Moving NetWare Services to Linux | SUSE Communities

Moving NetWare Services to Linux


For the longest time, customers, partners and many Novell-ians have ubiquitously viewed NetWare as a monolithic Network Operating System – and for earlier versions of NetWare, they were all right. But, there is a fundamental difference between NetWare and NetWare Services.

Virtually all individuals and companies that value NetWare, value NetWare Services. Yes, the NetWare Kernel was and is an immensely powerful, efficient and stable platform to run these services on, but that’s just it, the NetWare Kernel is just a platform. The key is that to meet our own expectations, we could never be as comfortable putting those services on someone else’s platform (could you imagine depending on a Windows Server to provide the same level of performance as NetWare?). Now before everyone piles on and tells me that we did have NetWare on Windows and NetWare on IBM, let’s just deal with that now – is anyone running those today? … Exactly! And that makes my point. Until a suitable replacement “kernel” was available, Novell recognized the need to stay put.

Up until NetWare 3, NetWare was essentially a single image NOS and required the OS to be “compiled” to include all the services (what few there were) the customer wanted to deploy. NetWare 3 started the trend towards a loosely coupled set of services but was still tightly integrated into the NetWare Kernel. You might say it was still a single image NOS. Starting with NetWare 6.5, the Services began to be separated from the kernel although they were still highly dependent on the kernel. Here is were I begin to distinguish the difference between NetWare Services and the NetWare Kernel. This diagram is useful to more full depict the evolution that has taken place.


Enter Linux

Based on the growing popularity and proven stability of this new, open source platform called Linux, the choice was made to introduce Linux to the armory of tools Novell used to deliver solutions to our customers challenges. Our very first, and some might say failed, offer of NetWare Services on Linux was something called Novell Nterprise Linux Services. It succeeded in demonstrating that traditional NetWare services could be ported to the Linux platform, and helped us articulate a future road map for NetWare Services. Of course, along the way, we made a small acquisition, SUSE, which brings us to the new platform for NetWare Services, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

We’ve now spent several years rebuilding, reworking, and repackaging these NetWare Services until we’ve nearly achieved the goal of 100% parity of our heritage NetWare Services on a Linux platform. Of the Services still lagging, like Audit and FTP, we will continue to work to add them to upcoming releases. Now you might ask, what about BorderManager? BorderManager was never a NetWare Service although it was often seen as a one. It was and is not. Now BorderManager is a powerful edge service, but there are no plans to move that application to Linux. Although this is of immense interest to many customers, I’ll defer discussion of that subject to a future post.

Now, back to the point of this post. Novell Open Enterprise Server has virtually every service found on NetWare but gives our customers the added flexibility to run thousands of third party applications alongside the NetWare Services that just wasn’t possible before. Add full 64-bit support, enhanced hardware support from vendors like Hewlett-Packard, Dell and IBM, and our customers have a platform for the future, with the comfort of knowing it still provides those same NetWare Services that they have come to depend on.

Now is the time to Move-IT, and do it with confidence.

Upgrading to OES – Planning and Implementation Guide

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  • FlyingGuy says:

    This reminds me of the bad ol’ days of Lan Manager on a 3-Server. You had no idea what was happening on the server and any given point in time. If the management interface went down, your only real choice was the power switch.

    This is slightly better because at least you can kill a process, kill -9 if you must.

    There is still no real time monitoring program eg: monitor.nlm

    There is still no TCP Control program eg: tcpcon.nlm

    There is still no filter configuration program eg: filcfg.nlm

    nwftpd.nlm – it provides seamless ftp across all servers in a tree. To do that with linux is a total kludge.

    The tool for configuring your interfaces ( yast / yast2 ) are still nowhere near as good is inetcfg.

    The only monitor tools that are available are web based, and it I really wanted to know what happened 5 minutes ago I could read logs.

    iManager is an embarrassment and there is no way I want to show it to any of my clients as I jog between it and consoleOne.

    So yes Novell is making great strides with the Linux kernel, but if I really wanted what is essentially a headless server where you can’t tell what is happening right now I could just use windows.

    The problem is that Novell in going to the Lnux kernel forgot about all the utility that the Netware console provided and does provide.

    Unless Novell starts porting over these very powerful and very very useful application with something besides 93 command line options ala ndsrpair ( please give us back the CLI interface ) it wont really matter when they drop support for Netware, because by then Windows server, as bad as it is will win.

    The current unix file systems do not support the same native permissions that NSS does, nor does it have salvage without adding yet another running service to take up ram and disk space.

    Novell needs to get a clue while they still have time to act or Microsoft will be the server providing file and print services, not Novell. And as much as I hate to say it, mysql is a goner, I don’t care what Larry says, Oracle is going to bury it and the recent fork by its creator wont matter in the least so that will leave a LAP stack, not good for much really.

  • gldavis says:

    I understand the concern, change is not always easy, and I felt the same way when I first started using OES Services on Linux. I also remember being overwhelmed when I first learned how to Administer NetWare. But, I think what you will find is after some time of learning the tools and taking some training, OES on Linux is actually pretty cool.

    For monitoring linux, there is the native linux “top” tool, or monitoring tools through NRM. Also, what looks to be a really nice new monitoring tool for monitoring multiple OES Linux and NetWare servers was just announced by Adrem ( Nagios also has a tool that many OES admins are using.

