Novell is now a part of Micro Focus

Novell's Support for Windows NT, Windows 2000, and Active Directory

Articles and Tips: article

01 Feb 2000

With the Microsoft hype reaching fever pitch over the new release of Windows, it's time to step back and do a reality check on how Novell will support Windows 2000 and Active Directory.


Fundamental differences in the approach, design, and implementation of directory services from Novell and Microsoft make direct comparison of Novell Directory Services (NDS) and Active Directory difficult. The potential for misunderstanding is great. Microsoft has made many misrepresentations when comparing NDS to Active Directory. Whether they have been deliberate or not cannot be ascertained. However, the assumption of simple ignorance on Microsoft's part poses no small clarification burden for Novell. Novell is pleased to have the opportunity to make those clarifications in order to yet again show the unique strengths of its industry-leading directory services, NDS.

Well before the release of the Windows 2000 server, which debuts Active Directory, Novell, through the power of NDS, has been solving several business issues in a Microsoft environment including: single sign-on, single point of administration, and desktop management. Regardless of the specific technical implementation, Novell will continue to solve these business issues after Windows 2000 and Active Directory ship.

This AppNote takes a look at some recent concerns raised by the media regarding NDS synchronization as compared to redirection of Active Directory into NDS. It also lists some of the advantages of NDS, provides a FAQ section about NDS and Active Directory issues, and excerpts from Novell's response to some false claims issued by Microsoft regarding the two directories.

For additional information and comparisons of NDS and Active Directory, visit

Windows 2000 and Microsoft FUD

As was the case with Windows NT Server and NT Workstation, Microsoft wants the industry to believe that you must use the server and desktop products together. In reality, companies that have implemented Windows NT Workstation with Novell's NDS, Workstation Manager, and now ZENworks, have demonstrated more efficient management, higher end user productivity, and superior return on investment than with a pure Microsoft environment.

Microsoft is attempting to use this same tactic (called FUD, representing fear, uncertainty, and doubt) with the release of Windows 2000. They do not want to let their customers draw a distinction between Windows 2000 Professional (workstation), Windows 2000 Server, and Active Directory. Again they want consumers to believe these technologies are dependent on one another and can not be deployed independently. The reality is Windows 2000 Professional does not require Windows 2000 Server or Active Directory.

The Novell Client for Windows 2000 will ship in the release of Windows 2000 Professional. With this client and Novell's ZENworks for Desktops, Novell will manage Windows 2000 workstations better than Microsoft. This client will also support NetWare and BorderManager connectivity, making enterprise management easy.

Solutions for Today

Adoption of NDS for NT (which is redirection of NT Domains into NDS) has been popular as a solution for single point of administration and has provided a single sign-on service--one password for the end-user--for companies that utilize application servers dependent on Microsoft Domains. This has been so successful that GartnerGroup estimates NDS saves 40% of the cost of managing NT application servers.

Building on Today's Solutions

In July of 1999, Novell announced a technology called DirXML that leverages the Internet standards of XML (eXtensible Markup Language) and Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) to further coordinate and relieve the burden of directory integration. When used with Active Directory, DirXML will seamlessly provide the identical functionality of the current NDS for NT product. It will allow any application that requires access to Active Directory either for authentication or management to be managed from within NDS. Administrators and end-users will not be able to distinguish functionality from the previous redirection product.

Novell is also evaluating a redirection strategy for Active Directory. By redirecting Active Directory into NDS, Novell could solve additional Active Directory domain-related issues, such as Active Directory replication and global catalog limitations. These architectural deficiencies within Active Directory could severely impact customer deployments.

Single point of administration and single sign-on into Active Directory is just the beginning. Research shows that there may already be over 100 application- specific directories within companies today. NDS can provide significant relief to this situation by integrating operating systems such as NT and Windows 2000, Solaris, and the application-specific directories that run on them. DirXML will give corporations an opportunity to manage their disparate heterogeneous directories from a single point: NDS. DirXML further allows directories such as Lotus Notes, PeopleSoft, Exchange and others to become managed components of NDS.

Novell's Commitment

Novell customers who have deployed NDS for NT can be assured that Novell will support integrated NDS management of Active Directory and its underlying domains. Novell is committed to providing the best possible directory management solutions for all operating systems and applications, including Windows 2000 and Active Directory.

