GuidesCertified Novell Administrator

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Novell has long had a strong name in the world of networking. Its NetWare network operating system was a long-time market leader, and remains a part of many networks yet today. Novell has moved into versions 6 and 6.5 in its current editions of the NetWare network operating system.

General Novell Certification Concepts

Those who have been involved with IT and networking for any length of time likely know that Novell has long had a well-established education and certification system. Novell’s education system still runs strong today, and it offers a simple six-step process on its Web site that helps one decide the best certification path to pursue:

  1. Decide which Certification is Right for You. Novell has many certifications. The Certified Novell Administrator (CNA), Certified Novell Engineer (CNE), Master CNE, Certified Novell Instructor (CNI), and a host of Linux-centric certifications are among Novell’s certification offerings. Linux has recently become the basis of Novell’s operating systems, thus the importance of having trained Linux professionals is imperative for Novell and the reason for Linux-centric certifications.
  2. Review the Certification Roadmaps. On Novell’s certification Web site, each certification has a roadmap that lists training options, test information, and registration details that help the candidate easily move toward their chosen certification.
  3. Determine Your Best Study Method. This helps the candidate find optimal book resources and training outlets for learning. Novell Press also exists to offer candidates optimal training and learning resources.
  4. Take the Test. Novell certification exams can be taken through Pearson VUE or Thomson Prometric testing services. You can contact VUE at and Prometric at Written Novell exams cost $125 U.S. and $195 U.S. for the Novell Certified Linux Engineer exam and the Novell Certified Linux Professional Practicum.
  5. Sign the Certification Agreement. To officially obtain a Novell certification, you must one-time sign the Novell Certification Agreement.
  6. Stay Current. Novell certifications generally require re-certification to ensure that Novell-certified professionals stay up to date with current Novell technologies.

Certified Novell Administrator (CNA)

The remainder of this article will cover one of the more popular Novell certifications as a beginning of the Novell certification coverage.

A CNA is a qualified professional who can provide administrative support for a Novell network. As of this writing, a candidate can become certified in either NetWare 5.1, 6, or 6.5. Novell highly recommends that all CNA candidates have a Network+ certification from CompTIA or the equivalent knowledge and experience. This gives the candidate a solid, fundamental foundation of networking skills that will be certain to prove valuable in your pursuit of a CNA certification.

To obtain a CNA, one must pass one exam. For certification on version 5.1, one must pass exam 050-653. Certification on version 6 requires passing exam 050-677, and, for version 6.5, exam 050-686 must be successfully passed.

Each exam tests on general network administrative tasks that are done within the context of the NetWare operating systems. Administering users, file and print servers, and supporting the NDS directory on version 5.1 or the eDirectory directory on versions 6 and 6.5 are examples. A full listing of the objectives for each exam can be found; check out It is advised to stay current with the objectives lists that Novell gives for each exam because Novell reserves the right to change objectives at any time.


Novell certification is a sign of accomplishment in the networking world. While it is known that Novell no longer holds the market share lead in network operating systems, the NetWare product is still a solid network system that many still rely on within their network infrastructure. With Novell’s adoption of Linux as a basis of their products, an IT professional interested in learning more about Linux may find the Novell products of interest as well, and the adoption of Linux is Novell’s attempt to regain some of the lost market share and a successful attempt at this will open a need for trained Novell professionals.

Whatever Novell track you decide to pursue, be sure to find plenty of study resources and practice exams. As mentioned above, Novell Press offers certified books that will prove valuable in study. Many IT training centers have a full offering of Novell education paths if classroom training works best for you. Find the method or methods that help you learn best and use these strengths to develop the skills necessary for passing a CNA exam. Use practice exams to develop confidence in your knowledge levels and to learn more about the type of test you will be confronted with on exam day.

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