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NetWare and Linux cheek by jowl, courtesy Xen

Virtualization software support means Novell's venerable NetWare operating system now can run directly alongside Suse Linux.

For most of the world, Novell's NetWare operating system may have faded to footnote status, but Novell continues to grind away at its plan to modernize the software.

The new NetWare, called Open Enterprise Server, is an attempt to rebuild the operating system's services atop Novell's Suse Linux Enterprise Server (SLES). Version 1.0 essentially was a bundle that included both operating systems, but with OES 2.0, which Novell announced on Monday, the two operating systems got a lot closer.

The reason for the proximity: Xen virtualization software, which lets the same physical server run multiple operating systems simultaneously. For more than a year now, SLES has included the open-source Xen virtualization software, and now NetWare can use it too.

In OES 2.0, NetWare has been updated with technology called paravirtualization, in which the operating system is adapted to explicitly work with the underlying virtualization software. One primary advantage of this approach is that Novell just has to ensure that Novell works with Xen's virtual foundation; it no longer must support the unceasing parade of new hardware directly within NetWare.

In another modernization move, Novell has endowed NetWare its first support for 64-bit x86 processors through the OES 2.0 release. And a feature called Dynamic Storage Technology lets administrators set policies to automatically move disused data to slower but cheaper storage such as tape.

OES 2.0 costs $203 for a one-user license. Maintenance charges are $53 for one year, $92 for two, and $127 for three.