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OSA: A New Focus for Novell and Developers

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Product and Services Strategy

01 Feb 1998

An overview of Novell's Open Solutions Architecture, which represents three significant initiatives: Novell's roadmap to migrate products and services to open standards, fully embracing Java; an open architecture to promote third- party participation in building a richer Java foundation; and a distribution model to promote network-aware solutions that are manageable and secure.


Today's networks are the workplace for business, exploration and collaboration. Computing can happen anywhere and at any time. Information, interaction and connection is on demand and, increasingly, without limits of location. Businesses today are faced with ever-changing network computing advancements. Nearly everything is a computer, with the applications and solutions running on them requiring intelligent processing and portability across a wide range of devices--all connected through Internet computing, mobile communications and global networks.

With this quick evolution of computing ubiquity, complexity is also growing. Costs to remain competitive and connected can rise on many fronts. Thus, managing the "whole" business--lowering the real costs of ownership, bringing greater flexibility and efficiency to the organization and maximizing return on investments--all constitute the health of the bottom line. To flourish in this dynamic technology arena, all businesses must deal with an accelerated pace of change as part of their standard operating procedure.

Taking advantage of the new and exciting, while leveraging the existing and proven, is the constant challenge, and the source of opportunity, for effectively and profitably managing business.


Manageability is the central theme of Novell's Open Solutions Architecture (OSA)--manageability of productivity applications, connectivity services and open solutions that run the business network-- which is increasingly a network that spans local, enterprise, global, mobile, Internet commerce and telecommunications infrastructures. Managing users and resources, applications and desktops, data and information, networking and connectivity, collaboration and productivity, represents the real costs of ownership for businesses.

Customers are struggling to build and deploy solutions that use their existing infrastructure (legacy systems) and also take advantage of the new era of Internet computing. With management of applications, desktops and networks representing the major cost of ownership (over 76 percent) facing most businesses, partial solutions abound. Yet, solutions lacking a comprehensive architecture and an open development infrastructure for supporting the entire network aren't making the grade.

Novell, together with its third-party ISVs and partners, is focused on delivering networking services, products and solutions that embrace Open Solutions Architecture for bringing greater control, manageability and lower cost of ownership to our customers.

With Open Solutions Architecture, Novell is focused on delivering the platforms, services and products that address the central theme in cost of ownership--manageability. Additionally, Open Solutions Architecture provides a roadmap for Novell and its partners to focus and deliver solutions that provide a cohesive strategy and foundation for helping customers manage their whole business.

The company's strengths in delivering robust, scalable network services (NDS, security, distributed print, storage, management, etc.), a proven, award-winning network server platform (NetWare), innovative products such as GroupWise, BorderManager and others, position Novell for the future as much more than just a network operating system leader.

Novell's range of products already provide powerful management services for users and resources across multiple platforms (NDS for NetWare, NDS for NT, NDS for popular UNIX platforms), offering administrators easy, central and cost-effective administration of users across the entire network.

Supporting Players

The application and desktop management services of Novell Application Launcher (NAL) leverage Novell Directory Services for greater security and access control in distributing applications and configuring desktops, dramatically lowering the costs of desktop support and maintenance. Novell also offers client software for all major desktop operating systems. As desktop operating system technology advances, Novell is continuously offering new client features that make its powerful networking services easily accessible to users.

Rich network management services, delivered through ManageWise, provide administrators with a common console to monitor, manage and configure network servers, routers, devices and resources across the network using standard protocols and connectivity services.

Novell's GroupWise product combines the industry's richest E-mail, calendaring, scheduling, workflow, document management and collaboration service within a cohesive messaging platform, providing the most cost-effective solution for managing how users share information, collaborate and communicate.

BorderManager manages access to and from the Internet by offering rich security (firewall) and Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) between businesses, their vendors and customers. This, combined with BorderManager's unparalleled performance in caching and proxy, offers greater manageability and control of how the Internet impacts your business.

