Novell Eases Client Installation, Access

PROVO, UTAH (03/21/2000) - Novell Inc. will show off two new products later this month that will make it less time-consuming for network managers to install NetWare clients on user workstations and easier for users to log on to the network, applications and Web sites.

The company will demonstrate a universal "smart client" and the next version of its Single Sign-on utility at BrainShare, its annual customer and developer conference in Salt Lake City, which runs from March 26-31. Single Sign-on is an application that eliminates the need for users to remember and enter multiple passwords as they log on to the network, Web sites and applications.

The smart client is a single piece of software for NetWare 5.X that replaces the various clients Novell requires to access the network. At present, Novell has four clients that allow end users with DOS, Windows 95/98/NT/2000, Linux and Macintosh workstations to log on.

"A smart client will simplify installation and maintenance in the sense that administrators will only have to carry one kit around, rather than several clients," says Dan Kuznetsky, an analyst for IDC in Framingham, Mass.

The smart client is more compact than present client software, requiring as little as 2M bytes on the client workstation instead of the 27M bytes needed by the current clients. The software contained in this 2M-byte package lets an end-user workstation log on to the network and search for required applications such as ZENworks, ConsoleOne or end-user applications that run specifically on NetWare. It automatically downloads modules from the server that the application needs to run. The smart client can be distributed remotely with Novell's automatic client utility or from within ZENworks.

"The smart client sounds like it may simplify client maintenance even further by eliminating the need for us to do each installation as a custom one," says David Meade, systems administrator for Lawton's Drug Stores in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. "So long as we were able to see what is being installed and override any options that it chooses, we'd be interested in it."

Client installation takes anywhere from 1 to 20 minutes per workstation because problems occur that require special attention. "With every client upgrade I do, I have to troubleshoot many issues that cause problems," says Mikhail Sarkisov, PC/LAN support analyst with Amway in Grand Rapids, Mich.

"I use a batch file to partially automate client installation that has the required properties set," Sarkisov says. The smart client will automate client installation as well as eliminate the batch file.

The next version of Single Sign-on will incorporate technology from Passlogix, a maker of single sign-on products for Windows 95/98/NT/2000. It will let users log on and enter passwords once to access the network and applications, without the need to develop custom connectors or modify the application to accept automatic password entry. Passwords are stored in Novell Directory Services (NDS) and retrieved automatically when users want to access them.

Initially, Single Sign-on will be available for NT and NetWare versions of Novell's eDirectory and NDS Corporate Edition. Linux and Solaris support will follow in future releases of the product.

A beta of the next version of Single Sign-on will be available this quarter, with general release later this year.

The smart client will be available for download and bundled with NetWare 5.X software free. Network managers who want to participate in the smart client beta should send e-mail to pabbott@novell.com.

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