As a 20+ year IT veteran who supported NetWare from 2.15c up to v6 including Groupwise 4.1 -> 5.5 migrations and 5.5 -> 6.0 as well I really enjoyed the stability and performance of NetWare against Winblows.
I had NetWare 3.12 servers with 400+ days of up time, try that on NT 3.1/3.51, it just did not happen.
Compare Windows 2000 AD to NDS on NetWare 5.1 and there was NO comparison, NDS was so far ahead MS needed a telescope to see it.
But marketing and ownership of the desktop triumphed over a superior product and here we are today with MS still not caught up in some areas, there are still limits to how you design an AD for 20K users when NetWare and NDS was just getting out of second gear with 20K users.
Unfortunately I see a lot of similarities between Novell and VMware :(