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Novell Embraces Oracle Network Computing Architecture

Articles and Tips: article

01 Nov 1996

Describes how Novell's networking platform for the new era, IntranetWare, is critical to the "network computing" framework established by Oracle.


Oracle recently announced a universal model to simply network computing. "Network Computing" is a universal framework which allows the different worlds of client/server, the Internet and distributed objects technology to share a common computing model based on open standards.

Fundamental to the "Network Computing" architecture is "networking." As more and more people are interconnected to "the network," whether it be the Internet, corporate enterprise networks, small office networks, or public carrier networks-the world is becoming a universal network of bring people and information together. Novell's vision, direction, and products are focused on this new network computing paradigm where Everything Is Connected.

Novell's networking platform for this new era in networking computing is IntranetWare. IntranetWare brings to the network the rich performance, reliability, and scalability of NetWare, at the same time providing seven essential networking services critical in building new solutions for a globally connected network. Novell's developer platform is Net2000. Net2000 is designed to enhance the development of new applications and distributed logic (components, objects, etc.) to take advantage of the network.

Net2000 is to make it easier for developers to access networking services through multiple standard interfaces and development tools. The four developer initiatives defined under the Net2000 umbrella are; Java, RAD Components, Scripting, and C/C++ Development. These four developer initiatives offer freedom of choice and open extensibility in accessing network services in building a new class of application and solutions that are distributed, network-aware, and modular.

With the announced Network Computing Architecture from Oracle, Novell's networking platform and developer platform are ideally suited to embrace and extend the open standard framework of Network Computing. Novell will embrace the Network Computing developer framework that enables universal connectivity and flexibility in sharing application components written in Java, ActiveX, Netscape ONE, and CORBA objects across the network. Novell's Net2000 and Oracle's Developer/2000 initiatives compliment each other in offering developers a choice in building applications that are client platform independent, language independent, and component/object independent.

Novell will extend the Network Computing platform framework to expose their rich networking services through standard CORBA interfaces to enrich the functionality and software bus of the Network Computing architecture. Directory and naming services, component management services, licensing services, messaging, and security are a few of the services that will enhance how objects and components are distributed, managed, and enabled across the network.

Networking Today

Over the past 10 years the PC revolution has brought the power of desktop computing and sharing resources; such as files and printers, together as the standard for business computing. Novell established the standard in PC networking by offering the industries most powerful networking software ideally suited to tie different clients, distributed printers, and servers together in a transparent way call "the network."

The fundamentals of networking - sharing personal computers, printers, devices, and resources across the network have not changed, but rather have established the foundation upon which a higher, necessary abstraction of networking must now be established. The paradigm is shifting and a new revolution, just as innovative as the PC revolution is now taking off.

Networking Tomorrow

Networking logic, sharing common components, objects, and distributing processing across multiple locations all point to a new wave of productivity applications, business computing, and a new way of life for users. The Internet has given us a glimpse of the potential and the challenges that await this new revolution of global computing. Similar to networking heterogeneous PCS and devices - modular applications, partitioned business logic, and distributed objects will require more flexibility and a robust networking infrastructure to share and cooperate in a dynamic and universal way.

Network Computing Architecture: Bringing a Diverse World into a Common Framework

The value of the Network Computing Architecture addresses one of the biggest problems facing application development today - competing, incompatible application development standards, interfaces, and functionality. The Network Computing Architecture removes these development and deployment issues by supporting all key standards and guaranteeing that the choices of browser, Web server, database, development language, operating system, and hardware platform are independent of the application.

To accomplish this, the Network Computing Architecture defines a software bus framework that allows the connectivity and interoperability of different components written in Java, ActiveX, Netscape ONE, and CORBA. Defined as "cartridges," components written across different object models and interfaces can now interact and exchange information in a universal way.

The ability to "mix and match" components across different computing languages and platforms, offers developers greater flexibility and modularity in building new applications and solutions across a diverse global network. Applications can become more modular, distributed, and dynamic - binding components together across the network to meet specific customer needs - independent of their language or location.

Network Computing Architecture Defined

How components of different languages are able to interoperate and exchange information in a universal way is accomplished by using the standard object model reference of a Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA). CORBA 2.0 defines a standard Internet Inter-ORB Protocol (IIOP) definition and standard Interface Definition Language (IDL) to provide object interoperability and language-neutral interface. With these technologies, components written in different language bindings (such as Java, ActiveX/COM, or Netscape ONE) can be mapped to a common CORBA IDL binding to ensure a common and consistent way to reference their functionality and services. This CORBA IDL mapping of components are represented within the Network Computing Architecture as "cartridges." Cartridges are CORBA objects which allow a universal way by which components can identify themselves and exchange information in a distributed system.

Cartridges may be defined across clients (browsers and desktops) and servers (application servers and Web servers). Cartridges exchange information through a CORBA compliant Object Request Broker framework called "Inter-Cartridge Exchange" (ICX). ICX is implemented as a software bus using the standard IIOP and HTTP communication protocol. The Inter-Cartridge Exchange makes translations as required to cross between different environments, e.g. making Java-based CORBA objects look like a DCOM object when accessed from an ActiveX PC applet.

As cartridges are written and deployed across clients, browsers, application server platforms, or database server platforms, the Inter-Cartridge Exchange provides essential cartridge services which enable cartridges to be installed, registered, invoked, administered, monitored, and secured. These essential services are available to every cartridge though a set of Universal Cartridges Services. Some of these services are part of CORBA 2.0.IIOP.

