Novell NetWare users keep the faith

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Old loyalties die hard. Despite owning a sagging share of the government market we
surveyed, Novell Inc.’s NetWare network operating systems still captured the hearts
of feds GCN surveyed.


“I’ve worked with NetWare since early 1992, and I’m just really familiar
with it,” said Charles Pickles, an Army information management officer and a LAN
administrator at Fort Carson, Colo. “It’s a good, stable, reliable platform, and
once you become familiar with it, you know just about instinctively where the problems
are.”


Although Microsoft Windows NT Server copped 52 percent of the federal market GCN
canvassed, a smaller group of NetWare users—16 percent of those responding—felt
more strongly about the attributes of NetWare operating systems.


As a result, Novell’s latest version, NetWare 5, took the top spot in the GCN
survey, followed closely by NetWare 4.x versions.


Windows NT Server Enterprise Edition 4.0 grabbed third place, while NT Server 4.0 and
SunSoft Solaris, which each have a 4 percent share of the market surveyed, tied for the
fourth slot.


Pickles, whose 20-user LAN runs NetWare 4.11, will be joining the Windows NT club
before the end of the year.


At a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention office in Fort Collins, Colo., where a
120-user network runs NetWare 4.11, LAN administrator Brad Chesmore is looking forward to
upgrading to NetWare 5 by early 2000.


“[NetWare] 4.11 doesn’t really do a whole lot of desktop management
stuff,” he said. “There is a lot of stuff that comes with NetWare 5, like the
ZENworks package,” a directory-services tool that provides enhanced management
capabilities.


Chesmore also is a NetWare diehard. He worked with an NT network on a previous job but
now swears by Novell systems.


Novell is just a lot better, especially with Novell Directory Services, he said.
“That’s the big kicker right there. NDS makes management easier.”


NT Server Enterprise Edition 4.0 also has fans who like its management features.


“It’s just basically quite simple,” said Brian Mincy, chief of
information resources management at the Veterans Affairs Department in New York, whose
office supports a 300-user LAN. “There’s nothing very complex about it.”


Jack Kaufman, an automated data processing facility manager for the Coast Guard in
Seattle whose unit provides network services to about 2,500 users, found Enterprise
Edition 4.0 an improvement over earlier NT Server versions.


“It’s much easier to do the maintenance on it,” he said. “There
also are more third-party products available for it.”


Users of NT Server 4.0 were lukewarm about its management capabilities.


At Fort Polk, La., Gayle Liliedahl, who oversees maintenance of a 30-user intranet,
wished for easier network and user management.


“There are things networking in NT that you have to have a pretty good road map to
know how to get at,” he said.


He also was somewhat doubtful about the system’s stability.


“When we upgraded from [NT Server] 3.51, we didn’t notice any real
differences as far as speed or processing ability,” Liliedahl said. “I have
noticed we’ve had some propensity for unexpected shutdowns, but I cannot necessarily
attribute that to 4.0.”


SunSoft Solaris users gave the system solid ratings, though one called for improved
security features.

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