It enables the enterprise to expand from a strict yes or no firewall system to a point-to-point encrypted network where security is less of a technology issue and more of a business issue. And Novell will continue to deliver rich networking services, such as Novell Distributed Print Services (NDPS), Novell Replication Services (NRS), NetWare for SAA host connectivity and many others, to enhance and extend how the network works--ultimately helping you manage your business and lower your cost of ownership.

With OSA, Novell has one vision, one strategy--and one architecture--to move our products, services and solutions around the central theme of manageability. OSA not only provides the internal roadmap for how Novell moves forward, it also represents an open architecture for third-party participation in offering additional services that enhance and improve the management of businesses.

Additionally, Open Solutions Architecture introduces a new model for application development that leverages the attributes of Novell's networking services for developers to create a new class of networked applications that are inherently manageable, platform-independent and network-aware.

Open Solutions Architecture provides the framework by which all of Novell's services and products work cohesively in delivering more value and manageability to your overall business. In this framework, the global directory becomes central in providing the context and control you expect. Through OSA, Novell's services, products and platforms fully embrace open standards and interfaces and are free of the proprietary limitations of the past.

Furthermore, a wide range of additional services and solutions will be delivered throughout 1998 that demonstrate Novell's clear focus and commitment to creating and delivering open, integrated solutions that meet customer needs.

Figure 1: The OSA framework promotes network-aware solutions that are manageable and secure.

Leveraging Open Solutions Architecture

Novell has a vision, a strategy and an architecture to move its platforms, services and products to open standards and address our customers' largest cost-of-ownership concern, that of manageability.

Manageability is the central theme of OSA-- manageability of productivity applications, connectivity services and open solutions that run business networks.

Novell is using its experience in delivering world-class network services to move Java beyond the desktop and onto the server. To accomplish this, Novell has significantly improved how development happens on the world's most popular networking platforms with Open Solutions Architecture. In fact, development opportunities for building better, faster, more manageable networked applications and solutions are now virtually limitless.

A complete services framework for server-based Java development, Open Solutions Architecture delivers a comprehensive approach for developers to build tomorrow's large, distributed business applications and advance the role of electronic commerce for their customers with Java.

Development through Open Solutions Architecture makes perfect sense for developers to today's distributed heterogeneous networks. In these mixed environments it is essential for applications to integrate with a diversity of hardware and software to provide users and administrators the access value, flexibility and freedom of choice they increasingly need to do their work.

More than any other vendor, Novell network services, products and technologies enable that integration. And Novell's strategy of offering customers the integrated solutions they need also means a huge installed base for developer partners whose solutions make the grade.

Through DeveloperNet , Novell's premier development environment, developers receive easy access to all of Novell's networking services through higher-level interfaces, such as ActiveX controls, scripting components, Java Classes and C-language abstractions. With a choice of five subscription levels, DeveloperNet subscribers leverage the industry's most complete palette of standards-based development resources, information, educational materials, partnering and co-marketing opportunities.

Developers can join DeveloperNet and receive the latest Open Solutions Architecture SDK, as well as follow-on releases to move forward and build a new class of network application that is easier to manage and distribute across the network and the Internet.

OSA SDK Early Access Release

Delivered in October 1997, the initial OSA release features full Java server support on NetWare 4.x, intraNetWare, and Moab operating systems. The Java server environment supports JVM/JDK 1.1.3, Sun Microsystem's Just-in-time compiler (JIT), 100% Pure Java Object Request Broker (ORB), GUI support on the server, and extended RMI functionality.

Java Server servlet support and database connectivity through JDBC demonstrates easy ways to build Web-based database solutions for the server. The Java Naming and Directory Interface introduces developers to the federated Java naming interface that supports LDAP, NDS, DNS, XFN, and other naming services.

In addition, full evaluation copies of popular developer tools from Symantec, IBM, Penumbra and Sun are also available. Scripting developers can access the latest version of NetBasic (v. 7), which offers a 100% Visual Basic Script engine on NetWare that can fully consume Java libraries and components (JavaBeans) on the server.

