I was wondering when to use novell. Are there certain things to look for? Does it have advantages over server 2003? What about at a hospital, would it be a good idea to use novell when there is 1000 employees and most have 2 computers?

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Last Post by JamesM


This is a loaded question. Some people will answer with cost estimates, others with hardware requirements, and still others with the religious war between the two.

Novell is quite stable, and built upon Linux. Novell's email system, Groupwise, can be a pain in the rump to restore an account, but other parts of Novell, particularly the web-based management of the server, are quite cool and pleasent to work with.

Windows Server 2003 is also a quality contender. (Did I just say that?) Yep. I am studying for my certification in it as we speak. A number of nice features are included with the software, including IIS, a simple email handler (SMTP / POP3), and remote control software.

Your question will not be answered in a simple fashion. I would look at licensing costs for clients to connect to the servers. I would look at applications that might need one environment over the other. The simple stuff will be easy: printers are supported by both, Macintosh and Unix are supported by both, both have remote control, and both have backup solutions.

You can also obtain sample evaluation environments for both network operating systems. Try them out. Not for a day. 2 weeks within each. See what you like and what you don't like.

Now, if all you are looking for is a simple file and print server, let's start talking Linux....



I work in a hospital very much the same size and environment as you described, and the thing that confuses me about your question is that there already isn't a network in place there now. As kc0arf stated, there are reasons why and why not to on both the Novell and MS side. These days, it typically boils down to ability to support the NOS and interoperability of the NOS with other servers, applications and needs.

Not to whimp out on your request, I don't think it can be answered without having a good understanding of your professional and network environment.


I was wondering when to use novell. Are there certain things to look for? Does it have advantages over server 2003? What about at a hospital, would it be a good idea to use novell when there is 1000 employees and most have 2 computers?

I believe the question was mis-stated. You might be trying to say when to go for "Netware" or "SLES/OES" and when to go Win2003. Note that Novell is a company, not a product.

On Novell's side, there are plenty to choose from. For the server OS, you can go pure Netware, go hybrid with OES, or go pure Linux with SLES10. Netware 6.5 is fully capable now as a domain controller via its CIFS server built-in. Authentication will be provided by NDS/eDirectory. OES is a hybrid which provides Netware services on top of a Linux kernel. SLES10 is of course Linux with a few twists.

You can never go wrong going for OES if you want Netware + Linux. SLES10 is also a solid contender. All of these can contend to even 10,000 users if you want.


It seems to me that once you have servers and computers in place, people will want to 'help' and your problem my be keeping them off the servers and keeping them from 'helping' by changing settings.

If you go with a Windows server solution every tom, dick and harry thinks he knows what he is doing and thinks that because he uses windows XP, and considers him self a power user, he is just the person to 'help'.

If you go with one of the Novell server solutions, NetWare 6.5 or OES the users are more likely to leave the servers alone and profess their real ignorance if someone suggests they change something.

Reliable networks are made of reliable wiring, stable power and servers that just keep on running. If you don't need to set up internal email servers, and don't need to run internal web servers then simple NetWare 6.5 will be stable, reliable and robust. If you can get a stable power source with UPS it should run for non-stop, without interruption, until it's time to replace the hardware in several years time.

If you can use external sites for web and email hosting you will reduce your administrative load and complexity considerably. (This is true no mater what OS you use). There are some very reliable but still low cost web hosting companies and the accounts come with bushels of email accounts. Try Verio.com

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