Welcome to the second part of our series exploring ConsoleOne, Novell’s centralized network-management utility. In my previous Daily Drill Down on the topic, “ConsoleOne: Novell’s next-generation network management utility,” I provided a brief overview that showed you how to install ConsoleOne and use it for NDS partition and replica management.

In this Daily Drill Down, we’ll explore some of the more interesting features of ConsoleOne. We’ll begin by creating custom views for ConsoleOne and then move on to an overview of Schema Manager. Our journey will continue as we discuss salvaging files and working with the Reporting Services that are available in ConsoleOne. We’ll conclude with a discussion of the limitations and known problems that can be found in this powerful utility.

Selective viewing
ConsoleOne provides the ability to modify what you see by creating a customized, or filtered, view. To create your customized view, select Filter from the View menu and you’ll see a dialog box similar to the one shown in Figure A.

Figure A
You can filter views with ConsoleOne.

To filter all objects except those that begin with a certain string, for example LDAP, you would enter LDAP* in the Name box. You can test the filter by clicking the Preview button, as demonstrated in Figure B. If the filter is correct, click OK; otherwise, you can continue modifying it.

Figure B
Click Preview to view your filter.

Another method you can employ to filter your ConsoleOne view is to select the object types that you want displayed and deselect those that you don’t want to see. Once again, you should use the Preview button to test the filter before clicking OK.

Before you spend a considerable amount of time creating customized views, you should realize that the filters last only as long as the current session is open. When you exit ConsoleOne, the filters are removed; your next session begins with the default view of all objects. While you may find this feature irksome, it does permit you to easily remove an incorrect filter and eliminates the guesswork of determining whether a filter has been set.

Schema Manager
The NDS schema contains the rules for defining NDS objects. These rules contain the object’s class, attributes, and syntax. The object class defines the type of object that you see, such as a user. An attribute is a piece of information about an object, such as the telephone number. The syntax of an attribute determines the type of data that can be used. In the case of the telephone number attribute, the type of data that can be used in the field is called, appropriately enough, Telephone Number. Other examples of syntax are Integer, Time, Numeric String, and Distinguished Name.

Schema Manager is launched from the ConsoleOne Tools menu; the opening screen should look similar to Figure C. As you can see in the example, Schema Manager allows you to work with either the object class or its attributes. The Info button allows you to obtain information about an object class and the Create button is used to define new object classes. The Add button is used to associate new attributes to an object class and the Delete button is used to remove an association.

Figure C
Launch Schema Manager from the Tools menu of ConsoleOne.

When you create a new object class or attribute, you are manually extending the NDS schema. To give you an example of this capability, we’re going to extend the NDS schema to associate a new attribute called Pager with the User object class.

To begin the process, click the Attributes tab and then click Create. You will be presented with an informational screen that you can bypass by clicking Next. As shown in Figure D, you are then asked to enter the Attribute name and the Abstract Syntax Notation 1 (ASN1) ID, an optional, unique ID that Novell assigns. The ID is used to ensure that your attribute, or object class, is unique by registering it with Novell. Since we’re going to use the pager attribute only on the test network, we’ll simply enter the attribute name and click Next.

Figure D
When you create or extend the schema, you must provide an attribute name, but the ASN1 ID is optional.

Your next task is to select the syntax for the attribute. I selected the Telephone Number syntax from the pull-down menu and then clicked Next to continue.

You must now select the appropriate flags for the attribute by marking the check boxes shown in Figure E. The following flags are available:

  • Single Valued: Only one value is allowed in this field. You would use a multivalued attribute for objects such as a membership list.
  • Synchronize Immediately: Any change in the value of the attribute forces the NDS replicas to synchronize immediately.
  • Public Read: Allows everyone to read the value of the attribute, regardless of their rights.
  • Write Managed: The value of the attribute can be changed only on a Read/Write or Master replica.
  • Per Replica: The value of the attribute does not synchronize with other replicas.
  • Sized: Can be used only with syntax such as Boolean or Case Exact String.

Figure E
You must set the flags for the attribute.

After selecting the flags, you will see a summary of the new attribute. If the values are correct, click Finish to create the attribute. When you return to the Attributes tab of Schema Manager, you should be able to scroll down to the bottom of the list and see the newly created attribute.

To associate the Pager attribute with the User object class, click the Classes tab and highlight User. Next, click the Add button to bring up a list of available attributes that can be associated with an object class. Scroll down until you see the Pager attribute, highlight it, and then click the arrow to move it to the right pane and associate it with the User object class.

To actually use the attribute, close Schema Manager and return to Console View. From the Properties page of a User, select the Other tab. Highlight Attributes and click Add. Scroll down the Attributes list and select Pager, as illustrated in Figure F. Then click OK.

Figure F
After you create the new attribute, add it to an object.

The Pager attribute will be added to the Attributes list on the Other tab. You can then enter a pager number.

