Page Three

By Jason Brooks  |  Posted 2005-04-18 Print this article Print

Although its defined in part by its relationship with the freely available Linux kernel, OES isnt a low-cost option—with 100 client licenses, its priced at $18,400, although upgrade or competitive upgrade prices are about half that amount.

By comparison, based on retail pricing estimates from Microsofts Web site, Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition and 105 client access licenses cost $7,195—a bit less than OES, even with competitive-upgrade pricing.

SuSE Enterprise Linux 9 costs either $350 or $900 per system per year (for machines with a maximum of two CPUs or as many as 16 CPUs, respectively) and doesnt require client licenses. Pricing is similar for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.

Of course, neither RHEL nor SLES offers the same breadth of network services as OES—nor does Windows. In addition, each license to run OES includes permission to install OES/Linux or OES/NetWare or a combination of the two in a two-node cluster.

Novells eDirectory, which anchors OES and is much more polished than most of its LDAP directory rivals—particularly the OpenLDAP directory that ships with SuSE and other Linux distros—is available for stand-alone purchase at $2 per user license.

Novell OES 1.0, in both NetWare- and Linux-based configurations, runs on x86 hardware only. This is somewhat of a limitation, considering that SLES 9 runs on Advanced Micro Devices Inc.s x86-64 and IBMs PowerPC and mainframe architectures. We hope to see Novell expand the roster of architectures that OES supports to make the most of its Linux platform option.

In addition to performing a clean install of OES 1.0, we could upgrade an existing NetWare or SLES 9 machine to OES—this process also upgrades SLES to Support Pack 1 or NetWare 6.5 to Support Pack 3 (if those upgrades havent already been made).

OES/NetWare supports upgrades from NetWare versions dating back to 5.1 Support Pack 7, but its not possible to upgrade a NetWare machine directly to OES/ Linux. However, the OES documentation lays out procedures for migrating or consolidating data from NetWare releases from Version 4.11 onward.

One of the new features that caught our eye is OES support for server management using OpenWBEM (Web Based Enterprise Management), which helps unify management of NetWare- and SLES-backed OES servers, as well as regular NetWare 6.5 and SLES machines.

Using iManager 2.5, the Web-based management client that ships with OES, we could fetch status information, such as CPU and memory state, on our servers. However, this works completely only with NetWare and SLES. When we added an RHEL 4 server (which doesnt include a WBEM client) to our watch list, the only information we could get was whether the system was running.

We could download the WBEM client code from, however, and could compile it to provide for full WBEM functionality with our RHEL 4 machine.

In addition, we had the option of setting up Windows client machines to consume OES services using the standard Novell client, which enabled us to log on to the directory and access file shares, printers and other resources.

Companies running OES along with Linux or Mac OS X on the desktop can provide access to file shares through the NFS (Network File System) or CIFS (Common Internet File System) protocols, and all three client platforms can access files over a Web interface using iFolder.

According to Novell officials, the company plans to release a Linux version of the Novell client in the late-summer time frame. At sites that are already using the Novell client on Windows, this will help ease desktop migrations to Linux.

Next page: Evaluation Shortlist: Related Products.

As Editor in Chief of eWEEK Labs, Jason Brooks manages the Labs team and is responsible for eWEEK's print edition. Brooks joined eWEEK in 1999, and has covered wireless networking, office productivity suites, mobile devices, Windows, virtualization, and desktops and notebooks. JasonÔÇÖs coverage is currently focused on Linux and Unix operating systems, open-source software and licensing, cloud computing and Software as a Service. Follow Jason on Twitter at jasonbrooks, or reach him by email at

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