The scalability, reliability, and cross-platform nature of NDS make it the right choice for such a mission-critical function. Novell has already done extensive testing to ensure that our products run with Windows 2000 and assist customers in obtaining the greatest benefits from this new operating system.

Detailing Novell Solutions

Novell has a long history of supporting Microsoft's operating systems and applications. Novell has always provided integration tools for all Microsoft operating system releases, from the original MS-DOS systems through the newest Windows 2000 betas. Novell understands the importance of a heterogeneous network, one that will eventually include Windows 2000 and Active Directory. Novell already supports future Windows 2000 deployments and technologies through software available today.

Novell Client for Windows 2000

Novell has developed a Novell Client for Windows 2000. This is a full-featured client that provides capabilities such as NDS and ZENworks to the Windows 2000 platform. To obtain the latest Novell Client for Windows 2000, see TID #2953779 at

ADSI Support

Microsoft's Active Directory Service Interface (ADSI) is a Microsoft proprietary set of APIs for developing directory-aware applications. Novell was the first vendor to ship an NDS ADSI provider, ADSI documentation, and sample source code, all of which are available at .

ADSI Client Support

Novell's latest clients provide ADSI support as part of the client software package. Installing ADSI support on Windows 95/98 and Windows NT 4.0 clients is as simple as checking a box during install.

NDS for NT

The biggest value proposition for Active Directory will be managing NT domains. Novell's NDS for NT does just that today and that will not change with the release of Windows 2000. Customers still have NT domains that place a large strain on IT staffs. NDS for NT greatly simplifies the task of managing those domains and their complicated trust relationships.

NDS for NT rovides a single point of administration between NDS and the NT domain systems. NT domain redirection greatly simplifies NT administration by providing a single user account/password and single point of administration for both NT and NDS systems. Redirection is fully backward-compatible with all legacy domain applications, including all shipping Microsoft BackOffice applications.

NDS eDirectory for NT

Novell will soon release NDS eDirectory for NT, which provides many directory capabilities natively on the Windows NT platform, including:

  • Novell's NDS 8 Technology. This is a directory platform that scales to tens of millions of objects per server and billions systems-wide. NDS 8 technology also seamlessly integrates with other NDS 8 platforms, including NetWare 5, Sun Solaris, and Linux, providing a true, cross-platform directory solution.

  • Full NDS 8 Management. This includes a complete set of GUI utilities for day-to-day administration of NDS, management of the NT file/print/and server systems, and graphical diagnostic and repair utilities. It even includes a LDIF bulk-load utility for quickly importing directory objects based on the IETF LDIF standard.

  • Full LDAP v3 Support. Any LDAP v3-enabled application can easily access the NDS directory through native LDAP calls. NDS eDirectory for NT provides a fully functional LDAP-capable directory for Windows NT Server.

As a Microsoft developer, Novell used standard SDKs and APIs for the development of NDS eDirectory for NT. This ensures that Novell's applications will run on a variety of Win32 platforms, including Windows NT 3.5 1, Windows NT 4.0, and Windows 2000. Novell consulting, engineering, sales, and testing groups have been trained on Windows 2000 and have been working with the alpha and beta versions since the beginning. Most of the NDS eDirectory for NT product already supports Windows 2000.

Microsoft Exchange Mailbox Manager

Novell's Mailbox Manager provides a single point of administration for both NDS and the Exchange mailbox management. Mailbox Manager ensures that user management operations in NDS, such as creating, deleting, or modifying directory user accounts, are synchronized to Windows Exchange.

ZENworks/NDS Management of Windows 2000 Desktops

Novell's ZENworks provides remote installation, upgrade, diagnostics, and repair of desktop software. NDS and ZENworks also allow custom distribution and management in the deployment and ongoing support of Microsoft's Office 2000 product suite.

Providing Customers with Options

Novell is addressing NDS integration with Active Directory with three customer options:

  1. Allow Windows 2000 Deployment without Active Directory. Because Active Directory is a collection of NT domains, it's possible to integrate NDS for NT servers with new Windows 2000 servers though Windows 2000 trust relationships. For example, a Windows NT 4.0 server running NDS for NT can create a bi-directional trust relationship with a new Windows 2000 Active Directory server. Users created in NDS can be granted rights to Windows 2000 files and directories, and can be added to Active Directory groups. All of this is possible because Microsoft provides backward compatibility with Windows NT 4.0. This solution allows customers to deploy Windows 2000 servers independent of Active Directory, giving customers greater choice and flexibility as to when and how Active Directory will be deployed within their environment.

