Until Novell Inc manages to put all of the product pieces of its next-generation, internet-based network management strategy together it’s going to remain difficult to figure out where exactly it’s going to end up. What we do know is that new CEO Eric Schmidt is clocking up more frequent flyer miles than anyone else on the planet explaining the plan to customers and keeping its crown jewels – installed base, and channel – intact. We know what it doesn’t want to be, and that’s an application server company; that’s what Windows NT is, Novell claims. Although Novell’s mantra is managing the network, it found time at Internet World this week to bundle a cut-down version of Oracle Corp’s Web Application Server 3.0 – now re-christened Application Server (it doesn’t actually require a web server) – with its IntranetWare product. Developers can get a grown-up version of Application Server from Oracle that’s pre-built for connection to all Novell services for heavy-duty work. The idea is that developers can use the Oracle application server in conjunction with Novell Directory Services to create Java applications for deployment across Novell networks. Web Logic Inc also has a version of its Tengah web server fitted for Novell and then there’s the Novell-optimized versions of Netscape server products being created by the Novell-Netscape Novonyx venture. It’s all about building and deploying network computing applications on Intel architecture, Novell tells us. Sounds like application serving for Novell networks to us. Meantime Novell’s getting close to shipping its Open Solutions Architecture developer kit. Due next March, OSA – a term borrowed from Oracle’s Network Computing Architecture concept, quipped one Oracle exec – provides a full set of Java development, execution and database connections plus a Java management console code-named Houston; in short Java integrated with Novell services at every juncture. Novell says NetWare Directory Services is the cornerstone of the company. Morgan Stanley & Co analyst Chuck Philips has previously said he thinks Novell must drive NDS into mainstream use in the next 18 months if it is to succeed and stay ahead of the competition, namely Microsoft Corp, which wants NT to do all the Novell currently does.