by Mark H. Anbinder -- TidBITS Contributing Editor
Novell, long a leader in the DOS networking software market, announced today that they have purchased International Business Software, a Macintosh software company that publishes DataClub, a popular package that allows Macs to share portions of their hard drives as a single, network-wide "virtual server."
IBS and Novell have been negotiating for the last few weeks and finalized the deal late last week. Once the dust has settled, IBS's products will be known as "Novell DataClub Classic" and "Novell DataClub Elite." The Classic version offers peer-to-peer file sharing, and DataClub Elite adds the ability to link a dedicated server computer into the "club," plus remote administration software.
Novell's move should give them a strong entry to the Macintosh market, one they've no doubt coveted. To date, Novell's only real offering for the Mac networking community has been add-on software for Netware file servers that allows networked Macs to take advantage of network services. The acquisition of IBS and DataClub will give Novell a significant presence in Macintosh-only networks, and will help with future networking plans between mixed Mac, Windows (we've heard that IBS is also thinking about a Windows version of DataClub), and Unix platforms. Competition with Apple's AppleShare server software will become more intense, and Sitka will have to enhance and differentiate its TOPS software to survive the 2000-pound Novell gorilla.
Still in progress by IBS's developers is a utility that will allow DataClub Elite users to convert a stand-alone AppleShare file server into a dedicated member of a DataClub virtual server. The current version of the software allows such users to make only the free space on the AppleShare server part of the DataClub, or reconfigure everything manually (while losing any existing access privilege information), but this upcoming utility will allow network managers to automate the conversion process, and will give AppleShare servers easier access to the club.
IBS -- 408/522-8000
Novell -- 800/453-1267 -- 801/429-7000