Enterprise Software

Preparing for NetWare 5.1

In this Daily Drill Down, Steven Pittsley examines the preparations you must make before installing Novell's newest iteration of the NetWare operating system.

In the Daily Drill Down “Introducing NetWare 5.1,” I introduced you to NetWare 5.1, Novell’s newest iteration of the NetWare operating system. If you’ve been thinking about deploying it in your organization, there are a few things you need to know to do so successfully. In this Daily Drill Down, I’ll discuss the preparations you must make before installing the operating system.

What are NetWare 5.1’s hardware requirements?
NetWare has traditionally been a network operating system that hasn’t had extreme hardware requirements. However, NetWare 5.1 has system requirements much more demanding than those in previous versions. In fact, the hardware requirements may be the one drawback to this operating system. Try not to let them scare you away, though. After all, if you are building enterprise-class applications, you shouldn’t expect to run them on the old 60MHz Pentium that’s been sitting under your desk for the last five years.

The minimum hardware requirements for NetWare 5.1 are listed below, followed by some recommendations:
  • A Pentium processor. (A very fast Pentium III is recommended.)
  • A VGA monitor. (SVGA is recommended.)
  • 50MB DOS partition, with 35 MB available. (You should create a DOS partition that exceeds the amount of RAM in the server by 50 MB and has at least 35 MB available.)
  • 750 MB of free disk space on SYS for the standard NetWare 5.1 products.
  • 750 MB of additional free disk space if you install the IBM WebSphere Application server.
  • 128 MB of RAM for the standard NetWare 5.1 products. (At least 256 MB is recommended.)
  • 128 MB of additional RAM if you install the IBM WebSphere Application server. (512 MB of additional RAM is recommended for this product.)
  • 128 MB of additional RAM if you install the Oracle8I Data server. (256 MB of additional RAM is recommended for this product.)

Putting all your ducks in a row
Before you can install a cool new NetWare 5.1 server onto an existing network, you must perform some basic housekeeping tasks that can help prevent problems from creeping into your installation plans. The following may seem obvious, but making sure that all is well with the current state of the network will eliminate guesswork later on, should things go south.

If you’re upgrading an existing file server, your first task should be to run VRepair on all volumes and correct any errors that are found. Do not attempt to upgrade the file server until all the errors have been resolved.

After you’ve corrected any volume errors, you should check the health of the NDS by running DSRepair and fixing any problems that are found. Once again, do not attempt to make any changes to NDS or the network until all the errors have been fixed. Once you’ve corrected all the NDS errors found with DSRepair, you should verify that the DSTRACE screen shows All Processed=Yes and confirm that the replicas have no synchronization errors. You’d probably know if the network is having synchronization problems, but it never hurts to make sure.

Before making any major changes to the network, you should ensure that the network time is synchronized. Again, you’d probably know if the network time is not synchronized, but spending a few moments verifying it could be time well spent.

If you’re upgrading an existing file server, install the latest support pack. This step can be especially critical when you’re upgrading NetWare 4 servers. Novell International Cryptographic Infrastructure (NICI) support is necessary when upgrading to NetWare 5.1, and this support is added to the server when you install NetWare 4 service pack 6 or later.

If you’re planning to upgrade a file server to NetWare 5.1, you must take into account the current version of NetWare that’s running on the server. If, heaven forbid, you’re attempting to upgrade a NetWare 2 server to NetWare 5.1, you must first upgrade the server to NetWare 3, NetWare 4, or NetWare 5 because you cannot upgrade a NetWare 2 file server to NetWare 5.1. As you can probably imagine, the easiest route in this case would just be to do a fresh installation. Besides, NetWare 5.1 can’t run on that old 286 you’re running NetWare 2 on anyway.

