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Developer Q & A

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01 Feb 1998

Developer Q & A


Q.What is NDS for NT?

A. NDS for NT enhances NT Domains and makes them enterprise class by making them manageable objects within NDS, thus allowing a single user object to represent all the resource needs of users in mixed NT and IntranetWare environments.

Q. What are the components of NDS for NT?

A. NDS for NT is an extremely simple solution. NDS for NT consists of a single enhanced Dynamic Link Library (SAMSRV.DLL) that is placed on each NT Server that acts as a Primary or Backup Domain Controller (PDCs, BDCs).

NDS for NT also includes extensions for Novell's NWAdmin tool that represent the NT Domain objects in NDS. A Domain Object Wizard is provided to move Domain information into NDS.

Q. Is NDS for NT reverse engineered?

A. No, Novell is an NT developer and as a consequence had the code necessary to develop this product. The development of NDS for NT is based on a long and impressive track record of providing network based redirection of services, as evidenced by Novell's multiple OS client strategy over the years.

Q. Does NDS for NT eliminate NT Domains?

A. The domain concept is still intact with NDS for NT (this insures 100% application compatibility), but more importantly, all of the Domain issues that cause users so much grief are eliminated.

Q. Does NDS for NT eliminate the need for NT Domain trust relationships?

A. Yes. Since NT Domains become NDS objects with NDS for NT, they are replicated and partitioned using NDS's highly efficient scheme instead of complex trust relationships.

NDS for NT also means that users can be moved from one part of the directory to another without being deleted and recreated as is the case with Domains without NDS.

Q. Does NDS for NT allow administrators the ability to manage mixed IntranetWare/NetWare and NT Server environments?

A. Yes. NDS for NT allows administration of all users, NT and NetWare, via Novell's NWAdmin or via NT's User Manager.

Q. Does NDS for NT require NT administrators to be retrained?

A. No. Since NDS for NT simply enhances NT Server Domains, it allows the NT administrator to use all of the same familiar NT tools such as User Manager to manage the NT environment.

Q. Does NDS for NT provide the ability to manage Exchange or SQL Server users?

A. NDS for NT provides Exchange and SQL Server integration through NWAdmin snap-ins.

Q. Is NDS for NT a strategic product or a temporary fix for the NT environment?

A. NDS for NT is a strategic solution to the challenges businesses face with domains--today. NDS for NT will be integrated with Microsoft's Active Directory whenever the product ships. Because NDS is a robust, multi-platform solution it is extremely strategic to customers.

Customers have been demanding this type of help for the domain issues they face, and this product delivers solutions to those problems.

Q. How will NDS support for NT affect IntranetWare?

A. Since NDS support allows all platforms to function as a single system, the best system for the job can be used. We believe that the unique benefits of IntranetWare will continue to make it an important resource in our customers networks.

Q. Could Microsoft's next Service Pack impact NDS for NT?

A. Since Novell has not changed anything in the NT architecture, it is 100% compatible with all workstations, applications and anything else designed to run with Windows NT Server.

While a change to the Microsoft RPC mechanism could have an affect on NDS for NT all other NT application would also be affected. We don't believe this is practical.

Q. Does NDS for NT in any way compromise NT Server security?

A. No. NDS for NT is a totally secure solution. It is important to be aware that Windows NT loses it's C2 security once a network card is installed and is C2-evaluated only for NT version 3.51 not version 4.0. To further insure security, Novell is security certifying NDS for NT through a 3rd party.

Q. Will NDS for NT support Active Directory?

A. Yes. NDS for NT will absolutely support NT 5.0 and Active Directory. NDS for NT will continue to support NT Domains and provide Active Directory support through Active Directory Services Interfaces (ADSI). Microsoft has stated its intention to make these interfaces widely available.

Q. Are BackOffice applications compatible with NDS for NT?

A. Since NDS for NT completely leverages the NT architecture and simply enhances Domains, all applications including BackOffice work seamlessly with NDS for NT.

Q. Does the use of NDS for NT in anyway hinder future migration to Active Directory?

A. No.

Q. Will Microsoft support this solution?

A. To our knowledge, Microsoft has yet to state its support for this product. However, we are hopeful that Microsoft will be supportive of this valuable solution and enhancement for its customers.

Q. Will NDS for NT affect performance and scalability of NT Server?

A. Yes, in a positive way. Because it eliminates trust relationships and gives users the flexibility of NDS replication, NDS for NT is faster and more scalable.

Q. Does this version allow me to place an NDS replica on the NT Server?

A. That capability will be available in the first half of 1998.

Q. How is NDS for NT different from Novell Administrator for Windows NT ?

A. Novell Administrator for Windows NT is a product that synchronizes information between NDS and Domains. NDS for NT uses NDS to store all information for both NDS and Domains in a single database for more extensive integration.

Q. How is NDS for NT priced?

A. NDS for NT is priced on a per user basis for the entire network. NDS for NT is sold with everything you need in one package. You simply purchase the number of users you need.

Prices are as follows:

5-User $345.00 10-User $680.00 25-User $1675.00 50-User $3300.00 100-User $6500.00 250-User $16350.00

For more information, see


Q. What is Orion?

A. Orion is the code name for Novell's clustering product derived from Wolf Mountain and other Novell technologies.

Q. Why is the service called Orion?

A. The name Orion was selected as the product code name, after a cluster of stars in the Orion Nebula.

Q. Is Orion Wolf Mountain?

A. No. Wolf Mountain is not a product, but rather a set of technologies. Orion will be created by leveraging some of the Wolf Mountain technologies as well as other exciting Novell products and technologies such as Moab, Novell Storage Services (NSS), Novell Directory Service (NDS), Storage Architecture Services (SAS) and others.

Q. What Wolf Mountain technologies will be used to create Orion?

A. The Wolf Mountain technologies will be leveraged in stages. Orion will take advantage of the most developed technologies first such as the Cluster InterConnect Protocol and others. This will allow Novell to deliver market driven solutions in a timely manner.

Q. What other Novell technologies will be used to create Orion?

A. Novell has a large array of superior technologies which will be leveraged to support its clustering initiative. Novell Storage Services (NSS), Hot Plug PCI support, SAS (Storage Architecture Services) and NDS (Novell Directory Services) are just some of the technologies which will be leveraged by Orion.

Q. How many nodes or servers can I have in an Orion cluster?

A. Up to 16 nodes, however, the total number of nodes in a cluster will be dependent upon how the cluster is configured. For example, some interconnect technologies may impose a limit on the number of nodes that can be supported.

Q. Will SFT III still be available when Orion ships?

A. Yes. SFT III is an excellent fault tolerant solution for customers who cannot tolerate clients losing access to the network due to server hardware failures. Novell will continue to sell and support SFT III on NetWare 4.1x so that customers will have the ability to select the best solution for their needs.

Q. Why would someone purchase Orion over SFT III?

A. Orion is a clustering service for Moab that provides a high availability solution. SFT III will not run on Moab. Orion will also provide some features SFT III does not, such as scaling beyond two nodes, support for heterogeneous Intel Architecture based hardware, support for failures caused by applications and others.

Q. How will one migrate from SFT III to Orion?

A. Novell will provide a migration path from SFT III to its clustering solution. The specifics will be released at future date.

Q. Why would someone purchase Orion over Vinca's StandbyServer?

A. Orion is a clustering service which will provide a high availability solution to a particular market segment. Orion will provide features not available from third party failover solutions such as Vinca's StandbyServer.

For example, Orion does not require a hot standby machine, scales beyond two nodes, and provides a single system image.

Q. Why would someone want to purchase Vinca's Standby Server over Orion?

A. The Vinca solution will have some features which will be appealing to a certain segment of the market. For example, the Vinca solutions will support the use of the local disk in the standby server as a data store, whereas Orion will only support shared disk initially.

Although pricing for Orion has not yet been determined, it is possible that solutions like Vinca's Standby Server will also be priced more aggressively and appeal to a more cost conscious segment of the market.

Q. What will Orion cost?

A. Pricing and packaging for Orion have not yet been finalized.

Q. When will Orion be delivered?

A. The second half of 1998.

Q: Will Orion be an OEM only release?

A. Orion will not be an OEM only release, however, many OEMs have expressed an interest in being able to provide an Orion based solution. By not shipping Orion as an OEM only solution, Novell will not have the same problem that exists with other solutions, where OEMs have been forced to create proprietary and incompatible derivatives.

Q. Will there be an Orion beta?

A. Yes. The Orion beta program will start in the first half of 1998.

Q. Will there be an Orion SDK?

A. Yes. Orion will include APIs which ISVs will use to make their applications cluster- aware.

Q. Will Orion support NT?

A. Orion has been designed as a cross-platform service. The first release of Orion will run on top of Moab, however, future releases of Orion will be able to support other operating systems such as NT and UNIX.

The availability of Novell's clustering service on other OSs will depend largely on market trends and customer demand.

Q. Will Orion support multiple Operating Systems?

A. Orion has been designed as a cross-platform service. The first release of Orion will run on top of Moab, however, future releases of Orion are planned to support other operating systems such as NT and UNIX. The availability of Novell's clustering service on other OSs will depend largely on market trends and customer demand.

However, because NDS is so widely accepted by all of the leading OS vendors, NDS will provide a means to support and manage other OS platforms from an Orion-cluster network, prior to the availability of Orion on other operating systems.

Q. Will Orion support multiple hardware platforms?

A. Orion is a clustering service designed to support servers based on the Intel Architecture IA. Customers will be able to create clusters of homogeneous or heterogeneous IA based PC Servers.

Novell has already demonstrated both homogeneous 12 node clusters and heterogenous 12 node clusters using the Wolf Mountain technologies on systems from partners such as Intel, Compaq, IBM, Siemens Nixdorf, Fujitsu, Mitsubishi/Apricot, HP, Olivetti, NetFRAME and others.

Q. What do I need to do now to be ready for Orion when it ships?

A. Specifications required for running Orion will be provided at a later date; however, since Orion will initially run on top of Moab, if your network will support Moab it should support Orion with little or no changes.

Q. What features are included in Orion?

A. A few of the Orion features include:

  • Up to 16 node scalability

  • Support for industry standard interconnects such as SCI, ServerNet and Fiber Channel

  • Client failover

  • Shared disk support

  • Hot Plug PCI support

  • Support for the Novell Storage Service file system

  • Support for NDS

  • Support for industry standard protocols such TCP/IP, IPX/SPX, HTTP, etc.

  • Java based GUI administration utilities

Q. How will Orion benefit Novell customers?

A. Orion will benefit Novell customers by providing them with a clustering solution which easily integrates into their existing networking environments and allows them to migrate to an even greater level of reliability, availability and scalability.

Q. Is Orion designed to target enterprise customers?

A. Orion is designed to target all customers looking for a high availability solution that provides more than simple failover support.

Orion is a clustering solution that will provide customers with high availability as well as other features of a cluster such as easier use, administration and management from a single system image, and scaling beyond two nodes.

Q. Will Orion be year 2000 compliant?

A. Yes. Orion will run on top of Moab and Moab will be Year 2000 compliant.

Q. Which vendors are supporting Novell's clustering initiative?

A. Novell has been working with the following vendors on its clustering technology:

  • Intel

  • Cheyenne

  • Oracle

  • IBM

  • Dolphin Interconnect Solutions

  • Compaq Computer Corporation

  • NetFRAME

  • G2 Networks

  • Mitsubishi/Apricot

  • Siemens Nixdorf

  • Olivetti

  • Fujitsu/ICL

  • Hewlett-Packard

  • Tandem

  • Unisys

For more information see

* 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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