Do you work for a medium- to large-size organization with multiple locations? If so, partitioning your NDS database can help improve network efficiency and fault tolerance, as well as provide support for bindery servers that need access to NDS information.

Let’s start with the facts
A partition is a logical boundary placed around a container and all its objects. The topmost container is called the partition root, and it is used to name the partition. All NDS objects, including containers, can exist in only one partition.

Let’s say that the example shown in Listing A represents a single partition. The partition root will be Company A, and all of the containers and their leaf objects will be in the Company A partition.

Listing A

A parent/child relationship exists among partitions. A partition that exists directly above another partition is considered the parent, while the lower partition is considered the child. Using the example above, let’s say that each box is a separate partition. Company A is the parent partition for Division 1, Division 2, and Division 3. The parent partition for Subdivision 1 and Subdivision 2 is Division 2. However, Subdivision 1 and Subdivision 2 have no relationship to Company A. Grandparent relationships do not exist among partitions.

Managing partitions
Now that we understand a little bit about partitions, let’s see how easy it is to create them using NDS Manager. Simply highlight the container that will become the partition root, right-click on it, and select Create Partition. The green partition symbol will appear next to the container, indicating that a partition boundary exists around the container and everything below it except other partitions. Yes, it really is that easy.

NDS Manager also lets us merge a child with its parent. Again, this is relatively easy to do. Just highlight the child, right-click on it, and select Merge. The green partition symbol next to the child will disappear, and the container will become part of the parent partition.

You might be asking yourself how something so easy has a significant impact on your network. Consider the organization chart in Listing A. Let’s say that Division 1, Division 2, and Division 3 represent three geographic locations. Each division has its own NetWare server, and the servers are all connected using 256-Kbps connections. Because we are good network administrators, we have created a partition for each division and placed a copy of it onto the local NetWare server.

Our customers will probably be very pleased with this network design. They will authenticate to the local server, which will be much faster than authenticating over a 256-Kbps connection. All NDS transactions will be made to the local partition, which prevents them from eating up valuable bandwidth. Since we have a relatively slow WAN link, it is imperative to keep network traffic to a minimum and allow important business transactions to utilize the bandwidth we have.

Finally, if the Division 2 server crashes, the other two divisions will be unaffected and can continue working. Management will love you for this.

Don’t span the WAN
As we have seen, partitioning will create logical divisions of the NDS database that will increase the efficiency of NDS and provide fault tolerance. Always remember this basic rule about partitions: don’t span the WAN.

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

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