    The admin still uses iManager to manage OES on Linux, just like was done with NetWare. NSS can be managed through NSSMU, the NCP client32 still connects the same way, and edirectory ships the same versions and the same iMonitor management tool on Linux. The administration skills for all these core NetWare services can and should be leveraged on OES Linux.

    Although there are certain cases where not every tool is exactly the same on Linux and NetWare, the parity is pretty close. Novell continues to evaluate any parity differences that are causing concern for customers, and with OES2SP1, Novell shipped AFP, CIFS, Identity transfer migration tools and 64bit eDirectory.

    When I mention parity I am only talking about NetWare specific services. But OES Linux leapfrogs NetWare by adding new features such as Domain Services for Windows, ability to use other file systems (Reiser, ext3, jfs) with NCP access, new versions of iFolder and iPrint, and 64 bit services to name a few. Also there are many more applications that can be run on this open linux environment. The sky is the limit with open source applications that can be used, and proprietary software that runs on Linux that never ran on NetWare.

    The bottom line is Novell has made great strides with OES and now with OES2SP1 many, many customers are making the move. The feedback is appreciated and will be looked into, but let’s not forget the many successes and the value customers are seeing with Open Enterprise Server on Linux.

  • ecyoung says:

    Novell had a nice solution for monitoring OES Linux: HMS (Health Monitoring Services). It went the way of Virtual Office… dropped from OES 2.

  • FlyingGuy says:

    This is SO not about change being easy or hard. This about Novell NOT DELIVERING.

    The TOP utility on a linux box provides perhaps 1/10 of what monitor.nlm can provide.

    Reiser is a dead file system. Ext 2/3, BUTR and all the reset cannot provide what NSS already provides, why on earth would I want it.

    I could care less about being able to mount widows shares, I don’t run Windows, my clients don’t run windows servers and the netware client for windows works just fine.

    I do run various applications on Linux servers and none of them have anything to do with file and print servers, login services, provisioning services, for the most part they are web servers, database servers, mail servers and the like and those are all TCP connections which Linux does beautifully.

    Quite frankly Linux in and of itself is a HORRIBLE file and print server, it was never designed to do either of those things.

    Linux is a great workstation and that is finally starting to get some traction.

    I don’t care one whit what kernel they put under NetWare services. NLM’s were and are a major PITA to write and implement well so it is nice to have a kernel that is based in GCC that I can write additional services IF I WANT TO.

    AddRem’s new product comes in at $600.00 PER SERVER, are you F*%^*%@ KIDDING ME?!

    Novell needs to get it together and get the services that support the NetWare file and print server ported over, period, end of discussion or they WILL lose.

  • dclower says:

    I appreciate passion, I even expect it when I engage a true NetWare Loyalist (btw – I am one). But I would respectfully suggest that you need to clean up your comments, or please don’t bother to post them. Your concerns are valid, your complaints have merit, but your credibility is undermined; your point gets lost in the shrill nature of your post.


    Doug Clower
    Global Enablement Manager
    End-User Computing

  • fdeckert says:

    We built our entire netware architecture on distributed SLPDA. When moving to linux we discovered that OpenSLP doesn’t provide services replication.

    So we had two choices:
    1) keep virtual netware servers running to host SLPDA (what we did, and we have one SLPDA per country)
    2) connect all the servers and workstations to one single OpenSLP DA : what we refused.

    Please, Novell, provide SLPDA on Linux, because your Novell services still rely heavily on SLP, and SLPDA is a must have for distributed network.

  • shutchinson says:

    Novell’s “Parity Problems” extend beyond NetWare vs Linux.

    I agree that iManager is a bit of a Kludge when you compare it to ConsoleOne.

    If you really want us to use iManager, please allow it to use ConsoleOne Plug-Ins. Please at least build a GroupWise Management tool for it.

    If I understand this correctly, iPrint is really just a trendy new name for NDPS. (Maybe next month they’ll call it “SUSE Linux Enterprise Printing – SLEP for short” or “PrintSystem 2010” – who knows? But I digress…)NDPS is supported well under NWAdmin, but there was never any support for it (that I could find) in ConsoleOne. But now it’s called iPrint and is managed from iManager. Of course, the Novell Client still calls it NDPS.

    As far as poor Linux implementations of NetWare tools, I must agree with a previous commenter that DSRepair’s “equivalent” in Linux is nearly impossible to use. I get that you want the Linux versions of utilities to be friendly to pre-existing Unix/Linux Admins (and are probably written by Linux experts), but there is no reason you can’t also make it useable by NetWare Admins. I have no idea what combinations of switches to use to perform the standard tasks I perform on my NetWare Servers from the interactive menu-based interface.

    I also get that Unix/Linux guys prefer bare command-line interfaces and logs (I guess they think it makes them look smarter), but what’s the harm in having at least the option of interactive menu screens for utilities you already have in NetWare anyway? BTW – please put the same options in the same places so we can actually find them and don’t have to maintain two knowledge sets for maintaining and managing our two flavors of Novell Servers. I also don’t want to spend a half-hour reading through a MAN page to figure it out. -? is a useful switch.

    Thank you for your consideration.

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