Script developers have freedom of choice for building easy, efficient server-based applications using Perl, JavaScript, Dynamic HTML or NetBasic.

The primary focus of the OSA Early Access Release SDK is to--

  • deliver the complete Java Runtime Environment on Novell's NetWare platforms

  • introduce Java Server development through servlets and JDBC

  • give developers a look into the future of Java solutions on the server.

Open Solutions Architecture SDK (Release 1.0)

Scheduled for release in early 1998, the 1.0 release of the OSA SDK will deliver a higher- performance Java execution engine running Symantec's Just-in-time (JIT) compiler, and features improved server GUI performance and OS integration. Novell's goals are to provide the highest-performing, lowest-cost Java execution platform in the industry. Future releases, beginning with this one, throughout 1998 will achieve this goal.

The 1.0 release will feature enhanced database connectivity to over 15 data stores, including Oracle, IBM DB2, Informix, Sybase, Microsoft SQL and others will be delivered through both JDBC interfaces and ODBC APIs on the server. Enhanced multi-join capabilities between multiple data stores will increase the ease and functionality of Web-based database development.

OSA management console and installation frameworks will also be delivered to show developers how to network manage and install their Java solutions. The management console (code-named Houston) supports JavaBeans and standard Java Applets for remote browser-based administration and management.

Enhanced developer tools (remote server-based debugging), scripting enhancements, Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB) support, event services, and robust RMI services will also demonstrate Novell's ongoing commitment to Java on the server.

Developers will also receive OSA interfaces for manageable solutions. These will include interfaces to allow developers to dynamically register and discover services and solutions across the network (enabling applications to be network-aware through directory services), installation and configuration interfaces, management console interfaces, software update interfaces, as well as licensing and metering interfaces.

Additional interfaces to networking services for storage, print, security, collaboration and management will also be delivered.

Each quarter, Novell will deliver a new release of the OSA SDK to enhance and extend the management and network service interfaces for building open solutions. Novell is committed to deliver open interfaces that support standard developer tools. Future releases will also contain many third-party partner solutions that embrace and extend the OSA model for manageable solutions across intranets and the Internet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is Open Solution Architecture?

A: Novell's Open Solution Architecture represents three significant initiatives for Novell and the industry.

  • Novell's internal strategic architecture and roadmap to migrate our platform, our services, and our products to open standards and protocols. Specifically to fully embrace Java and focus on building managemable solution infrastructure.

  • An open architecture to promote third-party Independent Software Vendor (ISV) participation in building a richer Java foundation necessary for business critical solutions that meet customer needs.

  • Distribution model to promote OSA network-aware solutions that are manageable, secure, distributed and meet customer needs through Novell's channel partners (e.g. 30,000 resellers and 200,000 CNE's).

Q: What do you mean by "OSA network-aware"?

A: Applications and solutions that have certain attributes our channel partners and customers require to successfully deploy and work across their local and enterprise networks, Intranets and the Internet. The attributes of an OSA network-aware solution are; Easier installation across the network, registration to the directory for dynamic discovery, remote configuration, security in user and group access and control, automatic software updates, licensing and metering, global and central administration and management of applications, and much more. Writing an application in Java does not mean it solves customers problems in managing, configuring, and maintaining solutions across the network.

OSA will incorporate Novell and third-party network services through open interfaces to enable developers to build "channel-ready" solutions that will ultimately meet our customer needs for easier administered, maintain, and distributed applications.

Q: How will OSA help me build a "channel-ready" solution?

A: OSA provides an Open Solutions SDK that provides specific Java class libraries and beans that expose network service frameworks from Novell and third-party services that focus on making applications easier to install, manage, discover, and distributed--i.e. network-aware. Interfaces that promote a new class of Java Internet application that meets one of the top customer demands in lower cost of application management, deployment, and administration.

Q: What is the OSA SDK?

A: The Open Solutions Architecture Software Developer Kit (SDK) delivers the Java class libraries, Java Beans components, scripting, & C/C++ interfaces that focus on manageability. While other developer SDKs focus on the creation of applications, OSA SDK focuses on the deployment and management of applications once they are created.

