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  1. Technology
October 31, 1991


By CBR Staff Writer

The enhancements in Microsoft Corp’s new release of LAN Manager concentrate on communications with Novell Inc NetWare, Apple Computer Inc Macintosh, and Unix systems and building close connections with Windows 3.0. Following its decision to sell a basic version of LAN Manager, the latest version, release 2.1, also comes with extensions and utilities that previously we might have expected to be developed by OEM customers. Among the additions to the core of LAN Manager are a Simple Network Management Protocol and NetView agent, designed to help large companies manage the local network from a central network management station, be it an IBM Corp mainframe or Unix machine. Therein, too, is a change to the client software to enable them to attach to Microsoft and Novell servers at the same time. Users should also find it easier to produce interworking with Unix machines since a TCP/IP protocol stack, developed by Hewlett-Packard Co, is also included in the box, designed to slot into the server software. Other nips and tucks include a reduction in the number of parameters that the system manager has to set to fewer than 10 from the previous 100; a new auto-tuning feature, so that the same manager shouldn’t even have to bother too much about those 10; and persistent network connections, so that if a client reboots, it will automatically reconnect and fewer drivers per client. Connection to the Apple Macintosh comes, as with NetWare and Vines, in the form of an additional software product, which in this case was developed by La Jolla, California-based Pacer Corp. LAN Manager Services for Macintosh offers all the expected file and print services, plus integrated back-up and restore of AppleTalk volumes on LAN Manager servers. Coincidentally Microsoft has also spotted the same market niche as Apple, so one of the other add-ons to the product is LAN Manager Remote Access Service which enables dial-in access to resources. The others are a LAN Manager Toolkit for Visual Basic, for building networked Windows Applications and a set of TCP/IP Utilities for client workstations which provides terminal emulation and file transfer facilities. One of the more noteworthy aspects of the announcement is the way in which Microsoft is beginning to use the links between Windows and LAN Manager to try and boost the fortunes of both products. A new browsing method of selecting file and printer services is the start of the process, but Windows is still only network-aware rather than network-literate in the words of Ralph Bancroft, research director with GCO Communications. It seems likely that the next phase of the network operating system war will be the battle for the desktop: while Novell is looking at the integration of NetWare with DR-DOS and has already demonstrated that it is perfectly capable of producing a small peer-to-peer kernel in NetWare Lite, Microsoft is boasting how tightly integrated LAN Manager will be with its forthcoming Windows NT operating system.

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