As Windows 2000 Professional starts showing up on more and more desktops, an increasing number of TechRepublic members are developing opinions about the new OS. In a recent article, Jason Hiner outlined the benefits of using Win2K Pro. Members weren’t shy about responding to Hiner’s opinion that Win2K Pro works well in a network with non-Windows servers like Novell Netware. Here’s what some members had to say about the new operating system’s compatibility with Novell servers.

A poor match
Member wayne.eigenman agreed with many of Hiner’s comments about Win2K Pro but suggested that the point about Novell and Microsoft working well together is off base.

“We have a mixed NOS environment here, and the W2K Pro stations suffer difficulties with the Novell Client32 software. Browsing is much slower, and I’ve seen other strange things, like Explorer crashing when a user tries to print. I don’t know who to blame for this, Novell’s client or the OS.”

Steve works in a mixed NOS environment and has experienced these problems: “I have found Win2K slower than my NT 4.0 in most networking functions when I do not have the Novell Client installed. When I installed the Novell Client32 4.8, my Win2K slowed down substantially on network functions on both the NT and Novell servers.”

According to member donbans, Win2K works best in a Windows-only environment. “Putting any Novell clients on it is a poor choice. I have two Terminal/Metaframe servers: one on a Windows 2000 advance server and the other on Windows NT 4.0 TSE. Since we run our file and print services on Novell 4.0 and 5.0 servers, it was a must for me to install Client32 on the Windows 2000 server. After this install, things got really slow, especially at logon (logon script execution that includes drive mappings). Overall, the server is very stable, but there is always a problem browsing a Novell resource.”

They make a nice couple
According to member for7676, there are going to be problems with this combination, but they shouldn’t prevent an administrator from mixing servers and operating systems.

“Any admin who really knows their stuff would know that NetWare is top of the line when it comes to file and print services. For application services, Win2K/NT is the way to go. Both have good (not excellent or perfect) Web hosting and messaging services. I’d take a Netware 5 plus Win NT/2K network over a homogenous one any day.”

At TechRepublic member kirchbee’s organization, they have been testing Win2K on their medium-size mixed Novell 5.1 and NT 4.0 network. Although kirchbee’s team encountered some hardware upgrade issues and were forced to increase RAM, they’ve found that overall, “the OS system works well in a Novell environment (especially on laptops).”

Similarly, ai_Arthur has had mostly positive results with a mixed environment.

“In the past six months, I’ve been evaluating Win2K Pro. The only snag about Novell Netware 4 and Win2K Pro is that it takes a beat too long to temporarily map into another workstation. Otherwise, they roll well.”

Member joseph.mccarthy experienced some initial slowdown after installing Novell software with Win2K. But after he removed and reinstalled Win2K without Novell’s TCP/IP stack, the pair worked well. And Cbalness’s company, one that refuses to go to a Win 2K server, has been using the Win2K Pro OS with Novell 4.11 with no issues.

The human factor
Many TechRepublic members believe that the variety of experiences with Win2KPro and the differing opinions about it are the result of installation methods, instead of actual conflicts between operating systems and servers.

While some members reported differences in uptime with a mixed system, donbans claimed that “uptime almost always depends on administrators and environment and not on the server operating systems. If your NT servers were installed using the default setup values, don’t expect to get much out of them.”

The Gregster offered this advice: “The key is a clean install. So far, every time I see someone doing an update, it will inevitably bite he or she in the butt. They don’t do their homework….”

Member srs agreed that the problems have little to do with the actual systems.

“We run a mixed shop, and yes, I administer a Novell server. I got the chance to replace it with upgraded hardware, so I invited an admin from another region who is a NetWare pro to come install it. The moral of the story? If you install it right in the first place, it’s your best friend—regardless of which NOS it is.”
Have you been successful in implementing Win2K into your current system? If you haven’t switched, do you have any particular concerns? Send us an e-mail and share your installation advice or troubleshooting tips.