By embracing and extending popular developer SDKs, Novell can focus on highlighting network services that promote specific attributes which every application and solution needs, to be easily deployed and managed across the network. The OSA SDK provides the services, interfaces, and tools for developers to build manageable solutions for the network.

Q: How does OSA benefit customers, developers and channel partners?

A: OSA represents the architecture by which Novell will fully embrace Java across all its services and platform. This means that NetWare is no longer a proprietary NOS platform, but an open, high performance execution platform for open solutions written in Java. OSA also represents the way Novell will express its networking services in Java so that applications and solutions can more easily consume Novell's services and become network-aware and manageable. The strategic significance of OSA is a fundamental focus on the cost of ownership centered around manageability of networks, resources, information, and applications.

OSA leverages Novell's strengths and core competency in network services to deliver open interfaces to developers building solutions that better meet customers needs. It also introduces a tremendous opportunity for Java developers to introduce valuable applications and solutions to an established distribution channel and customer base.

OSA defines a new class of application and solution that is easier to install, manage, configure, and maintain across networks. These attributes meet the primary concerns and requests of customers and channel partners in deploying business critical solutions and in lowering their costs of running their business. OSA provides a common umbrella for Java developers to build manageable solutions that meet customer needs and ultimately appeal to channel partners selling solutions to customers.

Q: Is OSA limited just to the NetWare platform?

A: The OSA SDK is based upon JDK and can run on any JVM host (client, device, server, etc.). Novell believes that everything must be connected to the network at some time and network services promote greater flexibility and support for mobile or disconnected users. OSA SDK is designed to allow applications to inherit the services of the network without limiting the deployment of the application or solution.

Novell believes that Java will become more and more critical on the server. OSA is designed and focused on enabling new applications that are easily managed and distributed across servers--thus increasing the performance and efficiency of the network.

Q: How is OSA different than other "open initiatives" by Netscape, Sun, Oracle, and others.

A: The Open Solutions Architecture supports existing developer initiatives from SUN (Java Server Toolkit and JDK), Netscape ONE, Oracle NCA, IBM, and even Microsoft by focusing specifically on how to make applications and solutions more manageable, distributed, and secure. Novell with third-party partners will defined an Open Solutions Architecture SDK that highlight network services that promote specific attributes we fill every application and solution must have to be easily deployed and managed across the network.

The value we offer developers are richer attributes that provide greater opportunity to sell and distribute through our channel partners and to our customers. While most of the other developer initiatives are focused on the "creation" of Java applications, Novell feels specific interfaces to make application easily to deploy, manage, configure, install, update, and so forth are critical needs not being met by the other developer initiatives. We will fully embrace and extend the popular developer initiatives from Oracle, JavaSoft, Netscape, IBM, and others.

Q: Specifically how does OSA support the developer initiatives from Sun, Netscape, Oracle, and others?

A: First of all, we recognize the strengths and tools each developer initiative offers and we want to encourage developers to pick the developer programs that help them build their solutions. Secondly, we recognize that each developer initiative has strengths and weaknesses--they do not solve all customer problems.

The fact is that most are focused on the creation of applications. OSA is focused on the deployment and management of applications once they are built. Thus showcasing the strengths and needs of a directory service, licensing service, security, management, and many other services Novell has been focused on for many years.

OSA SDK is designed to augment and enhance any developer initiative through open Java classes that focus specifically on adding attributed customers and channel partners have been asking for--thus the brand, "channel-ready." OSA SDK is pure Java and is designed to fully embrace and extend the consistency and integrity of Java across platforms.

Specifically, OSA works with the following developer initiatives in the following way;

  • SunSoft/JavaSoft Java Server Toolkit and JDK. OSA is built using the Java JDK foundation class libraries and will support the latest JDK releases beginning with JDK 1.1.3. OSA will fully support the Java Servlet APIs for server-based Java logic. OSA will expose all channel-ready interfaces as Java class libraries and beans to promote easy integration within existing applications. Any developer writing to the Java Server toolkit or JDK can easily import the OSA class libraries to build channel-ready solutions.

