Even though NetWare 5.1 comes from a long line of stable software, some network administrators make it a policy not to install any network operating system on their network until the release of the first support pack. Novell recently released the first support pack for NetWare 5.1. In this Daily Drill Down, I’ll take a look at the problems Support Pack 1 fixes, the features it adds, and how to install it on your server.
Support Pack 5 for NetWare 5 works only with NetWare 5 servers. If you’re running NetWare 5.1, do NOT install Support Pack 5. Instead, you should download and install Support Pack 1 for NetWare 5.1. For more information on Support Pack 5 for NetWare 5, see “Novell releases Support Pack 5 for NetWare 5.”Likewise, don’t install Support Pack 1 for NetWare 5.1 on a NetWare 5 server. Even though the files with Support Pack 1 for NetWare 5.1 are newer, and many of the NetWare 5.1 and NetWare 5 files and support pack files have the same filenames, Support Pack 1 for NetWare 5.1 files will not work properly on a NetWare 5 server.
Why do I need Support Pack 1?
As you know, NetWare is basically a pretty stable platform. Once you have it up and running, there’s really not much you need to do to it. Even though NetWare 5.1 was developed from the solid foundation of NetWare 5—which itself came from the rock bed of the NetWare 4.x generation—bugs are still hiding in the software.
Support Pack 1 replaces almost all system components in NetWare 5.1. Even if you’re not currently experiencing problems with your server, you should apply the support pack. If you have any problems with your NetWare 5.1 server and try to call Novell Technical Support, the support people won’t talk to you until you install Support Pack 1.
Not only is no software perfect, but often support packs can cause more problems than they fix. Novell has frequently recalled and re-released support packs due to unforeseen problems. Novell released Support Pack 1 for NetWare 5.1 on June 20, 2000. Since then, although there have been minor issues with the support pack, there has been no major recall or problems with Support Pack 1.Even so, you may want to install support packs only if they address a problem or need that you have (unless the problem requires that you contact Novell Technical Support). Also, make sure you have several good backups of your entire server—especially your NDS database—before proceeding with installing a support pack.
Unlike the separate patches Novell supplied with NetWare 3.x and 4.x, Support Pack 1 includes all the patches you need for NetWare 5.1 in one file. You don’t need to install any previous patch file before you install Support Pack 1. Just grab the support pack and go.
Support Pack 1 fixes numerous hidden problems with NetWare 1. Some of the problems Support Pack 1 addresses are:
- The NetWare Management Portal was limited to using only the IP address of the portal server rather than its name.
- On-demand PPP connection with compression enabled didn’t work properly with Novell Internet Access Services.
- Connection Manager couldn’t always distinguish between Workstation and User objects in the Policy Manager.
Novell has done more than just fix bugs with Support Pack 1. It has also taken the opportunity to release new features for NetWare 5.1, including:
- A new version (8.59) of DS.NLM.
- An update to WebSphere Standard Edition (from version 3.0 to version 3.02). Version 3.02 contains performance enhancements and an IBM fix pack.
- Improvements in the NetWare FTP server, including enhancements to anonymous logins and privileges, FTP restrictions, and a better Web Manager interface.
In addition, Server Management under the NetWare Management Portal now contains Scheduled Console Commands. Similar to using CRON.NLM, you can issue these commands to set up periodic and/or time-delayed commands to be executed at the server console.
Where can I get it?
You can get Support Pack 1 by going to Novell’s Support site at the NetWare 5.1 Support Pack 1 page. On this page, you can view detailed information about the support pack and go to the download page. To download the file, click the link with the NW51SP1.EXE filename.
You can then select the location to download the file from. Make sure you have plenty of time or a very fast Internet connection. Novell’s Support Pack 1 for NetWare 5.1 is a monster: It’s 250,315,831 bytes long. On a standard 56K modem, the file can take several hours to download. Even on my T1 connection, the entire file took almost an hour to download.
If you prefer to have the files on CD rather than downloading from the Internet, you can order Novell’s Consolidated Support Pack CD. The Consolidated Support Pack CD includes the latest support packs for NetWare 5, NetWare 4.11/4.2, and ManageWise 2.6.Novell plans to update the CD every three months. You can order the CD from Novell for $39 plus shipping and handling. If you currently subscribe to Novell’s Support Connection CD, you’ll receive the Consolidated Support Pack CD automatically. To find out more about the Consolidated Support Pack CD, go to the Consolidated Support Pack CD Web site.
After you download the file to a temporary file on your hard drive, you can run the self-extracting executable to unpack the file. You can extract the file to the root directory of your server’s SYS volume or your workstation’s C: drive. If you’re updating multiple servers, you might find it handier to extract the installation files to your workstation and install the support pack to your servers from there. When you use NW51SP1.EXE, over 1,900 files will extract that consume in excess of 280 MB of space.
Support pack caveats
You should be aware of a few issues before you install the support pack. After you’ve finished installing the support pack, or if you install new software after applying the support pack, you may need to go back and adjust your server’s configuration. Some of the main problems associated with Support Pack 1 are:
- You may have problems with TCP/IP after installing Support Pack 1 on a NetWare server that already has BorderManager installed. Support Pack 1’s TCP/IP version is only a 56-bit version. If you require 128-bit encryption for your Border Manager VPN, you must contact the Novell Support Connection at (800) 858-4000.
- If you run NDS 8.0 on your network, the version of DSMerge included with the Support Pack will support only NDS 7.x and later.
- If you run NDS 8.0 on your network, you may see a file-copying error during the installation of the support pack. If this is the case, after the support pack installs you’ll need to go back and copy the DSBACKER.NLM file from NDS 8.0 to the SYS:\SYSTEM directory.
