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GroupWise and NetWare for Small Business

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Alan Smithee

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Posted: 16 Jun 1999

So, you’re sitting around at work, minding your small business, and you suddenly realize: “Hey, what this place needs is a network.” (It could happen. Sort of a psychic thing.) Then you say to yourself: “But along with the network, we need an e-mail software package than runs on Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows NT, and Macintosh clients.” At this point Boonie, your ever-faithful (eavesdropping) manservant, points out that such a dreamy network should also allow you to do the following:

  • Run everything on a single server.
  • Be easy to install and use.
  • Use a directory service to provide integrated management of all network resources.
  • Include a tool with graphical step-by-step directions for adding users, groups, printers, and applications to the network.
  • Include Internet access and web publishing capabilities.
  • Automate the process of software distribution.
  • Allow the options of any Internet Service Provider (ISP).
  • Provide an easy upgrade path to a larger network should the company’s requirements change.

Boonie concludes by telling you that Novell’s NetWare for Small Business 4.11 (NWSB) does all these things, and more. He also mentions that your company is a perfect candidate for NWSB because it’s a single-site business with 25 or fewer network users.

You give Boonie a puzzled look, mostly because you didn’t know he could talk, then you say, “But what about the e-mail?”

That’s where we Cool Solutions folk come in. We know e-mail. (By now you should already be aware of this, or we’re just not doing our jobs.) And since Cool Solutions is comprised of hundreds of pages detailing GroupWise, we won’t reiterate its virtues ad nauseam (although we may be too late). We will, however tell you about some of the differences between installing GroupWise 5.2 regularly and installing it as part of the NetWare for Small Business (NWSB) package. (We’ll also throw in some stuff about NWSB, just to keep you on your toes.)

Installation & NEAT
First off, a single NWSB installation program installs both GroupWise and the network, so installation is fast and straightforward for anyone with basic networking experience—less than 50 minutes if you hustle. Plus, when you install GroupWise 5.2 from NWSB, many things (domain, post office, config files, etc.) are automatically set up and configured for you. The GroupWise domain and post office names are based upon the server name. And files are always placed in certain directories (SYS:\grpwise, SYS:\mail\gwdom\gwpo, SYS:\system, etc.).

The GroupWise Small Business Agent NLM is also installed in the process. What the Small Business Agent NLM does is monitor creation/modification events made in NEAT and synchronizes them with GroupWise. What’s NEAT, you ask? Well, lots of things are neat, like luncheon meat that “includes real ham,” waterproof mascara, and biking shorts. But we’re talkin’ about something really neat: the Novell Easy Administration Tool.

Not only does NEAT make it simple for you to add and delete network users, printers, groups and applications, but it includes graphical, step-by-step directions that guide you through administrative tasks. And you don’t have to maintain separate network and messaging systems because NEAT lets you manage both GroupWise and the network from a single point. So you’ll maximize administrator productivity and minimize administration costs. In addition, the Novell Application Launcher (NAL) automates application management and distribution without requiring a network manager to waste time visiting and customizing each user’s computer configuration.

You could always install the full version of GroupWise, but you would not have the synchronization with NEAT. You would also have to use NetWare Administrator to add and remove users. And you would have to be more knowledgeable of how networks work and how GroupWise is set up, whereas NetWare for Small Business sets up and configures GroupWise as much as it possibly can for you.

But don’t take our word for it. If you’d like to read a review in Network Computing Online about the ease of installing NWSB, check out NetWare for Small Business 4.11: Perfect for Running Small Shops by James E. Drews.

NetWare Connect
Once GroupWise has been installed, e-mailing at work will be nice and fine. But what happens if you work on the road or from home? You still need to read your e-mail like the rest of us, regardless of you location, right? Never fear, we have a solution: NetWare Connect. With NetWare Connect (which is included with NWSB), any employee, supplier, or customer you authorize can access the network from any location using any Windows, DOS, or Macintosh computer. In other words, you can access your GroupWise Mailbox from practically anywhere you plug in your laptop.