When you’re confident that the network is in good shape, you should create at least one full backup, including the NDS, and then verify that the backup is good by restoring a small file. Readme files work well for this type of test. Your backup tape should be created before running Deployment Manager, so that you can restore service quickly if problems arise with the changes that are made. To be on the safe side, create at least two full backup tapes. You don’t want to discover that your only backup tape has been damaged or accidentally destroyed after your installation fails.

Running Deployment Manager
Once you’ve completed your housekeeping tasks and verified at least one full backup, you are ready to run Deployment Manager. The Deployment Manager utility, NWDEPLOY.EXE, runs on your administrative workstation and is used to prepare an existing NDS tree for NetWare 5.1. NWDEPLOY.EXE is located at the root of the NetWare 5.1 installation CD-ROM. It will automatically execute when you put the CD in your workstation.

When you run Deployment Manager, you’ll see the window shown in Figure A. You have several options available for preparing the network for NetWare 5.1 installation. As you can see, the Deployment Manager breaks down the entire task into several easy-to-follow steps.

The Deployment Manager helps you prepare to install NetWare 5.1 on your network.

The Overview section explains each process that Deployment Manager can be used for in preparing a network for NetWare 5.1. The information in this section will provide you with a good overview of what you are about to do.

Most organizations already have a third-party backup software package in use. If this is the case with your organization, you can skip Step 1: Back Up Data. However, be sure that you have performed a full backup, including the NDS, before running Deployment Manager. Again, verify that the backup is good by restoring a small file from the tape.

Once the server has been backed up and you’re confident that the backup is good, you can move on to Step 2: View And Update NDS Versions. NetWare 5.1 requires that you use either NDS 7 or NDS 8. This procedure will ensure that all your servers are running the latest NDS version and are prepared for either NDS 7 or NDS 8.

To prepare your network for a new NDS version, you should double-click on Step 2: View And Update NDS Versions. You’ll see a window similar to the one in Figure B. Using the browse button, locate the container where your server is located. Select the server(s) to be updated and ensure that the Update NDS option is selected. After the NDS files have been copied to the file server(s), you are required to restart NDS. The program will prompt you to click Next, which will restart NDS. Once NDS has been restarted, you can click Exit to complete the procedure.

Figure B
You can view information about your NDS version from Deployment Manager.

The next procedure in the Network Preparation section is Step 3: Prepare For NDS 8 (Required For NDS 8). This is an optional procedure that you must do if you are going to deploy NDS 8. Because NDS 8 has advanced functionality, you must extend the schema to incorporate the new capabilities that are offered with this new version. If you aren’t going to use NDS 8, you can skip this step.

If you elect to install NDS 8, you can start the procedure by double-clicking Step 3: Prepare For NDS 8 (Required For NDS 8). The first window resembles the one in Step 2. Once again, you should use the browse button to locate the tree that will be prepared for NDS 8. Continue browsing until you’ve found a server that contains a Read/Write replica of the [ROOT] partition of the NDS tree. After selecting the server, you can click Exit to complete the procedure and update the schema.

Once you’ve prepared NDS for NetWare 5.1, turn your attention to the new Novell Licensing Service (NLS). As with NICI support, NLS must be present before upgrading to NetWare 5.1. After you double-click Step 4: Novell Licensing Services, the section will expand, displaying two selections: About Novell Licensing Services and View And Update Novell Licensing Services.

About Novell Licensing Services is a readme file that will explain NLS. After reading this file, you should double-click View And Update Novell Licensing Services (NLS) to begin the procedure. Using the browse button, browse to the container where the file server is located. Select the server(s) that NLS will be updated on, and ensure that the Update NLS option is selected. Once you’ve selected the server(s), click Finish. NLS will be updated on the selected server(s), and when prompted, you can click Exit to complete the procedure.

Step 5: Update The Certificate Authority (CA) Object is an instructional file that will explain what the Certificate Authority is and help you to determine whether you must upgrade to Novell Certificate Server 2.0 before installing a NetWare 5.1 server onto the network. If the organizational CA is not present—as would be the case in a NetWare 4.11 upgrade—you can skip this step because one is automatically created during the installation process. However, if you already have a NetWare 5 server on the network, you must follow this procedure to update the NetWare 5 Private Key Infrastructure (PKI) to Novell Certificate Server 2.0.

