Integrating Windows NT Server 4.0 with NetWare, UNIX, IBM, and Macintosh Operating Systems

Archived content. No warranty is made as to technical accuracy. Content may contain URLs that were valid when originally published, but now link to sites or pages that no longer exist.
On This Page

Additional Interoperability Options
For More Information


This article describes network, data, applications, and management interoperability between Microsoft® Windows NT® Server 4.0 and the NetWare, UNIX, and IBM network operating systems.


Many networks in use today were first installed to simply provide basic file and printer sharing. As business requirements have expanded, so have the demands on computing infrastructures. Now those same networks must support a growing number of new capabilities and services, such as electronic commerce, remote communications, Web publishing, and distributed applications including client/server and/or n-tiered processing.

To provide these services, many IT professionals are adding—or considering adding—Microsoft® Windows NT® Server 4.0 to their computing environment. Building on the Windows NT Server and Workstation platform provides a unified way to give users access to resources on a variety of operating systems. In addition, it lets organizations extend a consistent set of system services and user interfaces across the network.

In short, Windows NT Server acts as a unifying foundation that lets you combine and enhance the capabilities of diverse server operating systems. We'll start by looking at the technologies that provide interoperability between Windows NT Server 4.0 and specific operating systems. We'll then look at general interoperability technologies.

Interoperability with Windows NT Server 4.0

When looking at interoperability issues, it helps to think of your organization's computing infrastructure in terms of four layers: network, data, applications, and management.

The network layer consists of low-level communication protocols, such as IPX and TCP/IP, which are used to transport data. The network layer also includes functionality such as terminal emulation or print services.

The data layer provides access to both structured (primarily database) and unstructured (primarily file systems) data sources. In addition, this includes access to other critical information, such as e-mail.

The application layer addresses the way an organization's application infrastructure can let applications running on different operating systems work together. For example, it defines how two applications can participate in transactions, or how an application can be delivered to multiple client platforms.

The management layer focuses on cross-platform user, system, and network management.

Depending on the platforms you're combining, you'll need to address one or more of these areas. The following sections outline Windows NT Server technologies for NetWare, UNIX, and IBM operating systems.


Windows NT Server 4.0 includes several technologies that let it readily integrate with Novell NetWare networks. These technologies address interoperability at the network, data, and management layers. Additional connectivity technologies are offered in the Microsoft Services for NetWare Add-on Pack.


NWLink. Windows NT Server includes NWLink (IPX/SPX Compatible Transport Protocol). NWLink lets you add a Windows NT Server to a NetWare 2.x/3.x and 4.x (in bindery emulation mode) network without requiring modifications to other servers or clients. NWLink lets NetWare clients access applications—such as Microsoft Exchange, SQL Server™, or other software—running on a Windows NT Server-based machine. The Microsoft implementations of the IPX/SPX and Novell NetBIOS-compatible protocols can coexist with other protocols on the same network adapter card. That means you can have several networks running independently on the same network hardware connection. NWLink supports Windows Sockets, Novell NetBIOS, and Named Pipes protocols.

Client Services for NetWare . Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 includes Client Services for NetWare (CSNW). This lets Windows NT Workstation-based clients access files and print resources on Novell NetWare 4.x servers.

File and Print Services for NetWare (FPNW). Included in the Microsoft Services for NetWare Add-on Pack, FPNW lets users log on to a machine running Windows NT Server and have their interface look the same as if they had logged on to a NetWare 3.x Server. FPNW—which runs as part of the NWLink IPX/SPX-compatible service—enables Windows NT Server to emulate a NetWare file and print server, providing file and print resources using the same dialogs as NetWare servers. The Windows NT Server file and print services can be managed with NetWare tools, eliminating the need for retraining. Plus, using FPNW does not require changes to NetWare clients. For example, a client program that uses NetWare protocols and naming conventions needs no redirection or translation.

Gateway Service for NetWare (GSNW). Included with Windows NT Server, GSNW lets Windows NT Server act as a gateway to a NetWare network, allowing you access to all the resources on a NetWare server. Windows NT Workstation-based clients can access NetWare resources using TCP/IP, the native network communication protocol for Windows NT. In addition, GSNW allows Windows NT Server-based network clients to access files on a NetWare server without requiring a NetWare client redirector on an IPX/SPX protocol stack (such as NWLink). These efficiencies reduce the administrative load for each client and improve network performance.

GSNW also supports Novell's NetWare Directory Services (NDS) navigation, authentication, printing, and login scripts. This support allows NetWare clients to take advantage of the Windows NT Server platform and still retain fully functional access to their NetWare 4.x servers via the Windows NT Server gateway. Lastly, GSNW lets a machine running Windows NT Server act as a communications server to a NetWare network, re-sharing the network connections from the NetWare server. So, for example, you can use Windows NT Server Remote Access Service to access NetWare server resources.


