Novell's New Desktop-to-Server Software Suite: Page 2

Posted November 28, 2007

Drew Robb

Drew Robb

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Primary Features
The Novell Open Workgroup Suite Small Business Edition was designed to include a complete set of applications that a small business would need to manage most of its operations. The suite contains five main elements:

Novell Open Enterprise Server hosts file and print services. It also lets companies set up virtual offices and virtual teams, host Web sites and remotely manage desktops.

Novell GroupWise 7 is a collaboration product that provides secure e-mail and calendaring capabilities. The home view gives you your mail, calendar, contacts and tasks in a single interface. It includes PDA synchronization, spam filtering, backup, instant messaging and forwarding of e-mail to pagers. The GroupWise Mobile Server supports mobile devices from Palm, H-P, Motorola, Nokia and others.

For hosting applications that are not included in the GroupWise or Open Enterprise Server, Novell includes a copy of the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server operating system.

SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop – a desktop operating system that can be used in place of Windows on machines with 32-bit or 64-bit processors. It can also be configured for use on kiosks or cash registers. It comes with built-in desktop search, instant messaging, Firefox Web browser, photo management, music management and playback, and desktop note taking. Novell Edition — an office productivity suite, largely compatible with Microsoft Office, that runs on Windows or Linux. Modules include word processor, database, spreadsheet, HTML editor, presentation application (similar to PowerPoint) and a drawing application. It also lets you convert documents to PDF format.

To make it more compatible with Microsoft Office than the standard version of OpenOffice, Novell has licensed fonts that have the same or similar names as those available with Microsoft Office, and which are geometrically similar to ones used by Microsoft. OpenOffice can work with any of the Microsoft Office formats except for the new .docx (Document XML) format that Office 2007 can create. Microsoft, however, has a free reader available for reading those documents.

The Suite delivers the essential components needed for any competitive business, and it also features an integrated installation process to minimize the time and cost of deployment.

Add Ons
In addition to the primary products and features listed above, the Open Workgroup Suite incorporates other optional features to aid in security and administration:

  • Backup –  Amanda Backup lets you setup a single master backup server to backup multiple hosts over the network
  • Antivirus –  Clam AntiVirus is an open source e-mail scanner
  • AntiSpam – MailScanner reduces the load of spam in e-mail systems
  • Fax and Messaging Server –  HylaFAX sends and receives facsimiles as well as sending alphanumeric pages
  • Firewall – This protects servers and desktops (leveraging the built-in capabilities of SUSE Linux Enterprise)
  • Secure Remote Connections – OpenVPN creates a full-featured and secure virtual private network (VPN) that can accommodate a range of configurations
  • Remote Assistance – TightVNC enables remote control, monitoring and interaction of any client computer on a network

The Novell Open Workgroup Suite Small Business Edition includes most of the software that a small company needs for conducting its basic operations, at a price much lower than proprietary solutions. You'll find more information on Novell's small business site.

Drew Robb is a Los Angeles-based freelancer specializing in technology and engineering. Originally from Scotland, he graduated with a degree in geology from Glasgow's Strathclyde University. In recent years he has authored hundreds of articles as well as the book, Server Disk Management by CRC Press.

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