GuidesNetscape FastTrack Server -- Entry-level/mid-range server for Windows 95/NT and Unix

Netscape FastTrack Server — Entry-level/mid-range server for Windows 95/NT and Unix




Netscape’s entry-level Web Server provides a wide variety of advanced features at a reasonable price. Unfortunately it doesn’t position well against competing offerings and as a result will be of interest only to a limited audience.

FastTrack provides advanced features not normally found in an entry-level product including LDAP support (which theoretically simplifies user management), SSL 3.0 advanced encryption technology, and fine-grained security control at the file or directory level by user name, password, domain name, or IP address. The LDAP implementation is of limited use, however, since NT-User account synchronization requires purchase of a separate product in the Netscape SuiteSpot line, Directory Server. FastTrack’s development environment is strong with support for the latest versions of Java, JavaScript, and LiveConnect. LiveWire database connectivity is provided; however, native drivers are not included.
Netscape’s entry-level Web Server provides a wide variety of advanced features at a reasonable price. Unfortunately it doesn’t position well against competing offerings and as a result will be of interest only to a limited audience.

Netscape has focused on small businesses, individuals, and workgroups as FastTrack’s target audience. For firms needing to run Web servers on multiple platforms or for those averse to Microsoft’s free offerings (PWS/IIS), FastTrack may make sense. Others will be better served with Microsoft’s offerings or O’Reilly’s WebSite which has superior documentation and sports features that are better designed to help novices get up to speed with the server quickly and painlessly.

For larger organizations FastTrack lacks key features available only on Netscape’s high-end Enterprise Server, which not surprisingly comes at a much steeper price ($1,295+). Prospective purchasers looking at both Enterprise and FastTrack will be disappointed to learn that FastTrack lacks an integrated search engine, the ability to centrally manage multiple servers, and native database driver support — all of which are standard Enterprise features.

Pros: 7 HTTP 1.1 protocol support, 7 Flexible access control, 7 Cross-platform support, 7 Ease of installation

Cons: 7 Lacks support for Virtual Servers, multi-user publishing, integrated search engine, and native database drivers (all of which are features included in Netscape’s Enterprise Server), 7 Cost (relative to free servers like Microsoft PWS and IIS)

New in v3.01: 7 Integrated Netscape Communicator client, 7 Support for LDAP services, 7 SSL v3.0 technology; 7 FastTrack Data Sheet


Upgrade Meter:
5

New in v3.02:
Adds improved functionality in performance, administration, and application development; 7 FastTrack Data Sheet


Upgrade Meter:
3

Version Reviewed: 3.01

Date of Review: 2/12/98

Last Updated 9/30/99

Reviewed by: Keith Allison

Additional Information available
WebServer Compare’s Review
of Netscape FastTrack

Technical Support Information: 90 days free support. Thereafter, choice of incident based support ($89 per incident or 3 for $199) or annual support ($399 for 12×5 and $599 for 12×7). Netscape also offers an online help Web site for its servers.

Operating Systems Supported: Windows NT – Intel (v3.01), Alpha (v2.01). Windows 95 (v2.0). UNIX (v3.01) – HP-UX, IBM AIX, Digital, IRIX, Solaris

Reader Comments: “With its new Enterprise and FastTrack servers, Netscape is pushing the envelope of what Web Servers are capable of. By including such features as built-in search engines, Remote Editing capabilities, Automatic Cataloging, and built in log analysis tools, they are creating a complete Web server package for the novice or experienced user. (Not to mention that due to their popularity in the press, telling a prospective client that you are using a Netscape Server adds quite a bit of credibility…”
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