And speaking of remote access, NWSB also allows service technicians or resellers (whom you’ve already authorized) to monitor your network remotely and even diagnose and correct most network problems without going on-site. So you get faster, more affordable service and support.

Internet Access
Another groovin’ thing about NWSB is that it includes a multi-protocol router (MPR) that allows for dial-up connections to the Internet (sharing modems and lines via NetWare Connect). This means you can send and receive Internet e-mail from your GroupWise Mailbox as well as browse the Web with Netscape Navigator, one of the industry-leading web browsers (which is included with NWSB as a special treat—kind of like the pudding snack or twinkie your mom used to pack in your school lunch). Plus you’ll save money because you, Boonie, and the rest of your staff can share modems and phone lines to connect to the Internet. Oh, and one more thing: with Internet access, network users can connect to Novell’s web sites and read GroupWise and NetWare documentation to their hearts’ desire. In other words: you get free, printable documentation! (in addition to the already free online Help).

Backup and Anti-Virus Products
To protect your data, NWSB comes with premium (and perky) backup and anti-virus products. A five-user version of Computer Associates’ ARCserve 6.1 is included with NWSB and is the number-one selling backup/restore and disaster recovery product for NetWare world-wide. A loss of key data could prove devastating for a small business. (Like the time Boonie set the filing cabinet on fire and burnt all your customer files. Okay, maybe not.) But with ARCserve, you can be assured of rapid recovery time in the event of hardware problems or data loss. And with a step-by-step cue-card interface, it’s as-easy-as-pie to administer. (By the way, if you have more than 5-users, a 30-day time trial is automatically installed.)

Most businesses will do just about anything to avoid computer viruses. (Actually, if there’s a business that welcomes them, we’d like to meet these wacky folk, just to see what true simpletons look like. We have our suspicions.) Something as small as a download from the Internet could cripple your entire network. Computer Associates’ InocuLAN will detect viruses, and like ARCserve, it’s included with NWSB. InocuLAN scans files in real time, as they’re accessed, without interrupting users while they work. And combined with ARCserve, you’ll have the fastest virus-free backups available.

Network Faxing
Usually it takes ten minutes to send a fax. Ten minutes you could be doing something else, for example, taking a brisk sit in your cubicle. But with FAXserve 5, you can employ an easy-to-use Windows interface to send faxes directly from your desktop computer. This way, you won’t have to stand up at all during the day, unless of course you’rs one of those people who actually likes blood to circulate. (Hey, we just free up your time; we don’t tell you what to do with it.) FAXserve has been certified to run with over 100 leading modems and communication devices, and a 2-user version is included with NWSB.

Pay as You Grow
With nodal licensing, you purchase the exact number of connections you need. And you can add users to the network as your business grows—even one at a time. And if your business happens to grow large enough (over 25 users) that you need to upgrade to NetWare, you’re set because NWSB is based on NetWare 4.11 and a version of Novell Directory Services (NDS) optimized for small business, so any upgrade to NetWare will be smooth and affordable.

System Requirements
If any or all of this sounds appealing to you (which it should), here’s what you’re going to need to start the ball rolling. And just a note to keep in mind: NWSB 4.11 has fewer hardware requirements and a much lower price than competitive small business offerings.


  • Minimum recommended processing power: 486 processor or higher.
  • Minimum recommended memory: 32 MB RAM.
  • Server disk space: 500 MB hard disk space for NWSB.
  • CD-ROM drive.
  • Server adapters: more than 60 different adapters have been tested and approved for use.


  • Supports all PCs and Macintosh computer systems.
  • Minimum hard disk space for the GroupWise Client: 40 MB.

For even more information check out the Novell NetWare for Small Business 4.11 web site, contact your local Novell authorized reseller, or call Novell at 1-888-321-4272 (toll free).

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