Client Services for NetWare (CSNW). Included with Windows NT Workstation 4.0, CSNW lets you use a single login and password for Windows NT and NetWare. CSNW supports Novell's NDS authentication, including authentication to multiple NDS trees. It also provides full support for NDS property pages, NDS passwords, and processing NetWare login scripts.

Directory Service Manager for NetWare (DSMN). Included in the Microsoft Services for NetWare Add-on Pack, DSMN allows you to centrally manage NetWare binderies. Using DSMN, NetWare Servers can be added to a Windows NT Server domain, where they can be centrally managed with Windows NT Server utilities. By offering a simple, direct administration for growing networks, DSMN helps administrators manage multiple environments with a central point of administration. Administrators can manage NetWare servers and manage the user accounts on the servers as if they were native Windows NT Server user accounts. In addition, DSMN gives users a single network login to all services, including applications.

More Resources

Read Network VAR magazine's "Migrating to Windows NT 4.0"


For basic integration with UNIX systems, Windows NT Server includes support for the industry-standard protocols used by UNIX systems, such as TCP/IP and DNS. To make it easier to integrate existing UNIX environments with Windows NT Server, Microsoft offers the Windows NT Services for UNIX Add-on Pack. This includes technologies for resource sharing, remote administration, password synchronization and common scripting across platforms.


Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP). Windows NT Server includes TCP/IP, the primary transport protocol for the Internet and intranets as well as for homogeneous and heterogeneous networks. Having TCP/IP built into the operating system enables Windows NT Server to exchange data with both UNIX hosts and the Internet.

FTP, HTTP, and Telnet. Through FTP and HTTP services, users can copy files across networks of heterogeneous systems and then manipulate them locally as text files or even Microsoft Word documents. In addition to copying UNIX files, PC users can access character-based UNIX applications through the Windows NT support for remote logon. By running terminal emulation software built into the Microsoft Windows® 95, Windows 98, and Windows NT operating systems, a user of a Windows-based computer can log on to a UNIX timesharing server in a manner similar to a dial-up connection. After entering an authorized user name and password, PC users will be able to employ character-based applications residing on the remote UNIX workstation as if they were logged on to the system directly.

Domain Name System (DNS) Service. DNS is a set of protocols and services on a TCP/IP network that allows users of the network to employ hierarchical user-friendly names when looking for other computers instead of having to remember IP addresses. Windows NT Server 4.0 has a built-in, standards-based DNS service. This allows administrators to easily migrate from their existing DNS to the Windows NT Server DNS, or coexist with a non-Microsoft DNS.

Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) and BOOTP. The standards-based DHCP protocol can automatically configure a host during boot up on a TCP/IP network as well as change settings while the host is attached. This lets all available IP addresses be stored in a central database along with associated configuration information such as the subnet mask, gateways, and address of DNS servers. Since DHCP for Windows NT Server is based on industry standards, it supports requests from any clients supporting these RFC's. The Microsoft DHCP server also offers Boot Protocol (BOOTP) support, used for booting diskless workstations.

Network File System (NFS). Included in the Windows NT Services for UNIX Add-on Pack, NFS is a standard for sharing files and printers in the UNIX environment. The NFS client and server software Add-on lets Windows NT Server users access files on UNIX and lets UNIX users access files on Windows NT Server.

Advanced Server for UNIX (ASU). ASU extends interoperability between Windows NT and UNIX providing full Windows NT domain controller support on UNIX. The UNIX system can be either a Primary Domain Controller or Backup Domain Controller in a Windows NT environment. This means that the users can log on to the Windows NT-based network once and gain access to resources distributed between a UNIX server and Windows NT Server on the network. AT&T exclusively licenses the ASU technology to virtually all major UNIX suppliers, such as Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, Data General, Fujitsu-ICL, and Siemens-Nixdorf.


Oracle database access. The Microsoft Visual Studio® Enterprise Edition development system offers comprehensive support for Oracle 7.3 and later databases. Using Visual Studio, developers can visually build or edit data-driven Web pages quickly from multiple data sources. In addition, developers can use Visual Studio to build and edit stored procedures, database diagrams, triggers, and scripts.

Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) and OLE DB. ODBC is a software interface that separates the access to data from the data sources, making it easier to access a database on a network. The ODBC database access interface lets programmers access data from a diverse set of sources, using a standard series of functions and commands. This means an application developer using ODBC can create applications that can connect to databases running on either UNIX or Windows NT Server and have their application code run in exactly the same way. This shields programmers from having to code to each specific data source's requirements, an efficiency that can significantly increases productivity. OLE DB takes ODBC a step further. Whereas ODBC is designed around accessing relational data sources using Structured Query Language (SQL), OLE DB is focused on providing access to any data, anywhere. For example, there is an ODBC provider that provides access to Windows NT Server 4.0, Novell version 3, and NDS directory services—all through OLE DB.

Microsoft Outlook® Express for UNIX. This version of Outlook Express lets you connect messaging solutions across both environments, such as retrieving mail from an Exchange Server on a UNIX workstation.


Web Access Using Microsoft Internet Explorer for UNIX, Web applications and Internet-intranet access can now be delivered to UNIX desktops in the familiar Internet Explorer interface. Client/server applications can be designed to operate within the browser across multiple platforms.

Transaction Internet Protocol (TIP). An Internet draft, under review by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), TIP describes a standard two-phase commit protocol. It enables heterogeneous transaction managers to coordinate distributed transactions. It can be used with any application protocol, but it is especially important for the Internet HTTP protocol. For examples of TIP and other information, see this specification document:

Microsoft Transaction Server 2.0 (Enhanced Support for Oracle 7.3). Microsoft Transaction Server (MTS) is a component-based transaction processing system of Windows NT that combines the features of a transaction processing (TP) monitor and an object request broker. MTS defines a programming model and provides a run-time environment and graphical administration tool for managing enterprise applications. Microsoft Message Queue Server allows applications to communicate with other application programs by sending and receiving messages.

Today, Oracle databases can participate in MTS-based transactions. This is possible because Oracle version 7.3.3 for Windows NT supports the XA interface, and Microsoft has enhanced the Microsoft Oracle ODBC driver to work with Microsoft Transaction Server. Users can access Oracle databases on UNIX and other operating environments, and these databases can participate in transactions. For example, users can update a Microsoft SQL Server™- based database on one Windows NT-based system, an Oracle database on another Windows NT-based system, and an Oracle database on a UNIX system under a single atomic transaction. If the transaction commits, all three databases are updated. If the transaction quits, all work performed on all three databases is backed out. Microsoft Transaction Server interoperates with any Oracle platform accessible from Windows NT, Windows 95, or Windows 98. Microsoft Distributed Transaction Coordinator (DTC) does not have to be running on UNIX and other non-Windows NT platforms in order for an MTS component to update Oracle databases.

Microsoft Transaction Server also works with Oracle 8 databases. However, users must gain access to the Oracle 8 database server by using the Oracle 7.3 client. Customers must use the Microsoft Oracle ODBC Driver supplied with Microsoft Transaction Server version 2.0 with Oracle database because it is the only Oracle OBDC driver that works with MTS.

COM and DCOM. COM, the Component Object Model, is a Microsoft specification for developing distributed transaction-based applications and defining the manner by which objects interact through an exposed interface. DCOM extends the COM model and provides applications with a way to interact remotely over a network.

DCOM on UNIX. Microsoft is working with partners to port DCOM onto non-Microsoft platforms, including Solaris. Programmers who develop on Windows NT-only environments will find the same DCOM Application Programming Interface (API) and the same behavior in a heterogeneous environment with clients running Windows NT Server and UNIX servers.

Employing DCOM on UNIX, users can:

  • Port DCOM server applications from Windows NT operating environments to UNIX operating environments.

  • Create wrappers for existing UNIX applications, providing DCOM access to the applications by clients running Windows.

  • Develop new distributed UNIX applications that take advantage of the DCOM distribution mechanism. These applications can make the most of the DCOM reuse, version independence, and language independence capabilities.

COM/CORBA Interoperability. A leading CORBA provider, Iona Technologies, recently licensed COM from Microsoft Corporation, and introduced OrbixCOMet to build a bridge between CORBA and COM. OrbixCOMet provides bidirectional integration between COM and CORBA applications, and complete support for COM-CORBA mapping along with Automation-CORBA mapping. It provides a client-side bridge, enabling COM/Automation clients to talk directly to CORBA servers with support for callbacks. OrbixCOMet Desktop gives developers the ability to build heterogeneous systems using COM and CORBA components with minimum performance impact.


Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP). The SNMP service is included in the current versions of Windows server and client operating systems. This means that UNIX network administrators can use SNMP management software such as HP OpenView and IBM NetView to manage Windows systems. Using such products, system administrators on Windows NT Server can also manage UNIX clients.

