The NetWare FileServer

NetWare is one of the world’s most common network operating systems of today. It is manufactured by the Novell Company, an American enterprise with legal seat in Provo (Utah). Above all, NetWare is well known for its capacity to support an easy administration even of complex network systems with the most various components, like the different operating systems of the workstations, transfer protocols and routers up to the individual applications.
NetWare uses Novell DOS (formerly DR-DOS) as a boot loader. Novell DOS is similar to MS-DOS and IBM PC-DOS, but no extra license for DOS is required; this came from the acquisition of Digital Research in 1991. Prior to this, Novell acquired Kanwal Rekhi’s company Excelan, a company which manufactured smart ethernet cards, and also commercialized the internet protocol TCP/IP, solidifying Novell’s presence in these niche areas. It was around this time also that Ed Tittel of HTML For Dummies notoriety became involved with Novell, taking up various positions within the newly acquired Excelan before being made national Marketing Manager for Novell, prior to taking up the post as Novell’s Director of Technical Marketing.
The network system of NetWare’s first version (NetWare 2) has been a „non-dedicated“ system. „Non-dedicated“ refers to the functionality of the server on the network. It designates, that the server can be used both as server and workstation. NetWare 2 and also NetWare 3 are based on the so-called „Bindery“. The Bindery is a Novell specific server database, which does contain all information about the network, like User names, passwords, printer queues and directory rights. In the database, this information is combined into objects. The third version operates with the „dedicated“ FileServer principle. Herewith, all functions that are necessary for the operation of the network are installed on a central server computer.Contrary to the previous non-dedicated principle, this server cannot be used as a workstation. Thus, the dedicated FileServer system always has to consist of at least two computers: a server and a workstation. The server is used for the administration of all data and the access rights of the network. But the actual processing of the data has to be carried out on the workstations. That means all the commonly used files are placed on the server. For the processing, they have to be recalled from the server. Afterwards, they are transmitted back to the server again. Therefore, it is obviously quite important to guarantee a continuous operation of the server. A server failure would cause a complete standstill of the whole network system.
In July 2001, Novell acquired the consulting company Cambridge Technology Partners, founded in Cambridge, MA, by John J. Donovan, to expand offerings into services. Novell felt that the ability to offer solutions (a combination of software and services) was key to satisfying customer demand. This change was strongly resisted within the firm’s software development culture as well as the finance organization which recommended against the merger. The CEO of CTP, Jack Messman, engineered the merger using his position as a board member of Novell since its inception and soon became CEO of Novell as well. He then hired back Chris Stone as Vice Chairman/Office of the CEO to set the course for Novell’s strategy into Open Source and Enterprise Linux. With the CTP acquisition, Novell moved its headquarters to Massachusetts.[