  • Netscape's Open Network Environment (ONE). Netscape has announced Java beans as their developer interface model in building crossware applications in Java. OSA enhances crossware applications through channel-ready beans that enhance crossware applications for the network. Through Novonyx (a Novell/Netscape company), Netscape ONE and Suite Spot services will be implemented on NetWare--thus allowing developers to build crossware applications that fully leverage NetWare and OSA services.

  • Oracle Network Computing Architecture (NCA). Novell has embraced the Oracle Network Computing Architecture because it has fully embraced both Java and Corba. NCA cartridges are represented as Java Beans and developers can write NCA cartridges that are channel-ready through OSA beans and interfaces. The NCA Web Application Server is fully implemented on NetWare - thus allowing developers to write and deploy web-based cartridges that are channel-ready through OSA Oracle and Novell will jointly promote advanced database connectivity through JDBC to Oracle databases through OSA libraries and beans.

Q: How does OSA help Novell's services and platform (NetWare)?

A: First of all, OSA represents the architecture by which Novell will fully embrace Java across all our services and platform. This means that NetWare is no longer a proprietary NOS platform, but an open, high performance execution platform for open solutions written in Java.

OSA also represents the way Novell will express all our networking services in Java so that applications and solutions can become network-aware and easily build channel-ready solutions. The strategic significance of OSA is a fundamental re-establishment of Novell's platform and services for the Internet and future network computing.

OSA helps Novell deliver value to developers building solutions that better meet customers needs. It also introduces a tremendous opportunity for Java developers to introduce valuable applications and solutions to an established distribution channel and customer base.

Q: How will Novell ensure the success of OSA?

A: OSA addresses a critical concern most customers face in managing their business--deploying and managing their software, networks, and applications that run their business. OSA is an open architecture that will promote third-party services and encourage greater cooperation and focus on the manageability of solutions across the network.

The success of OSA will depend upon widespread ISV adoption and third-party developer support. To ensure success, Novell will openly work with standard interfaces, third-party partners and ISVs, and standards bodies in adopting and promoting 100% Java interfaces and components that complement the 100% Java platform, rather than fragment and promote proprietary implementations.

Q: How will Novell promote OSA as an open industry initiative?

A: OSA allows Novell services to be expressed through open standard interfaces to promote greater accessibility and use by third party ISVs and customers. Novell cannot define every network service that customers need in building manageable mission critical solutions for the Internet. Novell with third-party partners and ISVs will focus on delivering open industry interfaces to promote greater manageability of solutions across the network.

Q: How will OSA enable developers to make $?

A: Novell has established a strong distribution channel that understands networks and customer needs. If Java developers can build solutions that are network-aware, manageable, and easier to deploy, Novell has created a distribution model to promote and distribute Java applications to a very large channel base. The end result is that our channel and customers are happy and the developers reach more customers and therefore make more money.

Q: Has Novell ever had an architecture such as OSA?

A: No. In fact this has been one of the most asked questions to Novell - where are you going, how will you succeed? OSA answers this question by building our services, platform and products to embrace Java and focus on manageability in meeting customer needs.

Our past initiatives (announcements) were never founded in an architecture that embraced open standards and technology that allow us to move to the future in Internet computing.

Q: Is OSA proprietary to Novell's services and platform?

A: NO. OSA is a call to action for Novell and the industry to build upon the Java platform and embrace open protocols in the delivery of new services and applications that are suited for the Internet and encourage greater functionality customers and channel partners expect.

Novell is working with many partners in defining OSA and will promote third-party solutions and technologies that we feel will bring greater value to customers and the Internet.

Q: What will OSA deliver to developers?

A: OSA Runtime for NetWare (Java Virtual Machine, JIT Compiler, CORBA 2.0 ORB, CORBA Trader Service) will be fully integrated within the NetWare OS and available as part of the next release of NetWare (codename Moab). The OSA Runtime will also be available for existing NetWare 4.x and IntranetWare 1.0 platforms. The OSA infrastructure enables NetWare to be repositioned as a middle-tier application server for the Internet that runs 100% Java applications.

