The next procedure in Novell Inc’s recovery plan is to bring its still rather estranged network services together under a common Java framework and to better explain exactly what role it will fulfill for IT departments. Upgrading its huge installed base to Java is key it says, because Java on the server is where the money is. The company figures it’s finally gained some high ground by ditching IPX for IP Internet Protocol in NetWare and upstaging Microsoft Corp’s forthcoming Active Directory with NDS directory for NT that can manage applications integrated with NT security and domain services last week (CI No 3,264). By providing front-to-back Java services for its products it thinks people will finally begin to understand how they can be used together. It admits it’s presented a less than coherent picture to customers, partners, ISVs, analysts and the press alike, of exactly what it wants to be – network services top dog – but promises that’s about to change. Its goal will be to put a product a month on to the market rather than announce products and not deliver them. It will integrate BorderManager web management, GroupWise and ManageWise with NetWare and Directory Services using Java, integrated via the Visigenic Software Inc Corba ORB, also supporting ActiveX. A first glimpse of the technology was provided with the Java software developer’s kit previewed last week. It says Java will be to its services what the Windows DNA framework is to Microsoft products. Novell will provide a persistent object store for use across all products – though it still won’t yet say whether it’s decided to use an object database from Poet Software Inc in which it holds a minority stake. C’mon guys just pick one! It’s also going back to its roots and using some clever techniques to leverage Microsoft technologies, such as the mechanism which gets inside NT Server and redirects network calls to NDS directory for NT. It’s said to be similar to the way it managed to leverage MS-DOS for NetWare in the first place. It’s not ignoring Unix, by the way, as NDS is currently going up on an estimated three-quarters of the Unix implementations out there, mainly ports by the ISVs themselves. If Moab, the IP-based NetWare/IntranetWare and Orion clustering sound like operating system replacements, well they’re not, they are network services it says. It says it’s neither a middleware company developing OS infrastructure or an OS company doing middleware. It’s sitting right between them.