February 08, 2001, 4:14 PM — No matter what business application you bring online, the network will be at the core of it. But the demand for connectivity -- both for always-on, end-user access and for an expanding base of business partners -- means that today's network complexity is growing by leaps and bounds.
Hand-in-hand with sprawling corporate networks is an explosion in the managed-service provider market. Thousands of companies have sprouted up, offering targeted Internet-based services that allow enterprises to hand off network chores, from quick delivery of content to management of network availability and transactions.
In fact, many businesses are starting to see the Internet as one large operating environment for deploying applications. As such, the Internet, like an operating system, needs the infrastructure and utilities to operate in a timely manner without being hamstrung by unreliability, delays, or outages.
It's unlikely that a single company will emerge as the provider that tackles the myriad challenges this network complexity poses, but it seems that operating system powerhouses of yore should go ahead and take a stab at it.
Our Page One story by Jack McCarthy this week takes a look at some of Novell's plans to capitalize again on network applications. Novell was famously slow in converting its NetWare products to Internet standards and continues to find itself on the defensive against Microsoft's effective entry into Novell's core network operating system business.
But Novell is trying to break out of its installed base with wireless management and directory applications.
Directory technology -- something Novell has been trying to leverage for years -- is the linchpin of Internet-based applications for a host of e-business needs from authentication to security and network management. Novell, which lost years trying to compete head-to-head in the PC software industry, needs to redirect itself again, this time to the burgeoning service provider market.
Can Novell use managed services capitalize on the Internet applications?