A family of network operating systems from Novell that support Windows, Macintosh, DOS and OS/2 clients. Unix client support is available from third parties. In the early 1990s, NetWare was the largest installed base of LAN operating systems. It eventually gave way to Unix, Linux, Windows and Mac running the IP protocol (see TCP/IP).|
Except for the earlier Personal NetWare and NetWare ELS peer-to-peer versions, NetWare is designed to run in a server.
Until NetWare 5, which natively supports TCP/IP and Java, NetWare always used its own proprietary protocols (IPX, SPX and NCP). Its hard disks are formatted with the NetWare format, and although DOS and Windows applications reside in the server, they cannot be run in the server unless they have been compiled into NetWare Loadable Modules (NLMs) using Novell libraries.
In 2003, NetWare 6.5 added enhancements to NetWare 6, which came out in 2001. NetWare 6 introduced disk pooling and Novell Internet Printing (NIP), which enables documents to be printed over the Internet.
NetWare 5 (1998) fully supports TCP/IP and Java and included a kernel that natively supported symmetric multiprocessing (SMP). NetWare 4 (1993) was the first NetWare version to use the much-acclaimed NDS (Novell Directory Services), later renamed eDirectory, which provides directory services for a global enterprise.
Introduced in 1989 as NetWare 386 and again in 1992 as NetWare 3.11, it was the first 32-bit version of NetWare with a limit of 250 concurrent users. It used the Novell bindery which provided directory services for a single server unlike the global NDS directory. NetWare 2.x (originally Advanced NetWare 286 in 1985) ran in a 286 supporting up to 100 concurrent users. See Novell, IPX, SPX, NCP and MHS.
This chart compares the NetWare protocol stack with the OSI model. One difference is the LSL layer, which provides a common interface to network drivers. ODI and NDIS are the two most commonly used LSL implementations.