Salvaging and purging files
Sometimes users make mistakes and delete files that they still need. A long time ago, when users would call frantically asking for help because they accidentally deleted their files, you would use the DOS version of the Salvage utility to magically bring their data back from the dead. In the not-so-distant past, you would use the Windows-based Salvage utility to perform similar feats of magic. Since ConsoleOne is a one-stop, do-everything network-management utility, it includes the functionality to salvage and purge deleted files.

Right-click a volume and select Views | Deleted File View. From this view, shown in Figure G, you can highlight the files or folders that you want to restore, right-click them, and select Salvage. The Deleted File View also lets you purge files that have been deleted. To do this, right-click the file or folder and choose Purge. Use this option with caution because it will permanently remove the files.

Figure G
You can undelete or purge deleted files from within ConsoleOne.

Creating reports
As a network administrator, you probably need to create reports. Imagine the usefulness of a report showing all of the disabled user accounts when you’re trying to clean up the NDS. Or what about a report listing all of the users who work at a certain location in your organization? Such a report could be handy when preparing a proposal to purchase a new file server.

To meet this need, Novell has added reporting functionality to ConsoleOne, including three report catalogs containing basic reports that can be used by nearly everyone. Other Novell products, such as ZENworks, include their own report catalogs and forms. You can also create customized reports using the Jreport Designer product developed by Jinfonet, which is sold separately.

Installing Reporting Services involves three distinct steps. First, you must extend the schema to include the Reporting Services extensions. Next, you must install the report catalogs in your NDS tree. Finally, you must install the ODBC driver for NDS on every Windows computer that will be used for report generation.

Extending the schema
To start the Installation wizard and extend the schema, click the top of the NDS tree, then select Install from the Tools menu. The initial screen provides only basic information, so click Next to continue to the product-selection screen. As shown in Figure H, select Reporting Services Install Snapin, then click Next to continue.

Figure H
It’s easy to add Reporting Services to ConsoleOne.

The subsequent screen will ask you to select the NDS tree where you want to install Reporting Services. When you have chosen the appropriate tree, click Next to continue the installation.

You will then see a summary of the services to be installed. If the Reporting Services Install Snapin service and the NDS tree are correct, click Finish to install the product. When the file copy and installation are complete, a dialog box showing the results of the schema extension will appear. To end the installation, click OK.

Installing the report catalogs
Now that the schema has been extended and it includes the Report Catalog class, you must install the predefined report catalogs in the NDS tree. These catalogs contain the basic report forms that you can use to generate reports. The following list shows the three Novell-defined report catalogs and the reports that can be generated with them.

NDS General Object Reports:

  • NetWare File Servers
  • Print Servers
  • Printers

NDS User Security Reports:

  • Disabled User Accounts
  • Users Locked by Intruder Detection
  • Security Equivalence
  • Template Security Settings
  • Trustee Assignments
  • User Password Requirements
  • Users Not Logged In
  • Users with Expired Passwords
  • Users with Multiple Workstation Logins

NDS Users And Groups Reports:

  • User Contact List
  • Duplicate Common User Names
  • Group Membership
  • Organizational Roles
  • User Information
  • User Login Scripts

You begin the installation by selecting the container where the report catalog objects will be installed. These objects may be installed in many containers in the tree, allowing different reports to be generated for different containers. This can be very useful in large organizations that have multiple locations and multiple administrators.

After selecting the container, choose Install Novell-Defined Reports from the Tools menu. You will be presented with the dialog box shown in Figure I, where you will choose the type of reports to install as well as the location to store the catalog files.

Figure I
You can install specially defined reports.

After selecting the appropriate reports and location, click Install. The Report Catalog components will be installed in the NDS tree.

Installing the ODBC driver
Now that the schema has been extended and the Report Catalog components have been installed in the NDS tree, it’s time to install the ODBC driver for NDS on all Windows computers that will be used to generate reports.

Using Windows Explorer, browse to the folder where ConsoleOne is installed. The default locations are C:\Novell\ConsoleOne\1.2 for local installations and SYS:Public\MGMT\ConsoleOne\1.2 for network installations. If you installed ConsoleOne in a different directory, you must browse using the appropriate path. Continue drilling down the file structure until you reach \Reporting\Bin\odbc.exe.

Launch odbc.exe to begin the ODBC Driver For NDS installation. After reading the informative welcome screen, click Next to continue to the software license agreement. If you agree to the terms of the agreement, click Yes. You will be presented with another screen of information, and you should click Next to continue. At the next screen, you will be asked to enter your name as well as the company’s name. When you have done so, click Next. You can now choose the location to install the ODBC Driver For NDS; I accepted the default location of C:\Novell\ODBCNDS. Click Next to continue. You will then see a summary screen of the installation options; if everything is correct, click Next to begin the file copy and installation.

