SMBs

Making the case for Novell's Small Business Suite 5.1

Before making a decision on a small business suite, read our review of Novells software.


Even with the economy’s recent slide, there’s never been a better time to start a small business. Everyone seems to have an idea for a small business of their own, and small businesses are popping up everywhere. Novell has recognized that these entrepreneurs need a network solution that is reliable and easy to manage, while still being affordable. To meet this need, Novell has created the Novell Small Business Suite 5.1. In this brief overview of Novell’s affordable small-business package, we’ll look at how it provides small-business owners with a reliable, yet easy to manage, networking solution.

Target market
The small-business owner is usually an expert in a particular field. Thus, the doctor and his or her staff will understand the medical field very well, but chances are slim that they will understand how to configure and manage a computer network. So small-business owners usually turn to a consultant to assist them with their computer needs. Once the network has been installed, the office staff will handle the day-to-day support task. If major problems arise, the consultant will be called back on a time-and-materials basis.

For extremely small offices, a simple peer-to-peer Windows network will provide the small business with basic file and print services. But once the staff grows to five or more workstations, this network model can become confusing, especially for inexperienced users.

In today’s market, you have two choices for a network operating system: Windows and NetWare. When the customer is moving from a basic peer-to-peer network, the logical choice might be to install a Windows NT or 2000 file server. This solution will meet the needs of the business, providing it with reliable network services. Unfortunately, other software such as virus scan, e-mail, and firewall packages must be purchased separately, adding to the overall price of the file server.

There is a better way
Novell Small Business Suite 5.1 is based on the highly reliable networking software of NetWare 5.1 and includes all of the functionality of NetWare 5.1. In addition, the suite includes GroupWise 5.5, ZENworks starter pack, Firewall Services in BorderManager Enterprise Edition 3.5, IBM WebSphere Application Server 3.0 for NetWare, Oracle8i for NetWare, Network Associates VirusScan, and NetShield. The suite also includes FaxWare 6, from Tobit software, as well as easy-to-use administration tools that have been designed especially for nontechnical small business owners.

Installing the Novell Small Business Suite has been simplified with an updated GUI and online help system. Novell has included a documentation CD with the package and will also provide free installation support during normal business hours. Although you may not like to hear this, many small business owners will be able to install the Novell Small Business Suite themselves.

Hardware requirements
The hardware requirements for Novell Small Business Suite 5.1 are thin, by today’s standards:
  • Pentium processor
  • CD-ROM drive
  • Network adapter
  • 128 MB of RAM
  • At least 1 GB hard disk
  • At least 35 MB of free space on the DOS partition
  • At least 450 MB of free space on the SYS volume

As we all know, the majority of closeout systems that are available today more than meet these requirements.

The skinny on Novell Small Business Suite 5.1
Small business owners will enjoy the easy to use, reliable Small Business Suite 5.1. The $1,295 price tag for a server plus five-connection package is by no means unreasonable when you consider the functionality offered by this software suite. Additional five-user connections will cost you $350, and a 25-user connection is $1,750. Individual connections can be purchased for $70 each.
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