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Novell gets Java craving

Novell plans to add new Java-based technology to its ManageWise management platform for local area networks.

SALT LAKE CITY--One day in the not-too-distant future network administrators may have a variety of centralized Java-based management consoles to choose from.

Novell (NOVL) demonstrated a new Java-based technology for its ManageWise management platform for local area networks (LAN) here at its BrainShare '97 conference.

The new technology takes task-based Java management components and puts them in a framework, code-named the ManageWise Command Center, which is due in the second half of this year.

Centralization of administrative tools using Java has become a new theme for some vendors. Novell's Redmond, Washington-based rival Microsoft plans to deliver a Java-enabled Microsoft Management Console with the next version of Windows NT, due next year.

In order to spur development for the console, Novell will release a set of Java-based application programming interfaces (API) that will be available as part of a software developer's kit by the end of the year. The console will allow an administrator to use Novell's Directory Services to help local area network administrators or help desk personnel perform their duties without having access to all management tools. Novell officials said they hope third-party management software vendors also write applications for the console.

"What we're trying to communicate to developers is that whatever you're doing in Java, it needs to be managed," said Shelley Dougery, director of marketing for the management product division.

Future versions of NWAdmin, Novell's administration tool for IntranetWare, will snap in to the ManageWise Command Center console.

The company also previewed version 2.0 of the Novell Application Launcher, due to ship next month, that takes its basic software distribution functionality and adds to it. The next release will automate, customize, and schedule software distribution functions, allowing an administrator to use push technology to configure a desktop from a remote location.

In the near future, the tool will use Novell's Directory Services as a central repository that can store configurations rather than its current database scheme. Thus, an administrator can access configuration information and distribute software--an update to Netscape Communications Navigator browser, for instance?securely across the Internet, using NDS authentication capabilities.

"This product will make people happy they upgraded to NDS," said Ron Sanders, a product marketing manager at Novell.

Novell officials said they will use Java to move toward a "task-based" view of managing network assets. For instance, a Java component could be specifically designed for the human resources department of a company so they could add users to the network, without having access to other management functionality.

ManageWise users will also receive free management tools that focus on server recovery management, alarm management, email management, and database integration. The toolset is available to all BrainShare attendees.