Administrative Tools. The Windows NT Services for UNIX Add-on Pack offers three methods to simplify the administration of combined Windows NT Server and UNIX networks. The first is password synchronization between Windows NT Server and UNIX servers. This reduces user confusion and administrator workload. Second, Services for UNIX offers Telnet administration of both UNIX and Windows NT Servers, providing access to all network administration from a single client workstation. Third, Services for UNIX provides KORN Shell and common UNIX commands allowing UNIX shell scripts to execute on Windows NT Server. This means UNIX administrators can use familiar UNIX commands on Windows NT Server.

More Resources

Learn more about the Windows NT Services for UNIX Add-on Pack

Read "Build Reliable and Scalable N-tier Applications that Run on Both Windows NT and Unix"

Read the Windows NT and UNIX Interoperability White Paper

  • Check out Microsoft TechNet

Find vendors that provide UNIX Interoperability products and services:

Read Performance Computing Magazine's article "Serve up Microsoft Networking on Unix".


Microsoft SNA Server 4.0 acts as a gateway and integration tool for integrating Windows NT Server-based networks with IBM systems. Microsoft SNA Server is a LAN-to-SNA gateway that provides SNA communications for LAN-based services and multiple platform PC workstations running a variety of network protocols. SNA Server employs a client-server architecture that is tightly integrated with Microsoft Windows NT Server. With SNA Server, each PC uses a standard local area network protocol such as TCP/IP, IPX/SPX, NetBEUI, or AppleTalk to connect to one or more Microsoft SNA Server computers. In turn, these Windows NT-based systems are connected to mainframe and AS/400 systems using IBM SNA protocols.


Microsoft SNA Server provides the following network interoperability capabilities:

Protocol support. SNA Server can be configured as an IBM PU 2.0, PU 2.1, APPN LEN node or support a DSPU. Logical Unit (LU) services provided are LU 0, 1,2,3 and LU 6.2. SNA API support is comprehensive with the inclusion of APPC, EHNAPPC, CPI-C, CSV, LUA/SLI, and ODBC/DRDA. SNA Server also supports TN3270 clients via the inclusion of a TN3270 server and provides for high speed file transfer through support of APPC File Transfer Protocol ( AFTP).

Host Print Service. This provides printing support for LU1 and LU3 data streams from mainframes and AS/400s.

Mainframe printing (provided by Microsoft SNA Server). Support includes LU1 and LU3 data streams, with pass-through support for Intelligent Printer Data Stream (IPDS). IPDS pass-through support allows organizations to send mainframe print jobs to LAN printers without changing their host applications. Full Advanced Function Presentation (AFP) support can be obtained through third-party add-on products for Host Print Service.

AS/400 printing support (provided by Microsoft SNA Server). This support includes standard SCS line printing as well as pass-through support for host-based 3812 graphics printer emulation by using the AS/400's native Host Print Transform function.


Microsoft SNA Server provides the following data interoperability capabilities:

Shared Folders. Users access AS/400 shared folders-based files as if they were on a local drive of a Windows NT Server. This allows you to apply the same Windows NT security permissions and access rights to shared folders as with any other file.

OLEDB drivers for VSAM and AS/400. These drivers provide record level access to VSAM files in the mainframe environment, and OS/400 Physical and Logical files. Includes VSAM file copy to transfer mainframe files to Windows NT Server. This utility allows users to transfer VSAM files to Windows NT Server with a simple command line interface.

ODBC/DRDA Driver for DB/2. Provides full SQL access to DB/2 databases on mainframe and AS/400 platforms. Combined with the security features of SNA Server, developers have complete, secure access to enterprise data.

AFTP and AFTP-FTP Gateway. Provides access to AFTP file transfer on mainframe and AS/400 systems. The AFTP-FTP gateway provides standard FTP client to access host files on any host system running AFTP.

Data Transformation Services (DTS). DTS simplifies the process of importing and transforming data from multiple, heterogeneous sources, either interactively or automatically. Custom transformation objects can be created that integrate into third-party applications. DTS supports data lineage, making it easy to track data and verify its origin and the date it was created.

Exchange. The OfficeVision, SNADS, and MEMO gateway lets Microsoft Exchange users share messages between Exchange servers and these host environments. It also provides functionality such as synchronizing the enterprise address book or the PS-CICS address book with the Exchange Server address book.


SNA Server. As an application integration platform, SNA Server 4.0 allows developers to leverage existing AS/400 and mainframe data and applications using today's programming techniques. It lets developers quickly build distributed client/server solutions directly accessing mainframe or AS/400 resources without requiring training on mainframe or AS/400 programming.

