If your management is asking you to cut down on the number of servers supported, or if you’re planning a server consolidation or upgrade project and have found that you aren’t relishing the volume migration process, you may find Novell’s NetWare Server Consolidation utility an extremely useful tool to add to your admin arsenal. Here’s what you need to know to make full use of this valuable utility.

A new utility
Released in August of 2002, the consolidation utility is a relatively new tool provided free of charge from the Novell Web site. The consolidation utility can be used to copy entire volumes or specific directories between NetWare 4, 5, and 6 servers without regard to the volume type—NSS or traditional. It can also be used to copy Novell Distributed Print Services (NDPS) printer agents to a different NDPS print manager. But the next feature of this utility is the kicker:  When performing any of these functions, the volumes’, directories’, and printer agents’ associated rights, trustees, ownership, and name space information is copied along with the files to the new location. This can save a significant amount of time at the end of the process, since you won’t need to reset this information.

The setup
In order to show you how well this utility works, I’ll show you how to consolidate the data on two NetWare 6 servers and take the second server out of service. For my example, the older NetWare 6 server that I want to take out of commission is named NW6-OLD, while the newer server is named NW6-NEW. Both of these servers are in an eDirectory tree named nds-lab. My client machine is a Windows XP Professional machine with the latest version of the Novell client software installed.

The current version of the consolidation utility requires that all servers be located in the same tree. A future version of the utility will remove this limitation and allow data to be copied between servers in different trees.

Meeting the prerequisites
Before installing the consolidation utility, there are a few prerequisites that must be met. First of all, the client workstation that will be responsible for running the utility must be running Windows NT, Windows 2000, or Windows XP Professional. If it is running Windows 98 or Windows XP Home, the utility will not run. The client must also be running a minimum of version 4.83 of the Novell client software.

Second, the servers that are to be administered using the utility must be running NetWare 4.2, 5.x, or 6. NetWare 4.2 servers are only supported in a source server configuration, which means that you cannot use them as targets for copied directories or volumes. If you’re working with a NetWare 4.2 server, make sure that Long Name space support is loaded and enabled on the volumes with which you’ll be working. Don’t forget to make sure that IPX is enabled on the client if you’re working with a NetWare 4.2 server.

Finally, you’ll need Administrator privileges on both the source and destination servers. Once you have ensured that these conditions are satisfied, you can move ahead with installing the consolidation utility software.

The consolidation utility is downloaded as a single file named NWSC1.exe. It’s safe and recommended to simply accept all of the defaults. There isn’t much in the way of configuration at this point anyway.

After installing the utility, check the version of TSA600.NLM on your NetWare 6 server and compare it to the copy installed in C:\Program Files\Novell\NetWare Server Consolidation Utility\Products\nw60 on the client. If the client version is newer, replace the server version with it. Afterwards, reload TSA600.NLM. For other versions of NetWare, refer to the readme file included with the software for further instructions before continuing.

Running the utility
To run the utility, go to Start | All Programs | Novell | NetWare Server Consolidation Utility | Novell NetWare Server Consolidation Utility. The Consolidation Utility creates a project file to record your actions so that you can run them on demand or at a later time. The utility will first ask you if you want to create a new project or open an existing one, as shown in Figure A. For this example, I will create a new project named Lowes Demo.

Figure A
Here you can choose to create a new project or work with a previous one.

The next step asks for the name of the tree you wish to work with. My tree is named NDS-LAB and appears on the drop down list for selection, as shown in Figure B.

Figure B
Here you can choose the NDS tree you want to work with.

Next, it’s time to decide what is going to be moved and where. This is all accomplished with drag and drop in a two-pane window. The first pane is marked Source and the second is marked Destination, as shown in Figure C.

Figure C
Here are the Source and Destination windows.

A demonstration
This example is going to go over a somewhat simplistic migration. First, I plan to migrate all of the contents of NW6-OLD/vol1 to nw6/vol1 as they are. This action is as simple as dragging NW6-OLD_VOL1 on top of NW6-NEW_VOL1 and dropping it, as shown in Figure D.

Figure D
Dragging and dropping a volume object is all there is to migrating contents.

When a volume object is dragged on top of another, a window pops up with two options. The first option lets you simply migrate the volume object to the new volume, while the second option allows you to migrate the volume into a subdirectory on the new volume with a name matching the original volume label. For this example, I’ll migrate the volume rather than put the contents into a subdirectory. Since I plan to decommission NW6-OLD when I’m done, I want to be able to simply point users to a new server name rather than deal with a new directory structure. Figure E shows the results of this action.

Figure E
Here you can see that the old volume shows up under the new one.

As you can see in Figure E, the contents of the old VOL1 show up under the new VOL1. If you’re working on a particularly complex migration and have forgotten where something came from or can’t find where it went, right-click the volume and choose Where Did It Come From? or Where Did It Go? respectively.

If you make a mistake, you can easily fix it by right-clicking the volume or directory in question and choosing Back Out Dropped Object from the shortcut menu.

It is important to understand that this process does not actually perform the migration. With these steps, you are basically creating a script of actions that will be taken when you choose to actually run it. This is great because it gives you a much better opportunity to see what the actual final results will be rather than using trial and error.

This is all that I want to do in this example, so it’s time to run it and see what happens. Before you run your project, you need to verify it by choosing Project | Verify Project. When you choose this option, a list of objects that were dragged and dropped will come up. Since I’m only performing a simple example, only one object—VOL1—comes up. (See Figure F.)

Figure F
Here is the list of dropped objects.

One situation that the process may run into is that of matching file names. You need to indicate how the utility should handle this condition. You have a choice of not copying any matching files, only copying the file if the source is newer than the destination, or copying the file regardless of the date. This choice screen is shown in Figure G.

Figure G
Here you decide how duplicate file names should be handled.

Once the utility has been told how to handle this condition, it will log into all affected servers and make sure that the process will run without errors. For my example, the verification process ran without any problems.

If you are migrating data from a NetWare 4.2 server and you run into critical errors during the verification process, load CLIBAUX.NLM on that server and try the verification process again.

Run it
The next step is to actually run the project that was created. Before you do this, a full backup of all affected servers as well as NDS is in order. To run the consolidation project, choose Project | Verify and Copy Data from the menu. You will have to go through the verification again, which I don’t mind since I tend to be somewhat cautious when I do these types of things. Once the verification process is complete, click Proceed to start the consolidation.

To migrate printing to the new server, bear in mind that this utility does not copy brokers or managers—only agents. If you want to migrate all printing, you will need to create a new broker and manager on the new server before running the consolidation utility, then migrate the agents into it during the migration process. At the end of the process, if it appears that the agents have not migrated, make sure that you give NDS time to replicate and that NDPSM.NLM (Novell Distributed Print Services Manager) is loaded on the new server.

In certain circumstances, trustees may not be fully restored after the migration. Before trustees can be associated with objects, ID information needs to be created, which, for NSS objects, depends on the NDS backlink process. This ensures consistency between pointers to NDS objects. Use the following commands at the server prompt to verify backlink integrity and to manually run this process:
set dstrace=on
set dstrace=+blink
set dstrace=*b

Run this as many times as it takes for there to be no more objects appearing on the dstrace screen for backlinking. When you are done, reboot the server or run NSS /resetidcache at the server console prompt to finish.