Operating System Interoperability

Rather than use the same network operating system on all servers, modern networks often work in multivendor environments, meaning that you might encounter more than one of the major network operating systems functioning on the same network. Although it is completely possible to use a single operating system for all the common network server tasks, in some situations, a more flexible approach is required.

To facilitate such environments, network operating system manufacturers build in features and services that enable their operating systems to coexist on networks with other vendors' operating systems.

The following sections take a brief look at how well some of the major network operating systems "play" with each other.

Using Windows with NetWare

In some environments, you might find that both Windows and NetWare servers are deployed. Unfortunately for Novell, an increasing number of these environments are in place to facilitate migration to a completely Windows-based network.

In some other environments, organizations leverage the power of eDirectory and NetWare for file and print services and use a Windows server product for application hosting. Because it realizes that there will be such environments, Microsoft supplies a range of tools, including the following, to help in the communication between Windows server products and NetWare:

  • Client Services for NetWare (CSNW) CSNW is designed to enable Windows client systems to access file and print services on a NetWare server. CSNW is installed on a client system and enables only that client to connect to the NetWare server. In effect, CSNW is a Microsoft-provided client for NetWare.

  • Gateway Services for NetWare (GSNW) GSNW is used on Windows 2000 systems to enable Windows client systems to access resources on a NetWare server. GSNW is installed on the Windows server and enables clients to connect to the NetWare server through it. As the name suggests, the service enables a Windows server to act as a gateway to the NetWare server. GSNW is not included with Windows Server 2003. Clients do not need to authenticate against the Novell server directly. Authentication is performed on behalf of all users through the GSNW software.