  2. Use NDS to Better Manage Active Directory. DirXML will synchronize NDS objects with Active Directory objects, providing a single point of administration. Novell expects to ship this product at or very near the market introduction of Windows 2000. We also expect to develop future Single Sign-on and DirXML solutions for new AD and Windows 2000 applications. For more information about DirXML, visit

  3. Redirect Active Directory into NDS. While synchronization solves many of the NDS and Active Directory integration issues, customers have requested that Novell provide redirection of Active Directory into NDS. Redirecting Active Directory into NDS solves additional Active Directory domain related issues, such as Active Directory replication and global catalog limitations. However, since the Windows 2000 domain implementation is much different than previous versions of Windows NT Server, the same implementation for redirection of the Windows NT domain is not possible with Novell's current shipping redirection technology. Novell is evaluating additional redirection strategies for Active Directory.

What Analysts Are Saying...

"There is not reason to believe that Windows 2000 will emerge stable, or stabilize any sooner than other complex products Microsoft has produced. Many of the nastier problems will have to be found in real-world deployment. When examining deployment requirements, enterprises should factor in that Windows 2000 will be less reliable than NT v4.0 until the first half of 2001 (0.8 probability) or possibly year-end 2001 (0.6 probability)."

--Bet on It: Windows 2000 Will Be Less Reliable, GartnerGroup, T. Bittman, March 24, 1999

"The decision to upgrade to Windows 2000 should not be automatic, due to software, hardware, and labor costs of upgrading, and the risks of an unproven OS. Enterprise-wide upgrades to Windows 2000 will not be cost-effective. Many users will be better-served by delaying production use of Windows 2000 until 2001, or waiting for the second release (expected in late 2001, 0.7 probability)."

--For Servers, Windows 2000 Release Is Worth Skipping, GartnerGroup, T. Bittman, May 19, 1999

"Michael Gartenberg, a vice president at Stamford, Connecticut-based Gartner, said the costs of changing to Windows 2000 is so high that a company won't realize lower costs for three years: 'By then, you would have to do a migration to another operating system... We're reminding people that they're looking at one side of the equation because the cost of getting to TCO (total cost of ownership) is greater than the costs they are going to save... It's a money-losing proposition,' said Gartenberg."


"Unless higher-level management mandates an immediate migration to Windows 2000 Server or there is a compelling technical reason to migrate immediately (such as deploying Exchange Platinum), defer Windows 2000 deployment at least until the first and possibly the second Service Pack ships. Users that are satisfied with their current Unix, Linux, and NetWare and NDS installations should stick with these platforms. If your enterprise business can no longer live with the limited domain directory structure of NT 4.0, consider adopting a third-party directory services product. Tops of Giga's list is Novell NDS for NT... You won't be sorry."

--Forecast: As Windows 2000 Server Ship Date Nears: Compatibility, Confidence Issues Cloud Picture, Giga Information Group, Laura DiDio, September 22, 1999

Clearing Up the Confusion

Listening to Microsoft: A No-Win


When Novell released NDS for NT 2.0, Microsoft clearly stated in their marketing that synchronization was preferred over redirection:

"If Novell wanted to deliver an interoperability solution that works with what customers already have deployed, Novell could have built a directory synchronization tool using the published Active Directory Service Interfaces (ADSI). ADSI, the industry standard for accessing directory services from any vendor, allows third-party developers such as Novell to integrate their solutions into the Windows NT Directory Service. This, too, would have allowed Novell to synchronize the two directory services without replacing Windows NT Server code and then manage both directories from NDS." (Microsoft's original response to NDS for NT)

DirXML is exactly the solution described by Microsoft. DirXML uses Internet standards such as LDAP and XML and Microsoft's proprietary ADSI technology for bi-directionally synchronizing NDS and Active Directory.

Solution vs. Implementation: "We Choose to Go to the Moon"

When President Kennedy asked America's scientists to place a man on the moon and return him safely to earth, Kennedy defined the task, not the implementation. In other words, Kennedy didn't say, "Build a three stage rocket with 2 million pounds of thrust fueled by liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen." Our customers are asking for a solution, not an implementation. Let's not confuse a solution (co-management of NDS and Active Directory) with an implementation (redirection verses synchronization).

