Operating Systems on the Internet: Pros and Cons
Darrel K. Zehm
June 13, 2006
Although the leading network operating systems do a good enough job when it comes to linking desktop computers, servers and peripherals, no single commercial package excels in all the network services that users need. If you're trying to pick a network standard, the debate today generally boils down to Novell, Inc.'s NetWare vs. Microsoft Corp.'s Windows NT.
When choosing between NT and NetWare, users and experts say NT is still most effective as an application server, and the print-and-file services are secondary. ``NT doesn't compare to NetWare for file, print or directory services, but it's easier to run databases on it, '' says Glenn Gabriel Ben-Yosef, president of Clear Thinking Research, Inc. in Boston.
Yet market dynamics, such as the Microsoft name, more than technical proficiency, are driving today's network operating systems decisions, according to experts, users and respondents to a 200-user telephone survey conducted for Computerworld by First Market Research Corp. in Austin, Texas. The respondents were using NT 3.51 or later, NetWare 4.1 or later, Vines 6.0 or later or IBM's OS/2 Warp Server 4 or later. The key strengths and weaknesses they cited follow.
Microsoft's Windows NT
Not surprisingly, users say NT is a good system for companies that want tight integration with Windows or NT desktops and companies that want to stick with Microsoft as their single vendor.
``We are a Microsoft shop, so it's very easy to integrate NT with the Windows desktops,'' says Denny Lane, information services coordinator at the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, division of a Fortune 500 food manufacturer. ``We don't have vendors pointing at one another with a problem because we're 100% Microsoft. Some people don't like that, but for us, it’s an advantage.''
However, NT has a significant list of shortcomings, users say. It doesn't have an adequate directory...