice as many sites as IIS. Guess which one is most hacked?

Why use Novell's products? Because Novell excels at offering "best of breed" solutions. Want to run Solaris and use eDirectory? No problem, eDirectory runs on Soalris natively, and NetWare is not needed. Try that with AD. Redmond's goal is to lock you into their platform and licensing terms and then make it too expensive to change - think of them as crack dealers in golf shirts and suits. Many of Novell's products are available on different platforms (GroupWise, for instance, runs on about 3 or 4 different platforms, including Solaris, Linux, NetWare and Windoze). Aside from Office for Mac and IE for *NIX, how many multi-platform products do you get from Redmond? The reason that number is so low is that Redmond's main goal is to get you locked into their products. Once you're therre, well, they own your butt. Innovation? Do you see tabbed browsing in IE? Why should they bother?

Want to manage AD from eDirectory? You can do it with Identity Manager. You can create a user in eDirectory, and they will also be created in W2K3/AD, complete with filesystem permissions, group memberships, and password already set. Try to manage another environment from inside AD like that - good luck.

You can start learning about Novell's products at Novell's website -->

An A-Z product listing is at -->

Specific links include:

NetWare -->

ZENworks -->

eDirectory -->

GroupWise -->

Identity Manager -->

You can purchase Novell products from almost any VAR or reseller. If you're having trouble locating one near you, call 1-800-NETWARE (in the USA) and ask to be directed to one. Without knowing more about where you are, its hard to be more specific.

The latest version of NetWare is v6.5. It ships with Apache v2.0, Perl v5.8, PHP, MySQL, Tomcat v4 and similar tools, ready to go. ZENworks is also at v6.5 and includes support for handhelds/PDAs and servers. eDirectory ships as a part of NetWare, or is available separately for installation on other platforms. Its most current version is v8.7.3

Costs do depend on licensing agreements. GEM pricing is different from Volume licensing (VLA) is different from just picking it up "on the street". The links above include links to pricing tables.

Hardware-wise, NetWare is considerably more efficient than Windoze. Gartner Group's Westcorp Financial case study is one of many truly independent studies that have shown that Windoze consistently needs twice the hardware investment of a comparable NetWare-based network - think about that: twice the initial capital outlay, twice the opportunity cost, twice the maintenance contracts, and more people to manage it. Adds up, doesn't it?

Even with NetWare v6.5, the 512 MB memory requirement was a sop to hardware vendors - they weren't happy with NetWare's low hardware requirements and were not going to support it unless Novell upped the requirements. The 512 MB minimum is really only for installation. You can comfortably run on less, depending on what you're doing. So grab an old 500 MHz PIII with 512 MB and a few GB of disk and give it a spin.

File security in the NetWare environment is far more granular than you find in Windoze. For example, in Windoze, if you have \\SERVER\STUFF and everyone has Read access in there, you can't prevent users from seeing a subdir of STUFF, even if they have no permissions in that subdir. In NetWare, you can grant a user a limited ability to grant other users rights to a directory without having to give them total control; in Windoze, you'd have to give them Full Control, meaning they can do all sortsa things you might not want them doing. There's basically no comparison - Windoze file permissions are a crude subset of those in NetWare.

Printer sharing is also move versatile in the NetWare environment. You have your choice of Novell Distributed Print Services (NDPS), iPrint, and IPP. Whatever suits your environment best.

Securitywise (including reliability and surviveability), eDirectory beats AD any day of the week, and twice on Sunday. AD lacks time synchronization and is not a true multi-master replication scheme. This means that changes made on one DC can potentially overwrite changes made on another - gee, that's nice and reliable. eDirectory is a actual, ground-up Directory Service with a real, 3-dimensional (heirarchical) database. AD is basically the same old tired NT 4 Domains, with transitive trust and extensibility - its still a flat namespace, a 3-D view of a 2-D database. eDirectory has partitioning, replicates object changes/deltas instead of the entire object, and has been tested out to literally a billion objects (before they gave up; they didn't break it). AD lacks all those things and can't even handle more than 5000 users in a Group. In eDirectory, many object types can be security principals - users, groups, OUs, Os, application object, org roles, profile...the list goes on. In AD, all you have is users and groups - no flexibility, no way to make the directory tree work for you.

I could go on and on. NetWare services are being ported to SUSE Linux - in NetWare 7 (aka Open Enterprise Server), you'll have a CHOICE of a NetWare kernel or a Linux kernel. Redmond doesn't want you to have choices. Novell works hard to give them to you. By the time M$ manages to release Longhorn (how lame to compare their delays to OS/360, a 1960s OS), you should see practically the entire Novell application portfolio available on EITHER platform.

If you want a mono-culture and don't mind using second- or third-rate server software and management tools (try using SMS to install software on anything other than C:, or remove one package and install another in one step, or do unattended OS installs, or application healing, or...) made by a company that, being a monopoly, has no incentive to improve anything but has shown its more than willing to jack up its licensing costs, Windoze is your platform and Redmond is your Nirvahna.

If you're looking for an environment that will let you integrate and manage many different thing and create best-of-breed solutions that, more than anything else, meet your business needs, then take a look at Novell's products, starting with NetWare, ZENworks, eDirectory and Identity Manager.

And no, I don't work for Novell, or even a VAR. I just hate to see liars get away with it.
An update. I was wrong when I said that Netcraft's survey indicated that Apache runs twice as many websites as Redmond's dubious warez.

Its THREE times as many (67% vs 21% of all sites surveyed).
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