Novell gave attendees at its annual BrainShare conference a glimpse into the future yesterday when executives outlined plans to build a 64-bit version of NetWare for Intel's forthcoming Merced architecture.
Code-named Modesto, Novell's next-generation, 64-bit network operating system will be "built from the ground up" to natively support Intel's IA-64 architecture and ship in concert with the first Merced processors in late 1999, officials said.
In keeping with Novell's newly articulated "intelligent networking" strategy, Modesto is supposed to provide a high-performance environment for hosting both 32- and 64-bit Java applications and NetWare Loadable Modules. But Modesto will represent a significant departure from Novell's current NetWare architecture, according to Stewart Nelson, vice president of Novell's product group in the US.
Specifically, Modesto will feature a completely redesigned kernel that partitions operating system functions into separate virtual machines to provide optimisation for network services such as clustering and I20. Each of the modularised virtual machines will run on top of a rearchitected kernel called the nano-kernel.
Existing NetWare services, such as Novell's Storage System, BorderManager and Novell Directory Services, will run on top of the modularised virtual machines and be available across a variety of network operating system platforms. For example, the design will make it possible to run BorderManager on Microsoft's Windows NT, Nelson said.
John Miner, vice president and general manager of Intel's Enterprise Server Group, in the US was on hand to endorse Novell's commitment to delivering a native 64-bit operating system for Merced. Miner described how NetWare will take advantage of an interim chip architecture, code-named Deschutes, to improve network operating system speed via a dual-slot processor that handles workstation and server needs separately.
"The Standard High Volume Server Architecture will begin to take on the shape, look and feel of today's mid-range systems," Miner said.
Nelson said Novell will take the first big step toward realising its goal of portable network services when it makes its Open Systems Architecture SDK (software development kit) available next year. The SDK will contain cross-platform APIs for Novell's entire product line, Nelson said.