Moving NetWare Services to Linux
For the longest time, customers, partners and many Novell-ians have ubiquitously viewed NetWare as a monolithic Network Operating System – and for earlier versions of NetWare, they were all right. But, there is a fundamental difference between NetWare and NetWare Services.
Virtually all individuals and companies that value NetWare, value NetWare Services. Yes, the NetWare Kernel was and is an immensely powerful, efficient and stable platform to run these services on, but that’s just it, the NetWare Kernel is just a platform. The key is that to meet our own expectations, we could never be as comfortable putting those services on someone else’s platform (could you imagine depending on a Windows Server to provide the same level of performance as NetWare?). Now before everyone piles on and tells me that we did have NetWare on Windows and NetWare on IBM, let’s just deal with that now – is anyone running those today? … Exactly! And that makes my point. Until a suitable replacement “kernel” was available, Novell recognized the need to stay put.
Up until NetWare 3, NetWare was essentially a single image NOS and required the OS to be “compiled” to include all the services (what few there were) the customer wanted to deploy. NetWare 3 started the trend towards a loosely coupled set of services but was still tightly integrated into the NetWare Kernel. You might say it was still a single image NOS. Starting with NetWare 6.5, the Services began to be separated from the kernel although they were still highly dependent on the kernel. Here is were I begin to distinguish the difference between NetWare Services and the NetWare Kernel. This diagram is useful to more full depict the evolution that has taken place.
Enter Linux …
Based on the growing popularity and proven stability of this new, open source platform called Linux, the choice was made to introduce Linux to the armory of tools Novell used to deliver solutions to our customers challenges. Our very first, and some might say failed, offer of NetWare Services on Linux was something called Novell Nterprise Linux Services. It succeeded in demonstrating that traditional NetWare services could be ported to the Linux platform, and helped us articulate a future road map for NetWare Services. Of course, along the way, we made a small acquisition, SUSE, which brings us to the new platform for NetWare Services, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.
We’ve now spent several years rebuilding, reworking, and repackaging these NetWare Services until we’ve nearly achieved the goal of 100% parity of our heritage NetWare Services on a Linux platform. Of the Services still lagging, like Audit and FTP, we will continue to work to add them to upcoming releases. Now you might ask, what about BorderManager? BorderManager was never a NetWare Service although it was often seen as a one. It was and is not. Now BorderManager is a powerful edge service, but there are no plans to move that application to Linux. Although this is of immense interest to many customers, I’ll defer discussion of that subject to a future post.
Now, back to the point of this post. Novell Open Enterprise Server has virtually every service found on NetWare but gives our customers the added flexibility to run thousands of third party applications alongside the NetWare Services that just wasn’t possible before. Add full 64-bit support, enhanced hardware support from vendors like Hewlett-Packard, Dell and IBM, and our customers have a platform for the future, with the comfort of knowing it still provides those same NetWare Services that they have come to depend on.
Now is the time to Move-IT, and do it with confidence.
Upgrading to OES – Planning and Implementation Guide