When the installation is finished, you have the options to view the Release Notes and configure a sample data source. I chose not to view the Release Notes, but I did select Configure A Sample Data Source, since this must be done anyway. After you click Finish, you’ll begin configuring a data source using the ODBC Data Source Administrator.

If you want to use the Novell-defined NDS report catalogs, you must use NDS as the data source. To do this, click Add and choose Novell ODBC Driver For NDS, as shown in Figure J.

Figure J
Choose Novell ODBC Driver For NDS.

After you click Finish, you will be asked to configure the data source. The value in the Name field must match the data source defined in the report catalog. You can see this name when viewing the properties of a report catalog, as shown in Figure K. For the purpose of this example, I entered NDS Reporting in the Name field of the Data Source Setup screen. When using the Novell-defined reports, you can skip the other fields on this screen. If you’re configuring a data source for a different reporting system, you would enter the values that are required by that system.

Figure K
You can view the properties of the report.

After clicking OK, you will be taken back to the ODBC Data Source Administrator screen where you should see the NDS Reporting data source. When you have completed the configuration, click OK to close the Administrator screen.

Now that you have extended the schema, installed the Novell-defined report catalogs, installed the ODBC driver for NDS, and configured the data source, you’re ready to use the reporting services. The following sections will show you how to perform some basic reporting functions using the Novell-defined report catalogs.

Using the report catalogs
The reason you installed the reporting service is to generate reports. For this Daily Drill Down, we will generate a file server report from the NDS General Object Reports catalog. You can use the same procedure to generate any of the reports that are included in the report catalogs.

To begin the reporting process, highlight the report catalog you wish to use, right-click it, and then choose Generate Report. A dialog box that looks similar to Figure L will appear where you can select a report form and an available query.

Figure L
After you’ve created the report, you can run it.

In this example, we’ll use the default selections, but as you install more report catalogs and design custom reports, your choices of forms and queries will increase. After you click OK, the report will be generated. This can take a little while, depending on the complexity of the report. Once the report has been generated, it will appear in the View Report window.

To print the report, click the Print button or choose Print from the File menu. If you want to save the report, click the Save button or select Save from the File menu.

If you’d like to view a previously saved report, right-click the report catalog in the ConsoleOne View window and select Open Report. You should then select the form that was originally used to generate the report and choose the desired report from the Available Reports section. Click OK and the report will once again be displayed in the View Report window.

A handy feature of ConsoleOne reports allows you to export them in text, HTML, PDF, or SDF format. Clicking the Export button or selecting Export from the File menu takes you to the Export dialog box. From there, browse to the location where you want to store the file and then select the format for exporting the file. When your choices are correct, click OK to export the file.

ConsoleOne limitations
As with all products, ConsoleOne is not a perfect tool and has some limitations. Novell claims to be eliminating most, if not all, of these limitations in future releases of ConsoleOne, but for now you should be aware of them. Despite these limitations, ConsoleOne is still an excellent tool that can be used effectively to help you manage your network. Major limitations that you’ll encounter include the following:

  • Reports can be generated only from a Windows workstation running ConsoleOne. You cannot generate reports from ConsoleOne when it is running on a file server.
  • Novell recommends that you still use NetWare Administrator to manage printing resources.
  • You must use NDS Manager to remotely repair NDS and check partition continuity.
  • The Schema Manager utility must be used to generate schema reports, unless you create your own customized reports in ConsoleOne.
  • Setup scripts cannot be created or executed in ConsoleOne. You should use NetWare Administrator for these tasks.
  • NetWare Administrator must be used to manage legacy applications that do not have snapins for ConsoleOne.
  • ConsoleOne can run sluggishly on older computers or computers containing a small amount of RAM.

ConsoleOne is also not immune to bugs. The following list summarizes some of the known issues with this version of ConsoleOne:

  • If your NDS search returns more than 1,200 objects, only the first 1,200 will be displayed.
  • You cannot jump to an object in the right pane by typing its name if there are more than 1,000 objects in the list.
  • If there are more than 1,000 NDS objects being displayed in the right pane, the count that is displayed in the lower right-hand corner will be an estimate, not an exact count.
  • You cannot apply a change to a multivalue property in NDS if the data exceeds 48 KB.
  • When selecting multiple objects from a list of 1,000 or more objects, you must select several small groups and repeat the task multiple times.

ConsoleOne is still in its infancy as a network-management tool. As you can see in this Daily Drill Down, ConsoleOne already has extensive functionality, including many tasks that were previously managed in other utilities, such as NDS Manager and NetWare Administrator. The future is bright for this youngster, and as the product evolves to include even more capabilities, you will soon find yourself using it for nearly all of your network-management tasks.
The authors and editors have taken care in preparation of the content contained herein but make no expressed or implied warranty of any kind and assume no responsibility for errors or omissions. No liability is assumed for any damages. Always have a verified backup before making any changes.