Novell has actually been a player in the computing industry since 1979. Originally Novell Data Systems, the company became known as Novell, Inc. in 1983. This was also the year that Novell released the first version of NetWare.
Although the first version of NetWare only ran on a Novell proprietary PC using a Motorola 68000 processor, Novell quickly saw the advantage of supplying a multiplatform NOS. In 1989, Novell marketed a version of its NetWare NOS that actually provided for the sharing of data and printers among IBM/compatibles, Apple Macintoshes, and Unix-based computers.
NetWare provides an excellent example of a client/server networking environment. Clients must be configured with NetWare client software to communicate with the NetWare server.
Novell NetWare has gone through a number of different versions. In version 3.0, released in 1989, support was added for 386 processors, allowing NetWare to run in 32-bit mode. One of the most important updates of NetWare was version 4.0, released in 1993, which provided the first version of the Novell Directory Services (NDS), a hierarchical database used to manage network objects, such as users and network resources (NDS preceded Microsoft's Active Directory by seven years ).
NetWare has continued to evolve as a NOS platform. The NetWare 5 versions have given way to NetWare 6. NetWare 6 (and the upcoming 6.5) provides a number of enhancements. Features such as iFolder and iPrint have been added to NetWare's capabilities to make it easy for users to access NetWare services such as shared folders and printers via the Internet. NetWare 6 also has made some enhancements to the Novell Directory Services structure of NetWare networks. NDS is now called eDirectory. We will discuss the new NetWare eDirectory in more detail in the next section of this chapter.
NetWare provides a complete networking environment. It includes services such as DHCP and DNS and also provides you with Web server capabilities using the Apache2 Web server. Any service that you can deploy in Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Unix, or Linux, can also be deployed in the NetWare environment (such as FTP, remote access, and so on). We will discuss NetWare DHCP and DNS later in the chapter.