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Novell to Windows switch

By Mick11 ·
As a part of my contract work, I have been approached with a potential project of converting a Novell server over to a Windows 2k Server environment. There are only about 10 workstations, which are all running some platform of Windows currently and no direct connection to the outside world.

I was wondering if anyone out there has had any experiences with this and would be willing to share their trials and tribulations.

Thanks in advance,

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My Experience

by Rabbit_Runner In reply to Novell to Windows switch

The information below is not an attempt to support or deride any OS. This is simply the steps we followed and the problems we encountered.

I worked for a company, back a few years ago. They had been running two Novel 4.11 and 4.12 servers. These were used for two main purposes, file storage, and print server. Since this company was into graphics, the file storage was a major problem because of the extreme size of these files. A management decision was made to switch to a Win2k server, migrate the printers first, then migrate all of the files. NOTE: the space on our Novell servers could not be upgraded. The hardware was limited and no additional drives could be added. Plus no other drives could be found which were compatible with our current equipment. The version of Novell that we were using, did not support TCP/IP
Stage 1). Assign IP addresses to each of the print devices. Some were printers and some print devices. (we were in the printing business)
Stage 2). After all printers were assigned IP's, we then needed to visit each workstation (Win9 and re-configure each printer to use the printer share from the server.
Stage 3). We allowed the users two weeks to test their printers and report any bugs they may have encountered. This uncovered a problem when printing out our reports. These reports were in batches of 500-600 jobs at at time. We had to discover a unique registry setting to overcome this problem.
Stage 4). We copied all of our files to the new server (over night to ensure no files were in use). Then we changed the script which mapped the drives for the users files.
Stage 5). we revisited each workstation and removed the Novell Network Client so that all systems would log onto the Microsoft NT domain.
Stage 6). Users came in on Monday and the new file system was tested. All Windows users had not problems. But since we used graphics filed, the Mac's were not able to use the files. It seems that during the copy, the 'name-space' was not included. This required that the files be re-copied, but using a Mac system as the intermediary. There may be other ways, but we were pressed for time. After the copy the files were now available
Stage 7). We needed to re-train the Mac users on how to access the files, as the connection wasd via TCP/IP and not IPX.
Stage . One last problem (and this was a huge one). The application we were running was switched from the Novell server to the Windows server. The application would copy over just fine, but when attempting to open a file, it would not lock. This allowed several users to access the file and to write to it at the same time, causing garbage and junk. We had to work for over a week to find the solution to this issue.

All in all, the process went fairly smoothly. But there was a problem with the administration. They and been expecting a flawless transition. Even though they had been properly informed that there was the definite potential for problems, this information did not sink in. They had made the original decision. Also many of the workers were asking why make the change when things were working smoothly with the old system.
Phase Final). This required supporting the decision of the administration, explaining and supporting the transition, and educating the workers that this was the best answer to their problem.

In many of the previous posts (see above) there was strong support of a particular OS and usually a negative view to Microsoft. In the situation that I just explained, regardless of my own personal views, it was my job and responsibility to support the decision of the administration. Even though the users felt that a 'status quo' would be best, It was up to me to explain the reasons and purpose of the change. Before any administrative decision, I was able to give my personal views and give reasons for supporting those ideas. However, once a decision was made, I needed to only support their plan of action. Should I have verbally expressed my dis-like for their plan, then I would only have been digging a hole for myself. This would be true for an IT employee as well as an IT contractor.

Michael R.

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Good point but...

by Oz_Media In reply to My Experience

I know you're not supporting either OS but decided to support managment decisions.

just to clear any misinterpretations by the poster...

You were limited by your servers storage capability, not the OS. Your version of Netware used IPX insetad of TCP/IP, newer versions of Netware utilize TCP/IP.

Your transition did seem somewhat seamless, all in all, but the problems you experienced seemed to be MS related and not as a result of the Netware file system.

I understand this decision was out of your hands but the for the cost of administration and licensing, you probably could have bought new servers with larger RAID cintrollers, and upgraded Netware to at least 5.1.

Sometimes, management can't see the Netware Trees through the AD Forest.


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by Eternal Confusion In reply to My Experience

The moral to the story is go with whatever administration decides on, regardless of consequence, as long as you took the time to voice your objections. Is that what I am reading? I have taken this path in the psat, the It is my job to support administration path, I now sit on two major pains in the butt (applications) that the staff blames on me for putting it into place.

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Try this...

by bchesmer In reply to Novell to Windows switch

See if they would be interested in upgrading the Novell and forgetting about the MS OS. Tell them / show them the benefits of 6.x!

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Size matters

by NetMutt In reply to Novell to Windows switch

As someone who has migrated a number of large UK companies (20k seats) from Novell to Microsoft I think I know a little about most headaches that can occur.

On the size of network that you're talking about, I don't think that you'll initially notice much difference (apart from security being weakened). But unless you have someone with the appropriate training and experiance, the system perfomance will drop considerably.

I agree the with majority here, stick with Novell. You need to investigate the uses of the new system (file, print, what applications are needed, security requirements etc). I know of a major UK bank who changed their mind from MS to Netware when I got this information into the right people.

If you do move to Windows however, make life easy on yourself and use eDirectory instead of AD.

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MCSE likes novell

by jtew In reply to Novell to Windows switch

I'm an MCSE, I've worked with Microsoft for years, I believe that they are my bread maker, fixing their product put the food on my table. As long as they keep selling software I have Job security. I've seen a lot of imporvments in microsoft products, and Windows xp is the best that I've seen on the market as far as user friendlyness, and it makes it possible for dumb users to have a pc.
Anti monoply laws stops microsoft form making it totally full proof, or maybe better fool proof. It's easy for dumb users to screw it up. However when it comes to networks, they really fall short, they have some great ideas for manageablility, however they focused too much on making it easy to manage, rather then eliminating the need to manage some of it.
we run several novell servers, and several win2k, adding some win2k3 this fall. we've found some things work really good on novell. if it isn't broke don't fixit. Other things slow everybody down. some of our sybase sql databases just got moved to MS server because they were slow on novell.
I've designed, and administered networks as small as 35clients, and as large as 500 clients.
Always ran into issues with Active Directory that you don't ever see happening with Novell.
A mixed environment is best.

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Excellent post !

by Oz_Media In reply to MCSE likes novell

That's pretty much my take too, although I have less MS experience, by choice.

I agree, when it comes to apps, they will generall run faster and mroe efficiently, newer code is supported etc. with MS.

As far as NDS, AD doesn't hold a flicker of a candle to Novell, security and stability that simply can't be touched by MS.

I also feel that Novell is FAR better at managing a mixed environment and MS is severely limited in that respect. So for the management, security PKI etc. I would go with Novell, even for mail GroupWise is light years ahead of Exchange.

But for custom apps etc. MS is APPRENTLY a beter choice, though I have yet to see Novell's limitations in that respect either.

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