Customers desire a solution that enables a single point of management, from either Active Directory or NDS utilities. Customers also desire a solution for maintaining password synchronization between the two directories. Both of these solutions are possible by either redirection or synchronization. However, redirection for NT Server 4.0 was chosen because it solved other NT domain problems beyond just single point of administration and single password: namely, NT 4.0 domains also suffered from PDC-BDC replication inefficiencies, trust relationship management, PDC-BDC fault tolerance, delegation of administrative rights, and so forth. Since Active Directory addresses many of these domain limitations, Novell doesn't need to fix Active Directory, as was the case with NT Server 4.0.

Active Directory Bloat: Use Synchronization to Protect NDS

NDS customers have clearly stated that they do not want the inefficiencies of Active Directory causing problems with their mission-critical NDS deployments. For example, the default Active Directory installation creates an Active Directory of 45 megabytes (without any users). Simple Active Directory operations, such as granting administrative rights, increase the Active Directory database by hundreds of megabytes. In contrast, NDS rarely exceeds 1-2 megabytes per server in real-world NDS deployments.

Until the deficiencies in Active Directory are solved, maintaining a synchronization approach between Active Directory and NDS limits the problems to the Active Directory servers. Redirecting Active Directory to NDS would contaminate functioning NDS deployments with Active Directory inefficiencies, such as increasing NDS databases from 1-2 megabytes to hundreds of megabytes.

Clearly, customers do not want Active Directory limitations (such as replication, database size, and management issues) impacting their NDS deployments. Redirecting Active Directory to NDS would significantly and unnecessarily impact NDS. Synchronization allows Active Directory's inefficiencies and problems to remain within Active Directory and not affect

NDS. Active Directory Instability: Synchronization Provides a Clear Delimiter between NDS and AD

It is accepted in the industry that Active Directory will have significant stability and deployment problems in its early releases. By redirecting Active Directory to NDS, problems and deficiencies in Active Directory could wrongly be blamed on NDS, both by customers and Microsoft. Synchronization defines a clear line between NDS and Active Directory so that the problems in Active Directory are not perceived as NDS issues.

NDS Advantages over Active Directory

When selecting their directory foundation, many organizations already know the advantages of NDS in supporting their business directions. The advantages include the following:

  • NDS is cross-platform and Active Directory is not. NDS is shipping, or will soon ship, on NetWare, NT (3.x, 4.x, and Windows 2000), Solaris, Linux, Compaq Tru64, and OS/390. Active Directory is a NOS-only directory, which is still not in production (at least at the time of writing).

  • NDS manages more devices, types of devices, and applications, providing the greatest savings of time and resources. Some examples are: Single Sign-on for virtually any application, Lucent switches, PBX, QIP, Nortel Optivity, DNS/DHCP, RADIUS dial-in, Firewalls, Proxy Servers, Windows Desktops (3.x, 95, 98, NT 3.51/4, W2K), Software Distribution, Help Request System, GroupWare (Exchange, Notes, GroupWise), Instant Messaging (AOL), XML-based integration of any application/data, Oracle 8i, WebSphere, PKI (Novell, Entrust, Netscape), Citrix (NT Terminal Server, Metaframe, Winframe), metadirectory products (Isocor, NetVision), Smart Cards (Security Dynamics, ActivCard), PeopleSoft, and more than 500 applications from other ISVs, as well as new products to be introduced this year, including integration with Cisco devices.

  • NDS complies and integrates with more open standards such as LDAP v3, XML, DSML, JNDI, PKI, PKCS10, RADIUS, CORBA, SSLv3, and others. To learn more, visit our online partner solutions guide at /npsguide.

  • NDS is proven technology with an installed base of almost 70 million users. Active Directory has yet to ship, much less win the loyalty of an installed base. NDS has proven reliability, availability, serviceability, scalability, and security in real-world implementations.

  • NDS is integrated with over 90% of all office equipment (fax, fax gateway, printers, and so on) and has 16 million devices integrated today.

  • NDS has unlimited scalability, including the proven ability to manage over one billion objects.

  • NDS allows the administrator to partition the directory to suit their environment, while maintaining a single logical directory. Active Directory makes network administration more complex and less efficient by only allowing for division to occur along domain boundaries, and breaking the directory into management fragments.

  • Global administration of Active Directory is not possible because access control rights do not flow past domain boundaries. Because NDS is a single logical directory, rights can be given and managed globally, and securely over the Internet with NetWare 5.1.