In addition to Universal Cartridge Services, additional Scalable and Specialized cartridge services are offered through the ICX software bus as Network Computing Services. These Network Computing Services offer developers rich services to build "real" distributed applications that support transactions, messaging, full naming and directory, licensing, persistence and more. Modular cartridges written across the various component models can access these rich Network Computing Services to add more functionality and services. Scalable Cartridge Services are "network-wide" services, such as transactions, messaging, directory, naming, access control and administration, licensing, and security.

In addition to these services, Specialized Cartridge Services allow platform dependent services to be published and accessible across the network, so that rich database access cartridges can be associated with the database server, or a specific application server cartridge that performs a specific task is associated with the application server platform performing the task.

Novell's Implementation of Network Computing Architecture

Novell's platform for the Intranet and Internet is IntranetWare. IntranetWare provides seven essential services for building rich network-enabled, distributed applications across the network. These services are directory, security, messaging, file, print, management, and Web services. By embracing the Network Computing Architecture, IntranetWare can now fully take advantage of Oracle's rich database services which already provides high performance and scalability on NetWare. Through the NCA and Novell's Net2000 initiative, software developers can access the IntranetWare services and database services of Oracle to build mission-critical applications on IntranetWare.

Integrating Net2000 with Network Computing Architecture

Novell will integrate the NCA as part of Novell's Net2000 developer initiative. NCA naturally complements Net2000's mission to "make it easier to access network services through multiple standard interfaces and developer tools." Net2000 supports different component and programming models through Java, RAD Components (ActiveX/COM), Scripting (Visual Basic, NetBasic), and C/C++ development. Because the NCA enables cartridges to be built using these standard programming languages, Net2000 components can easily be created as NCA cartridges - thus fully participating across the Inter-Cartridge Exchange software bus through standard CORBA IIOP and HTTP protocols.

The value of Net2000 components being defined as NCA cartridges are that Net2000 components written to take advanced networking services can now be published and accessible across an open computing framework (CORBA) and consumed by a wider array of other components written across browsers, clients, and servers. NCA allows Net2000 components a common, open way to become accessible and extensible across the network and across different component frameworks.

Net2000 will also leverage the advanced programming tools of Oracle's Developer/2000 and Designer/2000 in building client/server database applications and NCA cartridges. Developer/2000 and Designer/2000 provides advanced web-based SQL forms development and SQL CASE design.

Integrating Network Computing Architecture with the IntranetWare Platform

The Network Computing Architecture Inter-Cartridge Exchange is implemented as part of Oracles Web Request Broker (WRB) technology. The WRB is an application server that supports application cartridges for HTTP/HTML based programs. It provides the services of a CORBA compliant ORB to "Web" cartridges, providing seamless integration between web-based applications and object-based applications.

Novell will integrate Oracle's WRB technology with IntranetWare's Web Services to fully enable IntranetWare as an Inter-Cartridge Exchange node. This will enable applications written in Java, C/C++, or scripts on the IntranetWare platform to be NCA cartridge enabled and participate across ICX through HTTP or IIOP protocols. In addition to the integration of Oracle's WRB technology, Novell and Oracle will partner in the implementation of CORBA ORB technologies and Database connectivity technologies to establish IntranetWare as a Universal Application Server platform. As a Universal Application Server platform, IntranetWare services can be fully defined as Scalable and Specialized Cartridge services under the Network Computing Architecture.

The value of integrating NCA with IntranetWare is to bring the power, performance, and scalability of Novell's advanced networking platform to fully participate as a Universal Application Server within the Network Computing Architecture. Developers can build cartridges using Java, C/C++, or scripting on IntranetWare that access Novell's advanced networking services to provide rich functionality and services to other cartridges across the network. The integration of NCA, coupled with Oracle's database services, strongly position IntranetWare as a premier application server platform for the Intranet and Internet.

Integrating Novell's Advanced Services with the Network Computing Architecture

As developers desire to build scalable, distributed, network applications and solutions, the need for extended services to enable transaction monitoring, full naming and directory services for management, access control, licensing, and registration, and other key networking services highlight the value in Novell's adoption of the Network Computing Architecture.

As businesses expand their networks to incorporate intranets and access to the Internet, they require global services, which are scalable and extensible, to manage distributed applications as well as object and components across the network. Novell will implement their networking services as part of the NCA through standard CORBA IDL service interfaces. Defined as Scalable and Specialized Cartridge services under NCA, Novell can fully publish and provide advanced services that provide additional value to applications and cartridges written to NCA.

Novell will first focus on implementing Novell Directory Service (NDS) within the Network Computing Architecture. NDS will provide powerful directory and naming services, registry and trading services, and management and access control services. Additional services Novell will highlight will be messaging, security, transaction, component management, and licensing.

Additional Information

Novell and Oracle will deliver further specifications and details on the implementation of Network Computing Architecture with Novell services, Net2000, and IntranetWare during DeveloperNet 97, Novell's developer conference to be held December 3-5, 1996 at Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel in Orlando, Florida. The conference, co-sponsored by Oracle will open new doors to develop on IntranetWare and its networking services, providing developers with the ability to build directory-enabled Internet/intranet applications.

For more information on the developer conference;

* 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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