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Reasons for Keeping Novell Products (Also Known As: More With Less)

Novell Cool Solutions: Trench
By John Miller

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Updated: 4 Dec 2004

Reasons for Keeping NetWare

Reason 1 - Cost to Switch
Gartner estimates the cost of moving from NetWare to Windows 2000 is $430 per user.
Gartner estimates the cost of moving from NetWare 4 to 6 is <$235 per user.

Reason 2 - Cost of Licensing
Moving to NetWare 6 with iPrint means that licensing structure changes. Only paying for users, not servers and printers reduces the cost.

On the other hand, Microsoft is famous (infamous) for restructuring their site license to make more money from the consumer.

Reason 3 - Cost for Downtime
Downtime is expensive. NetWare has a well-known reputation for its reliability. It just works. NetWare servers have been known to run for years without any downtime. Windows has an equally famous reputation in the other direction.

Reason 4 - Cost of Training
Training has been brought up as a necessary expense related to moving to an all-Microsoft platform. Cross training the Novell SE has been mentioned. This cost can be avoided by keeping the Novell products. CNEs and CNIs already have access to reduced rates for new classes and all of the Novell training material.

Reason 5 - Cost of Resources
According to a case study published by the Gartner Measurement group, Novell NetWare delivers greater functionality at a significantly lower cost per server than Microsoft. The all-Microsoft conversion actually generates a negative Return on Investment. It delivers lower capabilities at a higher cost per server than a similarly tasked NetWare network.

Reasons for Keeping eDirectory

Reason 1 - The Superiority of Novell's eDirectory to Microsoft's Active Directory
While Microsoft's Active Directory has made tremendous gains in its ability to handle basic tasks, no one in the industry questions the fact that Novell's eDirectory is far superior. In fact, Gartner calls eDirectory the ONLY directory in a leadership role in the industry.

Reason 2 - Cost of Implementation
The key to a successful implementation of Active Directory is thorough planning and preparation. If eDirectory is already in place, it should be functioning well.

Reason 3 - Cost of Training
Designing, building and maintaining an Active Directory system for 1000 users spread across several T-1 links will require time and training.

Active Directory could do the job, but at a much higher cost than simply keeping eDirectory.

Reasons for Keeping GroupWise

Reason 1 - Cost for Licensing Due to More Frequent Required Upgrades
Novell supports their software for 10 - 12 years. Microsoft only supports their software for 3 years. More frequent upgrades means higher cost of ownership.

Reason 2 - Cost for Maintenance Due to Higher Security Risk
Microsoft's email products are notoriously susceptible to virus attacks. Keeping on top of security patches and applying them to every client will require many more man hours than is currently spent on GroupWise support.

Reason 3 - Cost for Downtime Due to More Frequent Reboots
In a Microsoft Exchange environment, sometimes the servers just stop working for no apparent reason. The only solution is a reboot. GroupWise doesn't have that problem. Downtime costs money.

Reason 4 - Security - Much Higher Risk
When an email server is under a virus attack, it generally must be removed from the network. The loss of data due to a virus attack is difficult to put a value on. Even with good backups, the downtime suffered through no access to email is costly.

Reasons for Keeping ZENworks

Reason - Cost for Help Desk Personnel
ZENworks is the highest rated Help Desk software available. It is capable of full workstation inventory and imaging. It can lock-down the desktop to prevent users from accidentally causing problems. It provides workstation remote control based either on user ID or workstation ID. It can also be used to install new software without visiting each desktop.

Alternatives to an All Microsoft Network

When we talk about moving to one Network Operating System, we're really only talking about getting rid of NetWare. I've been advised that the HP3000 isn't going away any time soon. The Sun box is relatively new; and moving off the AS400 would be really, really expensive. So the benefits of a (so-called) single-platform solution are not going to be realized without a lot of money and a lot of time and effort.

Why is NetWare being singled out for replacement? The answer can be found in two reasons. The first reason is the cost of the annual license fee. The second reason is a lack of understanding of what Novell products can do.

The License Fee
I should be able to reduce the cost of the license fee this year by at least ten percent. This is based on Novell's change in their licensing structure. (When was the last time Microsoft changed their licensing structure to benefit their customer?)

What can Novell do for you?

Every independent survey shows that NetWare and GroupWise have a lower Total Cost of Ownership than their respective Microsoft counterparts. Novell has endorsed open source software to increase its value to its customers without increasing the price.

Free Web Server  Every NetWare 6 server runs free Apache web server, (the most widely used web server on the Internet). The Apache web server is used for network management and maintenance.

Free VPN
Novell's iFolder software (free with NetWare 6) provides secure anytime, anywhere browser-based access to the corporate network. It can be used to ensure that files stored on a laptop are in sync with the copies on the network and are backed up. Novell's browser-based WebAccess portal can replace costly VPN solutions. It is also free with NetWare 6.

Free Phone Book
Also included is Novell's eGuide - a simple browser-based employee directory that lets you find users and phone numbers on your network. It is updated automatically as you add and remove users from the network.

Free File Lookup
Another feature that we have not used much is Novell's Web Search. This software indexes the contents of a server for lightning-fast searches based on the contents of the files. Again, it's browser-based for simplicity of use.

Free Wireless Email Access
The current version of GroupWise includes wireless integration for most PDA's.

Free Instant Messaging
The new GroupWise also includes a secure Instant Messaging system.

Cross-Platform Capabilities
One of the main features of Novell software is its inclusiveness. GroupWise can run on NetWare, Windows NT or 2000. eDirectory runs on NetWare, WindowsNT/2000, Linux, Solaris, and AIX. ZENworks for Servers allows you to manage and monitor NetWare and Windows servers. ZENworks for Handhelds allows you to manage and control devices running Palm OS and Windows CE.


If the decision is strictly based on cost, then the choice is clear - Novell offers more bang-for-the-buck. If the question is being raised due to a lack of knowledge about Novell products, then let's start implementing the features we already own and begin to realize the benefits of having a Novell network. There's a reason why Gartner doesn't recommend moving from NetWare to Windows - it's a bad investment.

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