Making Pc Networks Not So Nettlesome

Local-area networks, which connect desktop computers so workers can share information electronically, have spread like wildfire. But what begins as a simple network for a few people may quickly spread companywide as more PCs are attached. And that rapid, unplanned growth has begun to focus attention on the problems that arise when the network fails. Now, Novell Inc., a leader in the $1 billion network software market, is teaming up with Stratus Computer Inc., a Marlboro (Mass.) maker of "fail-safe" minicomputers. Their common goal: fail-safe PC networks.

The first step in their collaboration, expected to be announced on Dec. 3, will be development of a version of Novell's NetWare software for Stratus' fail-safe minis. Initial release of the package is being set for September, 1992. A crucial next step will be to translate the fault-tolerant features of the mini to 'bullet-proof' the Novell software. For example, the two companies plan to collaborate on software that would isolate network failures.

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