  • NDS supports multiple client OS platforms such as, Windows 9x, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows 3x, MacOS, and OS/2. Microsoft will only fully support Windows 2000 Professional (workstation) from Active Directory. Windows 9x will have limited support, and there is no planned AD support for OS/2, Windows 3x, Windows NT, or MacOS.

A more thorough summary of these points can be found at

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Will Microsoft support NDS for NT?

A. Yes. Please see for more information.

Q. Will NDS for NT 2.1 install on a Windows 2000 Server?

A. No. Changes have been made to the Windows 2000 domain system architecture. Novell currently provides integration with Windows 2000 though NT trust relationships. Novell will also provide other integration solutions that deliver NDS for NT functionality for the Windows 2000 platform.

Q. Will NDS 8 for NT install on a Windows 2000 Server?

A. Yes, NDS 8 for NT will install on Windows 2000, but will not redirect native Active Directory.

Q. Can a Windows 2000 server integrate with a Windows NT 4.0 server running NDS for NT?

A. Yes, a bi-directional trust relationship can be created between the NT 4.0 server and the Windows 2000 server. This trust relationship will allow users defined in NDS for NT to be granted rights to Windows 2000 resources, such as files and directories.

Q. If I install NDS for NT on a Windows NT Server, can I migrate that server to Window 2000?

A. Yes, it is simple to run the SAMMIG.EXE utility and reverse migrate the NT domain information back into the NT domain systems. When the Windows 2000 upgrade is performed, the directory data will be correctly migrated.

Q. Does NDS for NT prevent a migration to Active Directory?

A. Absolutely not. With NDS for NT, you can enjoy the benefits of a scalable, fault-tolerant, proven directory before (or after) Active Directory ships. NDS for NT allows a customer to deploy Windows 2000 (the platform) with minimal Active Directory planning. Because Microsoft provides NDS to Active Directory migration utilities, any effort or time spent on implementing NDS for NT today will not be wasted with Windows 2000.

Q. Does Windows 2000/Active Directory force customers to choose between Novell or Microsoft directories in order to avoid extra costs and complexity?

A. Customers use many directories today and the introduction of Active Directory will not change this need. NDS reduces costs and complexity by integrating application directories, Internet directories, and even NOS-specific directories like Active Directory. The use of NDS eliminates many redundant tasks that result from multiple directories.

Q. Why won't Novell immediately provide redirection in NDS for Active Directory?

A. Microsoft has changed the storage mechanism in Active Directory. Further, they have published a set of APIs (ADSI) for accessing information in Active Directory that was not available under the Domain model. Novell will provide functionality similar to redirection without the downsides that will result with redirection techniques.

Q. Are the many advantages of NDS negated by the lack of a redirection capability in NDS for Active Directory?

A. No. Novell is investigating a possible redirection solution, and will continue to offer redirection for NT 4.0. Customers require a full-service directory to manage and integrate diverse platforms and resources across the enterprise and the Internet. This will require a variety of technical solutions.

Novell's Response to Microsoft Untruths

Microsoft recently posted a false and misleading document on its "Direct Access" Web site entitled "Windows 2000 Server: A Prime Choice over Novell's NetWare 5". That document, which has since been removed, contained many blatant untruths in an attempt to mislead existing and potential Novell customers, and the scope of its inaccuracies suggests that Microsoft is clearly misinformed about Novell's advanced technologies and the high value they deliver.

The following is intended to clarify the inaccuracies proffered by Microsoft and enable customers to make fully-informed purchasing decisions. Following each claim is a clarification of the reality regarding the issues raised, demonstrating that Novell continues to lead the competition. Microsoft claim: "Active Directory is more scalable. Active Directory supports millions of objects, while NDS is known for poor scalability. NDS uses an outmoded, flat-file database as its information store, causing performance- related problems when scaling beyond 1,000 objects within a directory partition. You've probably had to create several partitions for your customers in the past and know how complex it can be."