- If you install BorderManager on your server after installing Support Pack 1, you may have some problems. First, you may encounter an error dealing with the BorderManager NDS schema extensions. Don’t worry about this error; it’s a false alarm. You may have the same problems with TCP/IP as you’d have with a server that already has BorderManager installed.
- You may have problems with TCP/IP after installing Support Pack 1 on a NetWare server that already has BorderManager installed. Support Pack 1’s TCP/IP version isn’t compatible with BorderManager’s encrypted TCP/IP. This can cause communication failures between servers or between servers and workstations. To get around this problem, download and install Novell’s latest encrypted TCP/IP update.
- If you install GroupWise 5.5 on your NetWare 5 server after applying Support Pack 1, you may have problems with NWAdmin. GroupWise 5.5’s installation program overwrites the version of NWAdmin on your server with one older than the one included with Support Pack 1. After installing GroupWise, reinstall Support Pack 1.
- You may encounter a problem on your server if it uses an Intel EtherExpress Pro 100B network card. The older E100BLAN driver that came with NetWare 5 and from Intel doesn’t fully support NetWare 5’s C ODI specification. You should switch to the CE100B.LAN driver that comes with Support Pack 1.
- If you run BackupExec 8.5 on your server, you must make some changes to the server before installing the support pack. If you don’t, the server may abend at the beginning of the installation of the support pack. To keep this from happening, delete FILESYS.NLM and MM.NLM from C:\NWSERVER and SYS:\BKUPEXEC\NLMS\ before you start installing the support pack. Then, restart your server and install the support pack.
Installing the support pack
At this point, you’re ready to install Support Pack 1 on your NetWare 5.1 server. The installation may take some time, so you may want to install it over a weekend or after business hours. If you run multiple NetWare 5.1 servers, you should upgrade them all at once. Likewise, if you have NetWare 4.11/4.2 servers in your tree, you should update them at the same time as your NetWare 5 servers.
If possible, you should install Support Pack 1 in a test environment before rolling it out to all your NetWare 5 servers. This is especially important if you use many third-party NLMs for such tasks as backups or network management. Novell tries very hard to ensure that support packs don’t break third-party applications, but it can’t test everything. If you double-check your NLMs in advance, you may save yourself some headaches.
You have the choice to install the support pack from your server’s console or from your workstation. If you plan to install the support pack from your workstation, make sure you have RSPX and RConsole loaded on your server. Then, open an RConsole session on your workstation and connect to your server. Using Rconsole is probably the easiest choice if you have many servers to update. After loading RConsole on all the servers, you can connect to them one at a time and run the update.
You’re now ready to begin applying Support Pack 1. To begin, type
at your server’s console prompt and press [Enter]. When you do, you’ll see the NetWare Configuration window. Select Product Options on the Configuration Options menu and press [Enter].
You’ll then see the Other Installation Actions menu. Select Install A Product Not Listed and press [Enter]. By default, NWConfig tries to install new products from the A: drive. To change this, press [F3] to specify a location on your server. If you’re running RConsole, you can press [F4] to specify a location on your workstation. Type the path to the location of where you extracted the NW51SP1.EXE files and press [Enter].
NWConfig then asks you which file groups you want to install. In this window, you select whether you want NWConfig to back up files that NWConfig is going to replace. This backup procedure doesn’t replace the full backup you should have done before you started installing the support pack. It only copies older files to a backup directory in case you need to back out the support pack. As I mentioned earlier, Support Pack 1 may not be compatible with some of your third-party NLMs. If you don’t select this option, you may have problems backing out the support pack.
You also need to select the Install NetWare 5.1 Support Pack check box. If you don’t, the support pack won’t load. Press [F10] to continue.
Before the installation starts, NWConfig warns you the server may abend if you have any open .dll files. This includes files that NWAdmin uses. Make sure all such files are closed before continuing. Then, press [Enter] to continue.
NWConfig also warns you that JAVA.NLM must be unloaded. You’ll see this error even if you’ve already unloaded Java. Don’t panic; just press [Enter] to go on.
NWConfig then copies the Support Pack 1 files to your server. Depending on the speed of your server, this may take some time. Don’t worry if your server’s console appears to lock up. NWConfig may swap out temporarily to load and unload additional NLMs. As long as the hard drive on your server is making noise, you’re probably okay.
NWConfig may prompt you to enter your Admin user ID and password to install LDAP Services. You’ll need to enter the fully distinguished context for the Admin user object in the Administrator Name field. After you enter the ID and password, press [Enter] to continue.
After the files finish copying, you’re done. Double-check all of your .ncf files to make sure Support Pack 1 didn’t accidentally change anything. Shut down and restart your server and go back to work. You can do so by using the DOWN command followed by EXIT and then turning your server off and on. You can also do so by using the RESET SERVER command at the console prompt.
Don’t forget to apply Support Pack 1 to the other NetWare 5.1 servers in your tree. Also, apply Support Pack 5 to all NetWare 5 servers and Support Pack 8a to any NetWare 4.11/4.2 servers that are in the same NDS tree as your NetWare 5.1 servers.
Keeping servers up-to-date is one of the most important parts of your job. This includes regularly applying bug fixes and support packs. In this Daily Drill Down, I described the first patch for NetWare 5.1: Support Pack 1 for NetWare 5.1.
John Sheesley has been supporting networks since 1986, when he got his hands on NetWare 2.2. Since then, he’s worked with the Jefferson County Police Department in Louisville, KY and the Genlyte-Thomas Group. John’s been a technical writer for several leading publishers, including TechRepublic, The Cobb Group, and ZDJournals. If you’d like to contact John, send him an e-mail .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.