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Novell looks for next big thing

The firm has shipped its latest operating system only since the fall, but it's already talking about its next plans.

Novell has been shipping the latest release of its operating system only since last fall, but that isn't stopping the resurgent networking software firm from disclosing details about its next plans.

Executives of Novell, which will be holding their annual user conference beginning March 21, said the company will release new technology for its NetWare operating system that makes the software and associated services such as its directory, or NDS, more useful in more powerful servers.

Novell also plans to demonstrate a version of its 64-bit operating system, code-named Modesto, to attendees of the BrainShare conference. The existence of Modesto was disclosed at last year's conference.

Novell plans to run a 64-bit software application on top of Modesto using an emulator from Intel that mimics the performance in the company's 64-bit Merced processor, according to Novell executives. The chip is a key to Intel's strategy to penetrate the upper reaches of corporations with its PC-based hardware.

Merced-based chips are expected to debut by the middle of next year.

The new technology for Netware, code-named 6 Pack, essentially takes Novell services--such as its support of the Internet Protocol and NDS--and improves their performance in high-end systems, especially a new set of eight-way Intel-based servers expected to roll out soon from computer manufacturers.

The first beta release of 6 Pack is scheduled for April, according to Brian Faustyn, director of product marketing for NetWare. A final release is likely to coincide with the debut of eight-way servers scheduled for late in the second quarter.

The moves follow the company's announcement of a more robust directory earlier this week.

The company also plans to roll out a new management application akin to the company's Zen Works suite of software for managing Microsoft Windows-based desktops using NDS that extends the functions to server systems.