Data Centers

Allow RConsoleJ access to IPX-based NetWare servers with RConprxy

RConsoleJ is a great remote administration tool for NetWare servers, but it only works with servers that run TCP/IP. How do you use it on your IPX-only NetWare servers? John Sheesley tells you how.

RConsoleJ, which first appeared in NetWare 5.0, offers some advantages for remote control and access of NetWare servers over the old DOS-based RConsole utility. However, one of RConsoleJ’s key limitations is that it can talk only to NetWare servers that are running TCP/IP. So what do you do if you still have NetWare servers that run only IPX? All you need to do is configure an RConsoleJ proxy. In this Daily Feature, I’ll show you how to do so using RCONPRXY.NLM.

RCONPRXY.NLM is an NLM that you run on your server that functions as a proxy for RConsoleJ IPX requests. Because RConsoleJ can communicate only with servers that run TCP/IP, any NetWare servers that run only IPX are invisible to it. RCONPRXY.NLM listens to TCP/IP requests from RConsoleJ and then translates them to and from IPX for your IPX-based NetWare servers.

You can use RCONPRXY.NLM, also sometimes called the RConsoleJ Proxy, to let all your IPX-based NetWare servers communicate with RConsoleJ running on a TCP/IP-based workstation from which you want to administer the IPX servers. As a matter of fact, if you’re in an IPX-only environment, you can still use RConsoleJ. All you have to do is load TCP/IP on one NetWare server and configure the server to act as a proxy. After that, you can use RConsoleJ to access every IPX server on your network.

By itself, RCONPRXY.NLM won't do very much. You must use it in conjunction with two other NLMs: SPXS.NLM and RCONAG6.NLM. SPXS.NLM provides SPX support for your NetWare server, which allows you to run applications across an IPX network. As mentioned in the Daily Drill Down “Administer your NetWare server remotely using RConsoleJ,” RCONAG6.NLM loads the RConsole Agent, which allows RConsoleJ to make the connection to servers.

You’ll also need at least two NetWare servers. One server will act as the proxy. The second server and any additional servers are the targets. If you have only one NetWare server, there’s no reason to use a proxy—you can just use RCONAG6.NLM by itself. As described earlier, you’ll need to configure the proxy server to run both IPX and TCP/IP. The target server or servers need only to run IPX.

Configuring the proxy server
Starting with the proxy server, go to the server console prompt and type load spxs and press [Enter]. You’ll notice SPX support load on the server and then see the server console prompt reappear. Next, type rconprxy and press [Enter].

When the RConsole Proxy screen appears, it will ask you for a TCP Port number. The default TCP listening port for RCONPRXY.NLM is 2035. You can specify a different one at the Enter The Listening Port prompt or just press [Enter] to continue.

Starting RCONPRXY at boot time
If you want to make RCONPRXY load as part of your proxy server’s startup routine, you can edit the server’s AUTOEXEC.NCF file. Just add a line to the end of AUTOEXEC.NCF that reads rconprxy portnum, where portnum represents the listening port you want the proxy server to use. Even if you want to use the default value of 2035, you’ll have to specify it in the AUTOEXEC.NCF file. If you don’t, the NCF file will stop and prompt you to enter a port number. Don’t forget to precede the RCONPRXY statement with a load spxs statement in the AUTOEXEC.NCF file.

After RCONPRXY.NLM loads, you’re done with the proxy server. If you want to be able to access the proxy server with RConsoleJ, you’ll have to load RCONAG6.NLM on the proxy server as well.

Configuring the target server
At the target server’s console prompt, type load spxs and press [Enter]. As on the proxy server, SPXS.NLM allows applications to communicate with each other over IPX. Once SPX loads, you can load RCONAG6.NLM.

You must be sure not to load TCP/IP support on the target server. Fortunately, you can disable it at the command line. The most efficient way to load RCONAG6.NLM at the target server and disable TCP/IP is to type rconag6 password –1 16800 and press [Enter], replacing password with the remote access password you want to use for the target server. The –1 switch disables TCP support on the target server. The SPX port that the target server will listen to is represented by 16800. You can specify any SPX port you want, although the default and most commonly used port is 16800.

Accessing the target server using RConsoleJ
After you’ve configured the proxy and target servers, you can then access them from your workstation using RConsoleJ. Start RConsoleJ on your administrative workstation and click the Advanced button.

First, select the Connect Through Proxy check box. Next, in the Server Address field in the lower box, type the TCP/IP address of the proxy server. Enter the TCP/IP listening port of the proxy server in the Port No field. After that, select the SPX radio button. At the top of the screen, type the target server name in the Server Address field, the remote access password in the Password field, and finally the SPX listening port of the target server in the Remote Server Port No field. Figure A shows properly configured RConsoleJ settings.

Figure A
Make sure you select the Connect Through Proxy check box to access IPX-only NetWare servers.

When you’ve entered your desired settings, click Connect and you’re done. RConsoleJ will connect to the target IPX server and run just as if you connected to a TCP/IP server. You can operate RConsoleJ normally and then disconnect when you’re done.

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