Microsoft is very misinformed regarding the scalability and complexity of NDS. NDS 8, the foundation for Novell's eDirectory, is built upon a highly advanced database technology that has been in use in Novell products since 1989. This multi-purpose database engine supports terabyte-class storage of arbitrarily structured data, including robust logging and transactional updates to ensure the maximum fault tolerance available. Novell's strategic commitment to development of this high performance storage engine for the past 10 years ensures that NDS provides customers with scalability beyond their needs. This was demonstrated by public implementation of an NDS tree containing over one billion objects (millions of objects per partition) while still exhibiting a high level of performance. Furthermore, Novell's inclusion of advanced graphical utilities, enabling easy centralized management of NDS trees, objects, replicas and partitions, dramatically reduces complexity through simple point-and-click administrative actions.

Microsoft claim: "Active Directory supports LDAP and DNS. Active Directory fully supports these industry standards, while NDS offers only limited support. Neither LDAP nor DNS is integrated into Novell's directory service."

Microsoft is again incorrect in its statements. NDS 8 and eDirectory natively support all features of LDAPv3, including advanced features such as auxiliary classes, referrals, and controls. Novell's implementation of LDAPv3 functions as a native NDS protocol (not a gateway) allowing LDAP applications to transparently browse, read and update information in NDS such as they would from any other LDAPv3-compliant directory. LDAP is truly fully-integrated into NDS, with the superior qualities of NDS delivering a superior LDAP directory solution.

Microsoft's implementation of DNS (Domain Name System) integration with Active Directory creates onerous restrictions regarding the structure of DNS and Active Directory hierarchies, a fact that will likely require customers to restructure their DNS implementation in conjunction with their Active Directory roll-out. Alternatively, Novell enables DNS to be fully-managed via NDS as objects in the directory tree, thus making DNS information available to name servers throughout the enterprise. DNS zones, name servers, and resource records are all centrally-managed as NDS objects from anywhere on the network. Novell's directory-enabled DNS also supports Dynamic DNS, as well as easy importing of existing DNS configuration information in BIND master file format. Novell's implementation also integrates with existing DNS primary and secondary servers through zone transfer capabilities. In summary, Novell offers DNS capabilities that are completely integrated with NDS.

Microsoft claim: "Active Directory is secure. Active Directory supports state-of-the-art user authentication methods such as Kerberos and smart cards. NDS does not support these security protocols."

Microsoft's implication that NetWare authentication is not secure is completely false. Dozens of authentication algorithms have been devised by industry researchers, and Microsoft has chosen the Kerberos secret-key algorithm as the foundation for its authentication. Alternatively, Novell has implemented a public-key authentication mechanism based upon technology licensed from RSA Security. This extremely secure and popular authentication algorithm has undergone industry scrutiny for over 20 years, and has shipped as the foundation for NDS authentication since 1994. Novell's choice of RSA-based public key security is no less secure than Kerberos, and in fact may be argued as superior in many ways.

Despite Microsoft's claim, Novell supports strong authentication via smart card technology. Novell's strategic partnership with ActivCard (a leading smart card vendor) has produced a strong authentication solution that is completely integrated with NDS and therefore provides customers with the many benefits of directory-based solutions. In addition to secure authentication services, Novell also offers a wide variety of security technologies to further ensure a safe computing environment. Novell products include comprehensive security features such as cryptographic services, public key infrastructure (x.509 digital certificate management), mandatory and discretionary access control, packet signing, system-wide auditing, RADIUS authentication, virtual private networks, policy-based firewall services, and others. These technologies combine to create a solution enabling customers to fully protect their computing resources.

Microsoft claim: "Windows 2000 has more features. Your customers won't find important features such as disk mirroring or compression with NetWare. On the contrary, Windows 2000 Server offers a vast feature set."

Contrary to Microsoft's erroneous statement, Novell's NetWare operating system offers the most comprehensive storage system available. Novell was first to market with built-in mirroring and compression technologies, offering disk mirroring starting with NetWare 2 in the mid 1980s and file compression starting with NetWare 4 in 1994. Both of these features continue to be available in NetWare 5.1 today.

NetWare has continually set the standard for advanced network-based storage, and offers a multitude of features that places it above all competition in this area. In addition to mirroring and compression, the NetWare file system supports disk duplexing, block suballocation, read-after-write verification, hot fix, hierarchical storage management, transactional updates (TTS), integrated backup, file system auditing, server-based anti virus, mandatory and discretionary access controls, online disk and volume maintenance without rebooting, multiple namespaces, undelete, RAID device support, Hot Plug PCI support, and many other features. NetWare also enables access to data from a wide variety of desktops (including non-Microsoft systems), as well as from those running NFS, FTP, SMB, and AppleTalk clients. Novell truly sets the standard for including a "vast" number of storage system features.

