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Novell Unveils Java-Based Management Strategy

Articles and Tips: article

01 May 1997

At JavaOne Novell unveiled a new strategy for using Java to make network administration easier and reduce management complexities created by the tremendous growth of the Internet. Code-named Houston, Novell's management-by-Java paradigm will simplify network administration and management by integrating, for the first time, all Novell and third-party products into a common management platform.

Administrators will be able to access their networks and perform specific management functions from any Web browser or Java-enabled machine, ultimately increasing efficiency and reducing network costs.

"The proliferation of the Web has fueled the rapid, exponential growth of networks, and costs and complexities of network and system management have grown right along with it," said Marc Epstein, vice president and general manager of Novell's Management Products Division. "We will combine our networking expertise and Java's cross-platform capabilities within Houston to give customers a cost-effective and interoperable solution that can be customized to meet customers specific management needs."

Houston will feature all of Novell's current management and administration tools, including ManageWise and NetWare Administrator, as well as new utilities and functions, written completely in Java. All applications, components and objects within the framework will be thoroughly integrated within Novell Directory Services (NDS) through the Java Naming and Directory Interface (JNDI), JavaSoft's cross-platform directory architecture.

In addition, Novell will ensure that a comprehensive set of third-party Java management components are available, by providing developers with application programming interfaces (API) as part of a future software development kit (SDK). Houston will be 100% Pure Java and will run anywhere, regardless of vendor-specific directory or platform.

Management by Roles Via the Internet Network administrators, tasked with the responsibility of managing every aspect of the network, are finding it increasingly difficult to single-handedly oversee today's large networks. Houston accommodates a more distributed model of network management by providing a highly configurable framework that allows shared management of networks by roles, without sacrificing security. Through NDS, role-based management allows administrators to delegate management responsibilities to individuals within their network without having to grant them access to all other management tools and preserving network security.

Network administrators will have the capability to design and assign "work spaces" that enable specific management or administration functions. For example, a printer management or software distribution work space can be built so that the monitoring and maintenance of all printing queues and problems within a network can be handled by one person, while the software distribution function can be handled by another.

This distributed model of network management will free network administrators from the more time-consuming management duties, allowing them to concentrate on the global task of maintaining network up time.

With Java's ability to easily traverse the Internet, network administrators will have the flexibility to perform management processes anywhere using a Web browser, regardless of location or platform. Houston's management information will be available via any Java-enabled interface, such as all personal computers, networked computers and palmtop devices. This function allows administrators more mobility and quicker access to their networks, resulting in greater efficiency and reduced network costs.

NDS through JNDI Houston's single point of management and administration and role-based management capabilities rely on NDS to centralize all network information into a master repository. NDS further improves network security by allowing administrators to grant access rights to specific management features and tasks. This is especially important in larger environments where multiple IS professionals have specialized responsibilities and differing scopes of control.

Support for NDS will be accomplished by writing to the JNDI, a cross-platform directory and naming interface spearheaded by Novell and jointly developed by Hewlett-Packard, IBM, JavaSoft, Netscape and Novell. JNDI will allow applications written in Java to access information on network users and resources for multiple network naming and directory services, including NDS.

Developing to Houston Houston will give developers the opportunity to build network management solutions for the Java-based management platform. Houston is designed to ease development of third-party products by providing a single snap-in and platform independent architecture. Houston further eases development by providing a common look and feel and integration of management and administration tasks. In addition, Houston's role-based management will mean developers can quickly build components and accelerate their time to market.

Applications and components written as Java Beans will be 100% compatible with the Java-based Houston framework. By basing their applications on JavaBeans, developers can start developing Houston snap-in products today. Many developers are already building Java-based products. By keeping Houston 100% Pure Java, these products will be easily modified to work within the new framework.

"Novell is moving in the right direction by adopting Java for the future of their network management and administration solutions. We support them today with our NetWorker family of storage management products and we will continue to support them in the future," said Nora Denzel, senior vice president of product operations at Legato Systems. "In fact, our Global Enterprise Management of Storage (GEMS) product is the industry's first Java-based product to provide a solution for the enterprise-wide management of distributed storage."

"We are very excited to announce our support of Novell's Java initiative for management administration tools," said Kirk Fallbacher, president of Geneva Software. "Our AlertPage Enterprise product snaps-in to ManageWise today to provide web access to ManageWise information and we intend to develop it for Novell's next generation Houston project."

"We believe that Novell is moving management and administration to the next most logical arena with project Houston," said Butler Hine, President and CEO of Fourth Planet. "Fourth Planet will develop their management interface product for this new platform to provide customers with a comprehensive, three dimensional view of their network."

Pricing and Availability Novell expects to have the Houston SDK available to developers by late 1997 through Novell's DeveloperNet subscription program. Developers interested in more information can join DeveloperNet on the Internet at http://developer.novell.comor by calling 1-800-REDWORD.

* Originally published in Novell AppNotes


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