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What's New in Novell Small Business Suite 6.5

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Buck Gashler

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Posted: 4 Dec 2003

With the Novell Small Business Suite 6.5 approaching its open beta cycle in December and the product release set for early 2004, many Novell customers and resellers have been contacting us and asking questions about the product's features, components, licensing, etc. A request for a feature summary for version 6.5 was also one of the top requests in our survey we ran in August. We're therefore very excited to highlight some of the cool things you can expect in the Novell Small Business Suite 6.5 in early 2004.

Product Components

The components of the Novell Small Business Suite 6.5 will include:

  • NetWare 6.5 with Support Pack 1
  • GroupWise 6.5 with Support Pack 1
  • ZENworks for Desktops 4.0.1
  • BorderManager 3.81
Enabled NetWare Components (not offered in previous versions)

For the first time ever, the Novell Small Business Suite will provide:

  • A two-node cluster (with support for more if purchased separately)
  • DirXML
  • Nterprise Branch Office 1.0.2
  • Virtual Office (see below)

In October, Novell announced that the Novell Small Business Suite 6.5 will feature 100 user licenses - doubling the previous count and making the suite even more cost effective than competing small business networking packages. "The response from the Novell reseller channel has been extremely positive to the increase in user licenses," remarks Novell Small Business Suite Product Manager Troy Wilde. "Resellers are already beginning to contact businesses in the 50-100 user category and are recommending 6.5 when it becomes available."

Scripted Installations

Figure 1: Screen shot from the GroupWise installation script

Click for large view
One of the most talked about features among the more than 40 closed beta sites has been the four scripted installations. With an easy-to-use, wizard-like interface, the scripted installations allow installers to quickly and painlessly install and configure client services for modem Internet connection, DNS/DHCP setup, iPrint, and GroupWise. The GroupWise scripted installation has been especially popular. In just about every beta call each week, at least one reseller has commented on the GroupWise scripted installation and how it has cut hours off of the time they used to take installing and configuring GroupWise.

Pattern Deployments

The Novell Small Business Suite 6.5 will also include two server pattern deployment methods for GroupWise and Virtual Office. The pattern deployments will allow installers to indicate their installation and configuration preferences prior to installation, and then have the GroupWise or Virtual Office server components installed and configured accordingly.

Novell has added two additional preconfigured server patterns to those that were provided in NetWare 6.5. Both patterns install and configure the GroupWise, DNS/DHCP, iPrint, WAN connectivity, and iManager files needed for the scripts.

Figure 2: The Virtual Office screen

Click for large view
The first of the two new patterns is the Novell Small Business Collaboration Server with Virtual Office. When you choose to install this pattern, or a customized pattern with Virtual Office selected, the end user port 80 is automatically configured with Virtual Office, eGuide, e-mail, and some pre-configured web bookmarks. The end user is provided the Virtual Office upon login.

The second of these two patterns, the Novell Small Business Collaboration Server, installs all of the GroupWise and DNS/DHCP, iPrint, WAN connectivity, and iManager files needed for the scripts but does not install and pre-configure Virtual Office. The end user page will just be the normal "Welcome to Novell Small Business Suite 6.5" page.

Virtual Office

With Virtual Office, NetWare 6.5 converges business and IT needs so everyone in the organization can be more productive. Virtual Office delivers user self-service and collaboration capabilities, ensuring the work experience follows users wherever they choose to work.

Virtual Office allows administrators to bring iFolder, iPrint, eGuide, e-mail, and personal bookmark services together in a personal portal for business users. Virtual Office also allows users to create virtual teams to collaborate with others and share information within the organization, and maintain their own passwords.

POP Forwarding Capabilities

The version of GroupWise in the Novell Small Business Suite 6.5 will include POP forwarding capabilities, allowing you to establish your GroupWise mailbox as the destination for automatic forwarded e-mail from other POP e-mail accounts. This feature can be easily configured through the GroupWise Setup task in iManager.


In all of the years since the introduction of the very first version of the Novell Small Business Suite, no upcoming product release has received as much interest as the soon-to-be-released version 6.5. Clearly the advancements in NetWare, GroupWise, BorderManager, and ZENworks for Desktops are compelling enough to capture new customers and upgrade existing ones, but from what we're hearing from our resellers participating in the closed beta, the new tools such as the scripted installations and pattern deployments are going to make a great product even better.

For your chance to experience the exciting features of the Novell Small Business Suite 6.5 yourself, be sure and download the open beta version in December.

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