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Accelerate your upgrades
So you’ve finally been granted the budget you need to upgrade all your NetWare 4.1x servers to NetWare 5—but of course, you need to do it over the weekend so it doesn’t cut into production hours.

How do you upgrade a large number of servers to NetWare 5 so quickly? If this dilemma sounds familiar, the NetWare 5 Accelerated Upgrade utility is worth a look.

This text-based utility allows you to upgrade servers to NetWare 5 without having to be at the server console or install a CD-ROM drive on the server.

Like everything that’s automated, time needs to be spent on configuring the utility, writing scripts, and testing it prior to its large-scale use in a production environment. Don’t rush into this utility; it takes some configuring, and you should read all included documentation, as there may be limitations in certain cases.

Novell’s own Information Services and Technology department used this utility to upgrade hundreds of its production servers. Check it out—this may be the utility that can free up your next five weekends.

You can download the NetWare 5 Accelerated Upgrade utility from Novell’s Web site; the filename is ACCLUPGD.EXE.

Timesync and TCP/IP
Confusion exists over Timesync in NetWare 5, and there are many questions. Here are a few answers:

  • In NetWare 5, TIMESYNC.NLM supports TCP/IP.
  • In a pure IP environment, TIMESYNC.NLM doesn’t require CMD (Compatibility Mode Driver).
  • Servers find each other through SLP (Service Location Protocol) or through Configured Time Sources.

Let’s look at a simple configuration scenario using five servers with manually configured time sources, since the SLP method can require more administration in certain cases.

In an environment with five servers, running NetWare 5 and only IP, follow these steps:

  1. Configure the first server as the primary server.
  2. Configure the remaining servers as secondary servers.
  3. On the secondary servers, set the following parameters:

SET Timesync Configured Sources = ON

SET Timesync Time Source = <IP address of the primary server>

After restarting Timesync, time will begin to synchronize normally.

A troubleshooting tool for TCP/IP
Troubleshooting TCP/IP connectivity at your server can be a real pain without the right tools to give you the information you need. When PING is not sufficient, try TCPCON.

TCPCON, or TCP/IP Console, provides more in-depth information about the status of TCP/IP on your system.

At the server console, type LOAD TCPCON. In NetWare 5 and up, you can just type TCPCON.

Here are the more frequently-used menu options for troubleshooting purposes.

  • Protocol Information:Breaks up into several more menus, giving you detailed information on TCP, IP, UDP, OSPF, ICMP, and others.
  • IP Routing:Allows viewing, flushing, and some manipulation of the IP routing table (more useful if the machine acts as a router).
  • Statistics: Provides detailed statistics on each protocol: TCP, IP, UDP, OSPF, ICMP, and others.
  • Interfaces: Allows you to view TCP/IP statistics on a per-interface basis as a whole.

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Use the UIMPORT utility
Are you in an environment that frequently requires the addition, changing, or deletion of many user objects?

NetWare provides a utility called UIMPORT, which is used for importing user objects from the output of a database. Most environments have a listing of users in some type of database (e.g., payroll, student records, etc.) that’s entered by data-entry personnel, so you don’t have to do the work yourself. By taking the time to analyze the database used and export the data you need to a comma-delimited file, you can use UIMPORT to do most of the work.

The UIMPORT process can be broken down into three phases:

  • 1. Creating the data file from your database application.
  • 2. Creating a control file to handle the data file generated by your database.
  • 3. Importing the records into NDS.

Because UIMPORT is a robust utility with many options, all its functionality can’t be covered in this space. But knowing about this utility and its uses should point you in the right direction before you start manually creating hundreds of users.

Starting over
Which of these two commands should you use—and when? RESTART SERVER or RESET SERVER?

RESTART SERVER is available in older versions of NetWare (such as 4.11), and RESET SERVER exists in later versions (such as 5 and up).

Let’s look at the functionality of each.

  • RESTART SERVER—This will immediately down the server and restart it. But after certain OS patches or support packs have been installed, it isn’t the command to use. Instead, you’ll want to down and restart NetWare by manually loading SERVER.EXE, as some patches will update this file.
  • Additional parameters are available with this command, which are -NS, -NA, and -D. Using these parameters means that you don’t have to use STARTUP.NCF (-NS) or AUTOEXEC.NCF (-NA), or you don’t have to break into the internal debugger (-D).

  • RESET SERVER—This will immediately down the server and perform a warm reboot of the machine it’s running on. If you’re using this command remotely on a production server, be sure the PC will boot to NetWare. (Ensure there are no floppy disks in the drives, bootable CD-ROMs in the CD-ROM drive, etc.)