Novell NetWare 6.5 Administrator's Handbook

Reviewed by: Jim Huddle, MCNE MCSE CBS ES-RC P+
Published by: QUE Publishing, Novell Press
Requires: Intermediate to advanced knowledge of network operating systems
MSRP: $49.95

I've always been a big fan of NetWare. I got started with 3.11 and loved it. The best thing about the 4.x series was the introduction and maturation of Novell Directory Services (NDS). With the 5.x Network Operating System (NOS), Novell finally took the IP protocol seriously and updated printing and other services. With the 6.x series, especially 6.5, Novell has at long last got the remnants of the Frankenberg era fully behind them and have moved the world's most secure NOS into the future.

(Ed. Note: Jim's referring to Bob Frankenberg, former CEO of Novell, former VP at Hewlett-Packard. Frankenberg has been accused of selling off most of Novell's strengths in favor of vaguely competitive, non-confrontational co-existence with Microsoft. Of course Frankenberg also sold off that huge pig that is WordPerfect - the software that Corel now develops very, very carefully because it contains so much brittle programming code that it's rumored to fall apart if a developer so much as sneezes near his computer. But Frankenberg was also reviled by many Novell devotees because it was alleged that the Novell board hired him primarily to liquidate the company in the wake of predecessor Ray Nourda's disastrous buying spree. When you're busy selling things off, most of your product planning and development usually gets scant attention.)


If you are considering updating your Novell network from a previous version or moving away from the much less secure and troublesome offering from Redmond, then you should take a gander at this book.

While the book is marketed through Novell Press it was published by QUE and the style definitely shows it. One of my biggest complaints with Novell's documentation is that while they have always been outstanding on theory and networking concepts they have also always been lousy at providing procedural methods for setting up the NOS and its various components. Maybe it's the relationship with QUE and maybe it's the ongoing integration with Linux, likely both, but this is the first official Novell Press tome I've ever read that actually clearly shows you how to do things. While QUE lists the reader level at Intermediate to Advanced it appears to me that anyone who has done any networking at all could use it to set up a NetWare server and implement the various features of the NOS.

The book weighs in at 728 pages including appendices and has another 46 pages of index. There's no basic networking information so if you are short in this area don't expect to learn it here. What the book does is concentrate on installing and using NetWare 6.5. It covers all the services that come with NetWare, including user management, eDirectory (what NDS is called now), file and print services, web services, multiprocessor and clustering support.

Details on setting up and using the various components provided with the operating system are clear and well written. Each major service gets its own chapter and most chapters have an Instant Access section at the beginning, pointing you to what to use and where to go to quickly implement or manage the chapter's subject material. One of the things that continue to irritate long-time NetWare Admins is Novell's flip flopping on what utility to use to manage the server. Is it NWadmin, Console One, or now, iManager? The Instant Access sections help nail that down. While it currently appears that Novell's long term strategy is now web based administration, there are still things that are better done with Console One. If you would like to try the NOS, go here. The files are in .iso format and you can burn them to CDs. CD1 is auto booting. Have fun.

My organization migrated to NetWare 6.5 late last year. While it went well, it would have been very nice to have this book available at the time. Many of the questions I had before and during the migration are answered here. Recommended.




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