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Many companies are responsible for bringing PC networking to the masses, but none more so perhaps than Utah-based Novell, Inc. Its flagship network operating system, Novell NetWare, has been one of the best selling network operating systems of all time and continues to win over new users with its blend of speed, resilience, flexibility, and manageability.

Novell NetWare has for many years been regarded as the ultimate file and print server platform. Its speed, reliability, versatility, and support indicates that it is being used in a variety of situations, especially those where large amounts of network objects, such as users and groups, need to be managed.

Novell has traditionally been very strong in the government arena as well as other areas of public service. This is due in part to the fact that these were the first organizations to implement large scale networks many years ago at a time when the range of network operating systems capable of providing such services was limited.



Novell's continuing success can be attributed to a number of reasons. Many companies like the professional approach that Novell takes to its products, coupled with the fact that an extensive dealer and support network provides help and assistance when needed.

Why Use Novell NetWare?

There are a variety of reasons businesses use Novell's networking products. Many have been using these products for years and have upgraded as new versions have become available. Others have recently adopted these products, wanting to take advantage of their superb management capabilities and their reputation for reliability. A few reasons that a company or organization may choose to use Novell NetWare are discussed in the following sections.

Manageability

The key to understanding and managing a Novell network is to understand the "glue" that binds Novell networks together.The "glue" is Novell Directory Services (NDS). In line with Novell's vision of being an Internet services company, NDS was renamed NDS eDirectory for NetWare 5.1. NDS eDirectory is a database that holds information about practically every object on the network including users, printers, file servers, and many more.The NDS eDirectory database can be held, in whole or in part, on other servers around the network, allowing strategies for the improvement of speed and resilience to be implemented. It was version 4 of the NetWare operating system that first introduced this functionality. NDS eDirectory, though optimized to run on a NetWare system, can also run on other systems including Linux and Windows NT/2000.

NDS eDirectory's capability to hold and quickly retrieve information on vast numbers of objects has made it a popular choice in large corporate environments, where such a system can be fully utilized. Although NDS eDirectory is a reasonably complex system under the surface, Novell supplies administrators with all of the tools necessary to manage, troubleshoot, and control the NDS structure.

Cross Platform Support

An important part of Novell's strategy is that of providing cross platform support for networks. To this end, Novell has developed NDS into a product that can be deployed on other systems. Although Novell NetWare is deployed and used in a variety of situations, Novell acknowledges the fact that organizations will often choose to run more than one operating system. With a number of disparate systems, the management of users and objects becomes all the more complex and involved. NDS eDirectory effectively allows network administrators to bring the management of all their systems under one product.

Scalability

NDS eDirectory's capability to cope with literally millions of objects combined with being able to distribute the workload while fostering reliability and fault tolerance through replication, makes it the ideal choice for companies with large corporate networks that span countries or even continents. Equally, these features lend a degree of assurance to smaller users, who can rest safe in the knowledge that they are operating well within its limits on a network with just a few servers.

Performance

Although there are numerous tests pitting one operating system against the other, whatever the outcome, Novell NetWare is still regarded by many as the ultimate file and print server platform. When you combine these strengths with the flexibility and manageability of NDS eDirectory, you establish a strong case for businesses to use Novell NetWare.

Job Demand

Novell's maturity in the field suggests that the shortage for suitably qualified personnel in this area is perhaps not as acute as in other areas of networking. That said, there continues to be an abundance of (unfilled) positions available in the job market for those with Novell skills. As with any other field, hands-on experience is the most important asset you can have, a fact you should consider when starting your career search.

It is almost impossible to define what industry areas or company sizes are most suited to those seeking a NetWare related role because the product is used so widely and in such a diverse range of organizations.

Training Options and Resources

Novell has always been a pioneer in technical training. Its list of firsts includes being the first to introduce computer-based testing for certification programs and being the first to use simulations of real utilities in those exams. Novell has one of the most comprehensive technical training structures in the industry, but there are hundreds of other opportunities for people who want to learn about Novell products in practically every form imaginable.
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