The engineers at Novell have created a slick new Web-based management utility called the NetWare Web Manager. In this article, I’ll introduce you to a key part of the Web Manager: the NetWare Management Portal.

You can access the utility in two ways. First, from the Web Manager main screen, scroll down until you see NetWare Management Portal. Click on the button displaying the file server running the application and voila, you are in the Management Portal. Alternatively, you can type the URL in the browser. The syntax of the URL is http://servername:8008, with 8008 being the default IP port that the Management Portal uses.

Authentication is not required for access to basic information. However, to use advanced features, you must log in as a user with Admin rights. Clicking the Login button will enable you to log in. Once you’re authenticated, your browser will display a screen that’s similar to the one shown in Figure A.

Figure A

As you can see, you have seven management sections to choose from. Navigation in the Management Portal is easy and intuitive. To move to a new section or work with a particular function, you can simply click on the name. Each subsection provides you with a link to the home page shown in Figure A, and each function page contains a link back to the subsection home page.

One of the cool new features in the Management Portal is the selection of Down Server Options, located in the Server Management subsection shown in Figure B. As funny-looking as this screen may appear, the oversized buttons and fonts make it easy to choose the option you need. While I prefer to be in front of a misbehaving file server while it is being rebooted, this utility can come in handy when you’re in a remote location or want to bounce a server for maintenance purposes.

Figure B

Figure C shows another handy feature: the Module List, located in the Application Management section. You can use this list to alphabetically display all of the NLMs that are currently loaded on the server. Clicking on a particular NLM allows you to view more detailed information about the module. You can also unload the module, which can be extremely helpful when an offending NLM is causing a disruption of service.

Figure C

Monitoring file server health is always a concern of network administrators. The Server Health function, located under the Health Monitors section, will provide you with a fairly detailed account of how your server is currently running. Figure D shows a small amount of the information available to you. Clicking on the question mark displays an explanation of the performance metric, and clicking on the description produces a detailed summary of the process. Some of the metrics will provide you with constantly refreshing graphs, while others offer text-based information. This functionality is useful, especially if you are managing a server remotely.

Figure D

The features I’ve outlined here represent only a fraction of what the NetWare Management Portal has to offer. I personally like having the flexibility to monitor my servers from a remote location, regardless of the client software that is running on a machine. Take a few minutes to browse through this utility. Your time will be well spent.
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