COMTI. COM Transaction Integrator for CICS and IMS (COMTI) provides an interface between automation components and mainframe-based applications that lets you leverage existing COBOL applications without rewriting them for use in a client/server or Web environment. Running on Windows NT Server, COMTI-created components appear as simple automation servers that developers can easily add to their application. Behind the scenes, COMTI functions as a proxy that communicates with an application program running on IBM's Multiple Virtual Storage (MVS) operating system. You can invoke legacy applications on the host and return values to a Web-based client without rewriting your host application.

COMTI with 2-Phase Commit for IMS. This supports full transactional coordination between transactions executing under Microsoft Transaction Server (MTS) and under Information Management System (IMS). As a result, COMTI now enables distributed units of work to be created between MTS and CICS (Customer Information Control System) or IMS transactions. Reliable updates are performed using two-phase commit protocols; that is, Advanced Program-to-Program Communications (APPC) sync level 2 protocols. (Note: Although COMTI supports the use of IMS version 4.0 or later for non-transactional access to IMS, IMS 6.0 is required to support transactional coordination with COMTI. Additionally, IBM's Resource Recovery Services [RRS] must also be installed and configured to support transactional access to IMS.)

COMTI Support for COM User-Defined Types (UDTs). COMTI supports user-defined types (UDTs) recently added to Microsoft COM (Component Object Model) automation. This new capability enables COMTI to map a group of COBOL fields onto a single value described by a UDT. This UDT support provides the means whereby COMTI can handle more complex COBOL structures, such as nested groups, without requiring users to transform COBOL manually.

COMTI TCP/IP Support. COMTI supports TCP connectivity to CICS and IMS. Concurrent Server and MSLink are supported for CICS. Support for the IMS Implicit and Explicit modes on IMS is planned. OTMA is not supported in Beta 2.


Password Synchronization and Single Sign On. SNA Server 4.0 lets users employ one sign-on and password for multiple environments, such as Windows NT, AS/400, and S/390.

More Resources

Read "Integrate the Enterprise"

  • Check out Microsoft TechNet

Find an SNA specialist

Additional Interoperability Options

Unifying File Access Using the Distributed File System

Being able to access files on a variety of server operating systems is helpful. Even more helpful is being able to do so in a simple, unified way. That's the job of the Microsoft Distributed File System (Dfs) for Windows NT Server. Dfs makes it easier to find and manage data on a network. It does this by uniting files on different machines into a single name space. That way, IT Managers can build a single, hierarchical view of multiple file servers and file server shares on a network.

This means that Windows NT Server, Novell NetWare, and UNIX-based file systems can all be unified under a common naming structure. Both internal and external file systems, including files on the Internet, can be mapped into a Dfs structure. This provides significant benefits to users working on a heterogeneous network: Rather than seeing a physical network consisting of many file servers with a different directory structure users can see the few key logical directories they need. Dfs is available today for Windows NT Server 4.0.

Connecting with Macintosh

Microsoft Windows NT Server Services for Macintosh is an integrated component of Windows NT Server, making it possible for computers running Windows NT Server and Apple Macintosh Clients to share files and printers. Services for Macintosh File and Print Services allow Macintosh users access to Windows NT Server 4.0. Macintosh clients can print Postscript jobs to either Postscript or non-Postscript printers using the Windows NT Server print server. Server-side print spooling means faster return to the application and increased productivity for Macintosh clients.

For More Information

Interoperability Web Site – Microsoft's Interoperability Strategy, Framework, and Solutions

See the Interoperability resources on TechNet at

Learn about Universal Data Access

  • Check out Microsoft TechNet

For details about the Component Object Model (COM)

  • Check out Microsoft TechNet

SNA White Papers: Check out Microsoft TechNet

For more about application services including Microsoft Transaction Server and Microsoft Message Queue Server, check out Microsoft TechNet.

View the online NetShow seminar on Windows NT Server file and print services

  • Check out Microsoft TechNet

For information on how to acquire add-on packs for UNIX and NetWare

Learn more about interoperability from the book "Deploying Windows NT 4 in the Enterprise" by James Plas (1997, SAMS Publishing). Search on "deploying" at

For the latest information on Windows NT Server, check out Microsoft TechNet.

© 1999 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

The information contained in this document represents the current view of Microsoft Corporation on the issues discussed as of the date of publication. Because Microsoft must respond to changing market conditions, it should not be interpreted to be a commitment on the part of Microsoft, and Microsoft cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information presented after the date of publication.

This White Paper is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS DOCUMENT.

Microsoft,the BackOffice logo, Outlook, Visual Studio, Windows, and Windows NT are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation.

Other product or company names mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Microsoft Corporation • One Microsoft Way • Redmond, WA 98052-6399 • USA

0X97 Part no. 098-XXXXX