In this lesson, we take a look at Novell's network operating systems, in particular NetWare, one of the most popular NOSs. Novell also offers client software that is designed to run on top of other computer operating systems.
After this lesson, you will be able to:
- Identify a NetWare operating system.
- Describe some of the features of NetWare.
Estimated lesson time: 20 minutes
The NetWare NOS consists of server and client applications. The client application is designed to run on a variety of client operating systems. The server application can be accessed by client users from computers running MS-DOS, Microsoft Windows (versions 3.x, 95, and 98, and Windows NT), OS/2, AppleTalk, or UNIX. NetWare is often the NOS of choice in mixed operating-system environments. In small networks, however, NetWare can be expensive and complicated for an inexperienced network technician to install and administer.
Version 3.2 of NetWare is a 32-bit NOS that supports Windows (versions 3.x, 95, and 98 and Windows NT), UNIX, Mac OS, and MS-DOS environments. With NetWare version 4.11, also called IntranetWare, Novell introduced its new NOS, Novell Directory Services (NDS). Version 5, the latest version to be released, addresses the integration of LANs, WANs, network applications, intranets, and the Internet, into a single global network.
Novell Directory Services (NDS) provides name services as well as security, routing, messaging, management, Web publishing, and file and print services. Using X.500 directory architecture, it organizes all network resources, including users, groups, printers, servers, and volumes. NDS also provides a single-point logon for the user; with it, a user can log on to any server on the network and have access to all their usual user rights and privileges.
Other NOSs provide client software for interoperability with NetWare servers. For example, Windows NT provides Gateway Services for NetWare (GSNW). With this service, a Windows NT server can obtain access to NetWare file and print services.
With NetWare Client installed, any client workstation can take full advantage of the resources provided by a NetWare Server. The following is a summary of some of the more important services provided.
NetWare file services are part of the NDS database. NDS provides a single-point logon for users and allows users and administrators alike to view network resources in the same way. Depending on the client software installed, you can view the entire network in a format that is native to your workstation operating system. For example, a Microsoft Windows client can map a logical drive to any NetWare file server volume or directory, and the NetWare resources will appear as logical drives on their computer. These logical drives function just like any other drive in their computer.
NetWare provides extensive security, including:
Printing services are transparent (invisible) to the user of a client computer. Any print request from a client is redirected to the file server, where it is handed off to the print server and finally to the printer. (The same computer can serve as both file server and printer server.) You can share printer devices that are attached to the server, to a workstation, or directly to the network by means of the devices' own network interface card (NIC). NetWare print services can support up to 256 printers.
By using some simple commands, users can send a short message to other users on the network. Messages can be sent to groups as well as to individuals. If all the intended recipients are in the same group, address the message to the group rather than to each individual. Users can also disable or enable this command for their workstations. When a user disables the command, no broadcast messages will be received by that workstation.
Messages can also be handled through the Message Handling Service (MHS). MHS can be installed on any server and configured for a fully interconnected message infrastructure for e-mail distribution. MHS supports most popular e-mail programs.
Full NOS interoperability is not always possible. This is especially true when two dissimilar networks, such as NetWare and Windows NT, are being connected. A NetWare environment, centered on its directory services, and Windows NT, operating on a domain model, are inherently incompatible. To overcome this problem, Windows NT developed NWLink and GSNW, discussed earlier, that allow them to interoperate. These services allow a server on the Windows NT network to act as a gateway to the NetWare network. Any workstations on the Windows NT network can request resources or services available on the NetWare network, but they must make the request through the Windows NT server. The server will then act as a client on the NetWare network, passing requests between the two networks.
The following points summarize the main elements of the lesson: