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Novell sharpens Net attack

Novell announces a variety of Web-related enhancements for its IntranetWare and Web Server platforms tied to its Novell Directory Services.

Leveraging its technologic advantage in directory services, Novell (NOVL) today announced a variety of enhancements for its IntranetWare and Web Server platforms that are tied to Novell Directory Services.

The announcements, as previously reported by CNET, are part of a Fall Internet World '96 barrage intended to highlight Novell's focus on Internet technologies. Announcements include a beta version of Novell Web Server 3.0, a variety of early access technologies for the IntranetWare network operating system platform, and a final beta version of Kayak, the code name for a version of IntranetWare aimed at small businesses.

The beta version of Novell's Web Server, available for free download the week of December 16, includes support for Secure Socket Layer 3.0, a technology that can encrypt information being exchanged between Web servers and browsers, and virtual directory technology that allows a NetWare or IntranetWare server to host Web sites.

Novell also claims that performance has been doubled from Web Server 2.5 with the 3.0 beta, according to Kevin Rose, a product manager at Novell. Combined with Directory Services, the company is pitching its Web Server as the safest way to access and secure data in an intranet or Internet environment.

Also announced are a series of early access technologies for the IntranetWare platform that include a local proxy caching feature for HTML pages, new security enhancements that filter data at the packet level via Novell Directory Services to control use and access to applications, virtual private networking services that allow intranet information to run encrypted over the public Internet, and a variety of remote access and routing enhancements.

Much of the early access technology is focused on getting business customers connected to the Internet without the associated concerns of security, bandwidth, and uncontrolled employee surfing, according to Joe Gervais, a Novell product manager.

Security services in particular take advantage of the replication capabilities found in NDS. A set of security policies that are companywide can easily be replicated across a network without having to reinstall the same policy on servers and desktops. Thus, every user receives the same parameters for casual Internet surfing, for example, via NDS.

More information on the early access technologies are available at Novell's Web site. All the enhancements will be rolled into versions of IntranetWare during the next year.

Kayak also will be introduced at the show as it enters its final beta release. The small-business platform includes an easy setup and administration tool, a simplified version of Directory Services, and Novell Web Server 2.5. The product should be generally available in the first quarter of next year.

With the releases of NetWare 4.0 and beyond, the company has tended to focus on the needs of the enterprise, according to Jim Spencer, director of product line management. "Some of the things we've done with the technology have kind of alienated [small businesses]," he notes. Kayak is expected to change that, giving Novell's huge reseller distribution channel an easy-to-implement operating system for customers currently pointed toward Microsoft Windows NT for their small business needs.

Separately, Novell announced a licensing agreement with AceComm for use of the underlying technology found in its WinSNMP network management product. These components will be added to Novell's ManageWise platform and provide backward compatibility with Microsoft Windows platforms.