OSA SDK will deliver rich network service APIs (Novell and third-party) and tools to promote server-based development of Java solutions. Through the OSA SDK, Java developers can easily access file, print, directory, naming, security, licensing, backup, software update, and other networking services.

Third-party OSA Solutions represent products from ISVs that embrace the OSA framework

Q: What will make OSA successful for Novell and the industry?

A: Eric Schmidt and Chris Stone bring perspective and experience that Novell has never had before - especially as it relates to Java and CORBA. Novell is focused and will deliver products, solutions, and strategic partnerships to demonstrate OSA is not just vaporware beginning November 1997.

Q: How will Novell train their channel on Java and OSA to better enable them to sell, support, and promote OSA solutions and products?

A: Throughout 1998, Novell will deliver OSA training and education to Novell channel partners to educate on Java, Internet computing, and network-aware manageable solutions. Special promotions, training, and sales opportunities will be rolled out in 1998.

Q: Where do I find out more information on Novell's Open Solution Architecture?

A: The OSA runtime infrastructure, OSA SDK will be freely available for download. OSA third-party Solutions, OSA tools, and OSA channel programs will also be available. Novell's strategic directions, roadmaps, and partnerships will also be located on this web site.

Q: I am a developer who has written a Java application or solution. What does OSA offer me that other Java options do not offer me?

A: Specific Java frameworks (class libraries and JavaBean components) that focus on enhancing Java applications to make them more manageable and distributed. OSA also will introduce a distribution opportunity to sell and distribute your solutions! Novell's channel partners will understand how OSA solutions are directory-enabled, licensed, and easily registered, managed, configured, and maintained across the network. Novell will provide a distribution channel for Java applications and solutions that are OSA compliant.

Q: How will Novell partner to promote OSA as an industry open initiative, rather than promote their own networking services and infrastructure?

A: First of all, OSA allows Novell services to be expressed in an open standard way to promote greater accessibility and use by third-party ISVs and customers. OSA is Novell's focus to Internet-enable all our services, products, and platform. Second, Novell cannot define every network service that customers need in building mission critical solutions for the Internet. Novell will select ISV partners that promote open standards in promoting Java.

Some partners will be providing key infrastructure (such as Visigenic for the CORBA ORB), while others will be providing value-add services (such as WebLogic for multi-tier JDBC connectivity) and end-user solutions. The goal of OSA is to promote consistency and enhancements to the Java platform - rather than fragment. Therefore OSA is completely built on top of the JavaSoft JDK foundation. The real value of OSA will be in the delivery of open solutions that meet customers needs through manageability. A complete list of OSA partners and ISV solutions will be available on the OSA Web site.

Q: How can ISVs contact Novell to promote their services and solutions under the OSA initiative to the channel?

A: Partner and ISV solutions will be promoted and displayed. ISVs can submit requests and seek further information on this web site.

Q: Will there be certification to ensure applications and solutions are OSA Channel enabled?

A: Yes. A special certification identification will highlight those applications and solutions that have been certified. Certification information will be posted on the OSA Web site.

Q: As a developer, do I need any special training to utilize the OSA SDK?

A: Pick your favorite Java tool, understand Java, and the rest is easy. We try to make it easy. Java tools will be provided on the SDK, special Java/CORBA CBT training is available, and easy step-by-step instructions on what it takes to be OSA network-aware.

Q: When will OSA be available?

A: The OSA Early Access Release (EAR) SDK delivered in November 1997 focused on JDBC connectivity, Servelet development, and the Java Naming and Directory Interface (JNDI). The purpose of the EAR is to allow developers to install and become comfortable with the OSA Runtime Infrastructure on NetWare. Beginning March 1998, OSA SDK APIs and frameworks will be delivered to focus on installation, management console, software update, licensing & metering, management of servlets, and many other network services.

* 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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