Product review: Novell fortifies management in NDS for NT

Novell's release of NDS for NT 2.0 remains one of the best tools for reining in mixed NetWare 4.x and Windows NT networks and performing NT domain consolidation. By redirecting the Windows NT domains to Novell Directory Services (NDS) instead of Microsoft's Security Accounts Manager, administrators can now perform most NT user account administration from Novell's NWAdmin tool, and thus manage two separate systems from a single, cohesive enterprise directory service.

This version includes the capability to access NT resource management tools, such as Event Viewer and Server Manager, directly from NWAdmin, and the capability to host an NDS replica on an NT server. Novell has also added an integrated wizard that lets you manage NT file server shares from NWAdmin. This tool is a unique enhancement, but most administrators will still prefer to use NT's Server Manager tool to perform remote file-share management.

Since I looked at the beta release of this version last October, Novell has integrated the installation of new NT management snap-ins for NWAdmin and improved the product's overall stability. NDS for NT 2.0 continues to provide strong management tools for Microsoft Exchange but does not yet provide a management facility for Lotus Notes accounts.

The only major feature still missing is the capability to deploy NDS in an NT-only shop. This version lets NDS partitions reside on an NT server, but at least one NetWare 4.x server is still required. Still, this release is fairly stable and will be of great benefit to shops that want unified management of NetWare-NT environments and perform NT domain consolidation.

THE BOTTOM LINE: VERY GOOD

NDS for NT 2.0

Pros: Provides a single directory and user object for all Windows; strong management tools for NT and Exchange Server accounts and resources; good reverse migration for NT domain consolidation.

Cons: Does not yet bring stand-alone NDS database services to NT; does not support latest NetWare 5 client redirector on Windows NT Server.

Novell, Provo, Utah; www.novell.com.

Price: $US26 per user; $695 per server, only for servers hosting an NDS replica.

Platforms: NT Server 4.0 (Service Pack 3); at least one NetWare 4.x server (or other platform supporting NDS).

Beta review: October 12, 1998.

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