NetWare 6.5, also known as “Nakoma” has been recently released as a public beta. With a summer release just around the corner and the beta available for download from the Novell site, NetWare administrators should start to become familiar with this newest member of the family.

The NetWare 6.5 installation process differs in key areas from previous versions of NetWare. Prior to this release, installation required the administrator to mix and match the components desired for a particular installation. For example, if you wanted a DNS and DHCP server, you needed to select both of these components. Beginning with this release, NetWare introduces templates called ”server patterns” that ease the installation process. Common server configurations are included with the installation. DNS and DHCP are commonly installed on a single server so NetWare 6.5 includes a DNS/DHCP server pattern, among others.

The process
Insert the first CD of the set into the server’s CD ROM drive and power on the machine. At the initial menu, select the option to install a new server by typing I at the prompt that asks if you want to Install A New Server or Create Boot Floppy. You are then asked for which type of CD ROM drives you would like to search for—IDE, SCSI, or both. This option will depend upon the hardware in the server to which you are installing NetWare. The NetWare installation will then begin.

On the first screen of the NetWare 6.5 installation, shown in Figure A, you are asked to identify the country, code page, and keyboard layout that will be used for this server. Since I am in the United States, I have chosen USA with code page 437 and a US keyboard layout. These are the default options. If you need to change these options, choose Modify and make the appropriate selections. When you are ready, choose Continue to move on.

Figure A
This is the locale selection screen.

License agreements are always present in installations these days and NetWare 6.5 is no exception. If you have some time, feel free to read through both of the license agreements. When you are done, press [F10] to continue the installation.

You’ll then see the Welcome screen shown in Figure B. NetWare 6.5 supports two different installation methods—express and custom. An express installation allows the installer to automatically detect components and will install them with default settings. A custom installation gives you more control over the process but requires that you have more in-depth knowledge of the hardware you are using and the software you wish to use. For the purposes of this article, I will choose the express option.

Figure B
Choose either an express or a custom installation.

Choosing the express option results in the installer making a best guess as to what you have after probing your hardware. The express Installation screen shown in Figure C shows you what the installer intends to do with certain hardware components. This particular system has a 4-GB drive that will be devoted to the SYS volume.

Figure C
Here is the express installation hardware information.

Once this step is complete, the installer will begin to copy the files that will be needed to complete the installation process. After files are copied, if the installer happens to locate multiple drivers that it thinks will work for your hardware, it will prompt you to choose the one you would like to use, regardless of whether you have chosen Express or Custom as the installation.

As you can see in Figure D, the installer has located the emulated Ethernet adapter on my VMWare system. I will choose the PCNTW.LAN option as per the VMWare hardware specs.

Figure D
Choose the appropriate driver if multiple drivers are supported.

Once again, required installation files will be copied after driver selections are made. The graphical portion of the installer starts immediately afterwards.

Choose your pattern
Being introduced in NetWare 6.5, server patterns are templates that can be used to simplify the server installation procedure. Rather than manually selecting components, selecting a pattern will install the components required for a particular server use. For example, choose the NetWare AMP pattern to install a NetWare server with Apache, MySQL, PHP, and Perl. Or, choose the Pre-Migration Server option to install enough components to allow this installation to assume the identity of an existing NetWare server.

For this example, shown in Figure E, I will choose the Basic NetWare File Server option that includes Apache, Tomcat, eDirectory 8.7, a JVM, NICI, Storage Management Services, NetWare Remote Manager, and a certificate server. Choose the Customized NetWare Server option to manually select components.

Figure E
Here is where you select the server pattern to install.

You’ll then see the Server Details screen shown in Figure F. Each pattern includes different components and system requirements all of which are detailed on the next screen of the installation. The top of the screen provides a description of the pattern while the lower section provides both minimum and recommended system requirements. Click the Copy Files button to continue with the installation. You will be prompted to insert the second CD at this point.

Figure F
This screen shows you information about the selection server pattern.

Post-pattern selection installation
After the files for the selected pattern have been copied to the server, the remainder of the installation for that pattern continues. The first question that is asked is the name of the new server. I have named this server Nakoma-tr, as shown in Figure G.

Figure G
Enter the server name on this screen.

As with previous versions of NetWare, the installation needs to locate specific cryptography modules. I’m using the ones on the NetWare 6.5 Beta 3 products CD. You’ll enter this information in the Encryption screen that appears next.

You’ll then see the Protocols screen shown in Figure H. In order to be able to communicate on the network, your NetWare 6.5 server needs addressing information. As you can see in the figure, I have selected just IP. To provide advanced protocol information, click the Advanced button. This screen will allow you to provide other information, such as specific IPX frame types and network addresses, IPX compatibility information, SNMP, and advanced SLP information.

Figure H
The Protocols screen is where you select TCP/IP addressing information.

The next screen, the Domain Name Service screen shown in Figure I, asks for DNS information about this server including the host name, domain name, and name server information. Provide this information based on your environment. I have named this server and provided appropriate DNS server addresses. To allow the installer to verify this information by looking up the server name, check the box marked Verify The DNS Information.

Figure I
The Domain Name Service screen is where you provide naming information.

With any directory-based system, keeping track of time is an important task. The next screen, the Time Zone screen, asks for the time zone for the system. Select the appropriate zone and if your area recognizes daylight savings time, choose the box in the bottom section of the screen. To provide advanced time information, click the Advanced button. The options in the resulting window will allow you to specify the type of time server that this server should be, as well as allow you to configure NTP time sources.

Configuring directory information
At this point, the server has most of the information it needs to complete its own configuration, but it doesn’t know anything about the directory services. You’ll need to configure eDirectory for the server starting with the eDirectory Installation screen shown in Figure J. On this screen, you will choose whether this server will be in a new tree or added to an existing one. I don’t recommend installing NetWare 6.5 Beta 3 into an existing production tree. If you have a lab tree, use that instead. For this installation, I will create a new tree for this server.

Figure J
Here is where you configure directory installation options.

Every tree needs a name, top-level organization, country or domain, and an administrator. All of this is provided on the next screen, the eDirectory Information screen shown in Figure K. My example server is being installed into a tree named TR under the Lab organization, which is also the location for the Admin user object.

Figure K
Here you can see the eDirectory tree information.

After you provide this information, the installer checks for duplicate names, after which it provides you with an eDirectory installation summary. Click Next to begin the installation.

After eDirectory is installed and the server has been installed into it, you are asked for server licenses on the License Location screen. Beta 3 comes with a number of different licenses on the CD. For this example, I will install an unlimited-user license from the second CD’s LICENSE\MLA directory.

Licenses require a place in NDS for license objects to reside. You’ll do this on the MLA License Certificate Context screen that appears next. The MLA license selected will be available to all servers and users located at the same level or below it in the tree. Therefore, I will install it in the Lab organization at the very top of the tree.

Next you’ll see the Novell Modular Authentication Service (NMAS) screen. NMAS allows a variety of logon methods, each with their own security considerations. For this installation, I am only going to allow NDS-based authentication requests.

After gathering all of this information, the installer takes the necessary steps to make it a working server based on your selections, after which you should reboot the server.

That’s it!
NetWare’s installation has always been pretty simple, but now Novell has made it even better. Making use of a template-based installation will surely lead to quicker and more stable installations as it takes the guesswork out of choosing the right components. Even in beta, it is apparent that NetWare 6.5 is shaping up to be a robust product.