March 26, 1997 6:30 PM ET
Novell's R&D; efforts could be just the thing
By Renee Deger

  SALT LAKE CITY -- One of the first client visits Jim Morrison plans to make after the close of Novell Inc.'s BrainShare conference here will be to a school district torn between a desire to use Novell's products and a need for secure connections.

"I can go back to our client and say hold off [on making changes]," said Morrison, because Novell has something in the works.

Morrison was speaking of Border Services, one of several new technologies and products discussed by Novell at BrainShare. The firewall promised as part of Border Services, a technology targeting the seam between a company's intranet and the Internet, will fill the security hole in Novell's current product line, said Morrison, a systems consultant at Access Communications, in Englewood, Colo.

New technologies such as Border Services, if they deliver what they promise, will be just what the Provo, Utah, company needs to compete against Microsoft Corp.'s Windows NT Server, say conference attendees, consisting mostly of developers, systems administrators and consultants.

For instance, the proxy server and virtual private network that also will make up Border Services represent Novell's potential to "finally" be a vendor that can supply all of the components a company needs for Internet and intranet communications, said Constantine Speliakos, a senior network consultant at Synaxis Corp. , in Needham, Mass.

"Finally, Novell is coming out with the items we need in order to promote Novell," said Speliakos.

The company also made a positive move by breaking out the components of Border Services into what will become stand-alone products that will be released later this year instead of waiting to incorporate the features into later versions of IntranetWare, said Jimmy Lin, a systems engineer at Compaq Computer Corp., in Houston.

Border Services alone could potentially strengthen Novell's competitive position against Microsoft, say users.

BrainShare attendees also got their first glimpse of a technology Novell is developing under the moniker Wolf Mountain, a network architecture that clusters servers.

"Now we're talking about getting more out of the hardware," said Arthur Peake, a systems engineer at Compaq.

Peake remains unsure of what the technology will yield in the way of products, but he is encouraged that Novell is devoting its efforts to some promising technologies. Novell officials declined to reveal when Wolf Mountain will result in products, though it will not be this year.

Todd Griffin, director of information services at an international cable company, said he looks forward to the single-point-of-administration capabilities promised by Wolf Mountain.

"I can have a crew in Colorado watching the world," said Griffin, based in Denver at United International Holdings Inc.

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