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Netscape Enterprise Server for NetWare -- Netscape server ported to NetWare

By ServerWatch Staff (Send Email)
Posted Jun 25, 2002


Often overlooked in the network operating system world is Novell NetWare. That's too bad, because there are a lot of Novell networks in the world that would serve as a perfect base for an intranet. If you are looking for a robust Web server that runs on a Novell platform -- for either an intranet or extranet application -- your first choice should be Netscape Enterprise Server for NetWare.

Running on NetWare 4.11 or intraNetWare, Netscape Enterprise Server for NetWare is a product of Novonyx, itself a joint venture between Netscape Communications and Novell to bring Netscape technology to the NetWare market. The server is a port of Netscape Enterprise Server 3.0 -- not the most recent version of Netscape Enterprise Server (now at v3.5.1) -- that adds several advanced capabilities not found in the regular release. Most notably, the NetWare release of Enterprise offers full integration with both NetWare Directory Services (NDS) and Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP). Often overlooked in the network operating system world is Novell NetWare. That's too bad, because there are a lot of Novell networks in the world that would serve as a perfect base for an intranet.

Since NDS is one of the most robust messaging services available, it's already an established standard in the enterprise arena for managing permissions for users and groups. To set up your list of users you'll need a Web browser that supports Java (such as Netscape Navigator or Internet Explorer), since the installation process is a JavaScript application. Similarly, other administrative chores can be performed using a Web browser.

Installing Netscape Enterprise Server for NetWare is an easy task, even for those who don't have a lot of experience with Novell NetWare conventions. The server is a series of NetWare Loadable Modules (NLMs) running directly on the server. These NLMs are installed directly on the server without any manual intervention via the console. And Netscape Enterprise Server for NetWare will make sure that it has the tools to run properly, including long filename support and TCP/IP -- even installing them for you should your NetWare installation be lacking.

At that time you'll also implement your security model. Netscape Enterprise Server supports SSL and has an extensive list of permissions to apply to users, including writing, executing, listing and deleting tasks. The server gives you the option of creating your own private certificates for intranet use (a process similar to that found in Stronghold), or you can create key pairs for use with outside certificate authorities. Users can also control access to their documents using Access Control Lists (ACLs), which define who has read, write, search, execute, or delete permissions.

These are not the only useful user tools. Netscape Enterprise Server for NetWare uses Web Publisher, a Java-based applet, for giving content-management capabilities to users. Authorized users (up to 50 are allowed with a standard Netscape Enterprise Server for NetWare license) can publish to Netscape Enterprise Server via their desktops using Web Publisher, without needing to know about data structures or directory structures. Usually, giving users this level of access will raise all sorts of version nightmares, but Netscape Enterprise Server implements revision control for documents. Users check out documents and proceed to edit them while other users are prevented from accessing the documents. Additionally, users can apply permissions to these documents as well as have the server automatically validate and update links within the documents.

System administrators will also find a host of useful features. If you've ever administered a Netscape Web server, you'll have no problems maneuvering through the Web-based administration screens. Alternatively, you can log in through a NetWare Rconsole and administer the server. A Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) agent allows your Netscape Enterprise Server to be administered with other advanced tools, including ManageWise, Hewlett-Packard OpenView, Tivoli, Computer Associates Unicenter and Sun Solstice.

However, there are a few disadvantages to Netscape Enterprise Server for NetWare. The biggest -- and one that should be addressed in future versions of Netscape Enterprise Server, according to Novonyx officials -- is the lack of a Java Virtual Machine (JVM), which means that it cannot run server-side Java applications. The server's really not an all-in-one solution, either; there are no e-mail or messaging capabilities, and since the entire Netscape line has not yet been ported to the Novell platform, you'll either need to use Novell solutions or do some shopping for other third-party products, such as Netscape Messaging Server for NetWare.

There's minimal database support in Enterprise Server past ODBC, JDBC or Sybase; if you're looking for something more advanced, you'll need to invest in the Netscape Enterprise Server Pro edition, which includes an Oracle 7 database. The built-in search engine allows for the searching of full text as well as the metadata of site documents (title, author, modification date, et al). However, the search engine can't be set up to index other Internet sites, unlike the search engine found in Microsoft Site Server.

The pricing structure for Netscape Enterprise Server for NetWare mirrors that of Netscape's for the standard Enterprise Server. A basic license runs $1,295 which includes the server, a 50-user Publishing License, and unlimited end user access. Additional Publishing Licenses can be purchased in 10-user packs for $250 each.

In the end, Netscape Enterprise Server is a better solution for the Novell platform than the alternatives (including Novell's own Web server that ships with intraNetWare). Netscape Enterprise Server for NetWare is a secure environment for performing most basic Web functions, even though it lacks the bells and whistles of more evolved Netscape products available for other platforms. If your corporation is committed to the Novell environment, Netscape Enterprise Server is the answer.

Pros: 7 Support for both NetWare Directory Services (NDS) and Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP), 7 Web Publisher makes it easy for non-technical users to publish information, 7 Support for other management tools via Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP)

Cons: 7 No support at this time for a Java Virtual Machine, 7 Requires other products for e-mail and messaging functionality

New: 7 This is the initial release of Netscape Enterprise Server for NetWare

Patches Released From 4/28/99 to 5/3/00: Several fixes for low memory conditions; removed a condition where the Web server would enter the kernel debugger; performs an additional open and close when the file does not exist so that, the file is not shareable until it is closed and reopened; added code to abort request if the server runs out of memory when retrieving a directory listing; added code to allow rotating access logs that exist on a volume other than SYS; fixed crontab load command path to not be truncated to 8 chars for directory names for NW5 (228432); support for translation from code page 850 to code page 1252; DNS option is now correctly observed; fixed memory leak related to DNS logging; handles the case of too many files in a directory listing; rotate Logs On Volumes Other Than SYS; fixed "not found" error that occurred when accessing empty subdirectories; allows for asynchronous cleanup; added TCPTimeWait option to magnus.conf for browsers that are sensitive to connection resets; fixed problem with socket clean-up, causing an abend after NLM is unloaded; added extra help when binding IP addresses; fixed potential ABEND if an invalid header is sent from a cgi; fixed semaphore problems related to NetWare 5 service pack 1; allows an ip address in addition to host name when clustering servers; fixed abends due to improper handling of memory in Web Publishing; access logs can now be viewed immediately after rotating; garbage on the end of urls no longer has the potential to abend the server; added code to look for continuation lines in a dn when adding a suffix to an LDIF file on an export; added support for anonymous login; check for aliases and modify the dn if an alias is found; SendMail object now correctly fails on creation of a socket; fixed long name space and a default volume if a cgi changes it; handles the case where cgi sends back nothing; added code to check if DNS is on when setting cgi environment; variable REMOTE_HOST; implemented functionality for CgiChainRequest; better end of header checking; fix up status on cgi that does relocation; Perl scripts can now send cookies and do relocation; fixed Guestbook sample perl script; fixed for hang in pcontrol.nlm; added code to check for -KEY.DB as well as -key.db; More Details

Version Reviewed: 1.0
Reviewed by: Kevin Reichard
Last Updated: 4/21/02
Date of Original Review: 9/17/98

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