Novell is also developing new storage system technologies that will continue to set the pace in the future. The new Novell Storage Services (NSS) introduced a new journaling file system featuring 64-bit data paths, advanced caching, industry leading performance, lightning fast volume mount time, support for files as large as hundreds of terabytes, a virtually unlimited number of files and directory entries, support for multiple access protocols, and complete integration with NDS. While aggressively continuing to enhance this system, Novell also plans to introduce a fully-distributed file system further enabling location transparency, fault tolerance, and many other leading edge features. This new storage system will continue to offer customers the greatest value possible.

Microsoft claim: "Windows 2000 will prove to be the top applications server on the market. While Windows 2000 offers a marked improvement in its file-and-print services over Windows NT, it lives up to the Windows NT reputation as a strong applications server. Your customers will be pleased to know that more and more third-party vendors are writing new software for Windows 2000 Server, adding to the already vast pool of applications written for Windows products."

For customers choosing to implement Windows-based application servers, Novell offers a variety of advanced technologies to enable these servers to be integrated into NetWare environments. These technologies greatly simplify the configuration and management of Windows-based systems through the advanced capabilities of NDS. Novell's BorderManager Authentication Service provides secure authentication for remote clients and enables remote management of Windows environments. Novell's ManageWise Agent for NT provides SNMP agents to continuously monitor Windows status and enables management via popular system management consoles (including Novell's ManageWise). ZENworks provides NDS-based management of desktop policies, profiles, user preferences, print and application configuration. Additionally, Novell's NDS for NT and Novell's future DirXML technology enable single sign-on and management of Windows domains, shares, accounts and directory-enabled applications. The combination of these technologies greatly reduces the effort needed to manage Windows platforms, thereby cutting costs and simplifying Windows deployments.

For customers desiring to implement standards-based application servers, Novell's NetWare 5.1 tightly integrates the IBM WebSphere Application Server v3.0 Standard Edition as a NetWare-based service. Based on the highly popular J2EE standard for Web application servers, WebSphere enables customers to create, manage, deploy, and execute advanced Web-based applications, and includes everything needed to implement business-critical Web sites based upon Java servlets, Java Server Pages, and HTML. WebSphere Application Server 3.0 for NetWare authentication is fully-integrated with NDS and therefore provides the many benefits afforded by directory-based management.

Microsoft claim: "These are just a few features Windows 2000 Server offers that aren't found in NetWare: integrated namespace support, file compression, configurable block size, mirroring, duplexing, striping with or without parity, removable device support, tracking log to audit storage services utilization."

Microsoft is very incorrect in this statement. The following points clarify the truth about NetWare's support for these technologies: Novell has offered disk mirroring and duplexing in all NetWare versions since the mid 1980s. Novell pioneered the availability of these technologies. Novell has offered integrated namespace support in all NetWare versions since in 1989. Novell has offered integrated file compression, configurable block sizes, and storage services auditing since 1994. NetWare supports disk striping. NetWare includes support for Hot Plug PCI, a standard technology enabling removable storage devices.

NetWare: The Best Solution

NetWare 5.1 was designed to provide customers an unmatched ability to achieve a return on their investment, reduce their cost of ownership, and enable the creation and implementation of business-critical web applications based on popular industry standards. While remaining the leader in storage services and distributed printing, NetWare has evolved into an advanced platform for the most sophisticated Web-based, directory-enabled solutions. Novell's NDS strongly leads the competition as a platform for simplifying the management of distributed network resources, and Novell's many advanced network services prove the strength of NDS' features and scalability.


Novell customers who have deployed NDS for NT or who are considering NDS for management of Windows 2000, Internet LDAP-based applications, or any other network integration, can be assured that Novell will support integrated management of Active Directory and NDS. Novell fully intends to support all NDS for NT functionality through the DirXML synchronization approach.

When considering a directory strategy, it is important to assess not only the current needs of your NOS environment, but also the consolidation of the myriad directories that already exist and the new applications that will require directories in the future. NDS is the most mature, feature-rich and supported directory that has ever existed. When you bet your business on your technology, your technology had better be rock solid. You can count on NDS, today.

* Originally published in Novell AppNotes


The origin of this information may be internal or external to Novell. While Novell makes all reasonable efforts to verify this information, Novell does not make explicit or implied claims to its validity.

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