GroupWise 6.5 Beta: Novell's Challenge to MS Exchange Page 2

Instant Messaging

"Instant messaging is not the most important new feature in GroupWise 6.5. But it does give Novell parity with Lotus Sametime. Exchange has IM, too. Microsoft's IM is OK -- -- but only OK," said GartnerGroup's Graff.

"Novell's IM is very good for internal environments, where you want to keep messaging secure. Some customers, though, may opt instead for some of the many other IM tools that are also on the market," she added.

Tayler claimed that the addition of IM to GroupWise was not influenced by recent introductions of enterprise IM products by players ranging from AOL and Yahoo! to Sprint.

"We've had IM on the table since a year ago," Tayler said. "Administrators are getting increasingly sensitive to who's talking to whom."

Novell's IM implementation will comply with SIP/SIMPLE. "It won't work straight out of the box with AOL or ICQ instant messaging," he admitted. "Our ultimate goal, though, is to provide connectivity (with other IM environments) at the gateway level."

In its first iteration, Novell's IM will come with logging and archiving tools, as well as policy-based management of the user contact list. Administrators will be able to control which groups can chat with which other groups. "For example, I might not want to give Novell's PM [product management] team the ability to chat with R&D, to keep PM from bothering R&D," he quipped.

Novell's IM will also capture transcripts of every IM chat and archive the sessions as searchable text. "We don't have a content management tool, though, that would sit on top and monitor live sessions by keyword, or something," Tayler said.

Hidalgo said that University Hospital plans to use Novell's IM behind its firewall when the feature becomes available.

"Some of our end users have been doing IM with other products -- chatting with an uncle in Timbuktu over MSN, or whatever. But this will be the first time we've standardized on an IM platform," Hidalgo elaborated. "Because of HIPAA, we need to make sure that IM information is secure."

Built-In Tools for User Moves and Changes
Other new tools are geared to the need to streamline user moves and changes in the face of server consolidation, Tayler said.

A new User Move Status utility lets administrators track the status of accounts being moved between post offices. The utility can be configured to filter status tracking information by domain.

Account Recovery, another new administration offering, is for recovering accounts that have been inadvertently deleted. After the account has been recovered, a Backup/Restore utility can be used to restore the contents of the mailbox from backup.

GroupWise 6.5 is also able to alert administrators if a user tries to use an address that's already been assigned to someone else.

In yet another enhancement, administrators using GroupWise Monitor can now divide GroupWise agents into logical groups for monitoring, and set thresholds and options by group. For example, an admin might place all agents running on machines in the United States in a special group. "In the past, you could only look at all the agents at once," Tayler pointed out.

New, too, is LDAP pooling. In the interests of scalability, administrators can now instruct the post office agent to use a pool of LDAP servers -- instead of a single LDAP server -- for LDAP user authentication.

Mobile Connectivity
"GroupWise 6.5 connects with a broad range of devices for customers," said GarterGroup's Graff. Specifically, Novell partner Nexic will produce GroupWise-specific clients for PalmOS and PocketPC. RIM device connectivity will be available through Jama and Consilient. Toffa will provide a gateway for synching up Synch ML devices such as Nokia and Ericsson phones with GroupWise.

Further Into the Future ...
Tayler views the new user interface for GroupWise client as a major coup. "Novell really needed to do this sooner. Now, nobody can carp that the Novell client hasn't been updated since 1995. We'll probably update the user interface again by 2003," he predicted.

This summer, Novell plans to add to 6.5's functionality with SP1, a service pack that will include extensions for the Calendar Access Program (CAP) industry standard. "GroupWise users will be able to find each other's free and busy hours."

By about 2004, the company expects to pull iFolders, iPrint, and other management functionality from Console One, into Novell Portal. The portal will also provide common management of both GroupWise and NetMail.

"The management tools will be more contextual, with real-time content pulldown. You'll be able to see the status of agents in real time and pull the latest patches into the portal immediately," Tayler concluded.

This article was originally published on Dec 11, 2002
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