I recommend that, after completing these procedures, you wait a few days before trying to install NetWare 5.1. It’s always a good idea to be certain that the network is running properly before making another major change to it, especially since you’ve made changes to NDS. Once you’re confident that things are running smoothly, perform another full backup and verify that it’s usable. Because you’ve made changes to the network, this additional backup will ensure that the changes you made to the network and server(s) are protected, should the installation fail.

Choosing an upgrade method
Once you’ve ensured that your new file server meets the minimum hardware requirements and you’ve completed the steps in the Network Preparation section of Deployment Manager, you should be prepared to install NetWare 5.1 on your existing network. However, before you pop the installation CD into the CD-ROM drive, you must determine whether you will upgrade or migrate to NetWare 5.1.

Upgrading a file server to NetWare 5.1 is exactly what it sounds like. You will bring the existing server down and use the NetWare 5.1 installation program to upgrade to the new operating system. This type of upgrade is called an in-place upgrade.

Before you decide that this straightforward method is for you, take a moment to think about what you are about to do. Before attempting to upgrade your file server, it should be running like a well-oiled machine. If the installation fails, your only method of recovery is the backup tape you created before starting the upgrade. As we all know, restoring from tape can be slow and is not always as reliable as we are led to believe. Verifying that the backup is good by restoring a readme file is no guarantee that the entire tape is good. If for some unknown reason your only backup tape goes bad, you might have a very difficult time breathing life back into that well-oiled machine, not to mention restoring your customers’ data. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t perform an in-place upgrade. Just be very cautious and realize that there are some risks involved.

Another method of installing NetWare 5.1 is called an across-the-wire migration. This upgrade method provides some measure of safety to the process; however, you’ll need an extra workstation and a new file server. One of the great features of the across-the-wire migration is the ability to migrate multiple-source servers to one destination server. This very cool option is helpful when you’re trying to eliminate small or seldom-used file servers.

The Novell Upgrade Wizard, which you’ll find on the installation CD at \Products\Upgrdwzd\Upgrdwzd.exe, manages the across-the-wire migration. First you need to install the utility on the workstation being used for the migration. Once it has been installed, you can follow the steps outlined above to prepare the network for NetWare 5.1. In addition to these procedures, you must ensure that you are using an account that has Supervisor rights on the server being migrated, which is called the source server. If this will be the first NetWare 5 server in your tree, you must also ensure that the source server has either a read/write or master replica of the NDS.

Now that the source server has been prepared for the migration, you’ll focus on the destination server. After verifying that this computer meets the minimum hardware requirements, install NetWare 5.1. During the installation, the only extra product that you should install is Storage Management Services (SMS). LDAP, Certificate Server, and the NetWare Management Portal are automatically selected, but this is okay. During the migration, SMS, LDAP, and Certificate Server objects are removed from the tree. After the migration has been completed, you can reinstall these products, as well as any other products that your server will need.

After building the destination server, you can launch the Novell Upgrade Wizard from the workstation. The utility will allow you to copy the files from the source server to the destination server. Once this process has been completed, you can transfer the NDS objects to the destination server. After you perform some post-installation housekeeping tasks, the migration should be complete.

The major benefit of an across-the-wire migration lies in the fact that the source server(s) have not been altered in any way, other than the preparatory work that you did before the migration. Thus, if the migration fails, you should be able to plug the old server(s) back into the network and they should begin working as if nothing ever happened.

In this Daily Drill Down, I showed you what you need to do to prepare your existing network for a NetWare 5.1 file server. Follow these steps for a successful installation!

Steve Pittsley is a desktop analyst for a Milwaukee hospital. He enjoys playing drums, bowling, and most sports.

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.

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