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With the recent passing of Ray Noorda (10/9/2006), I spent some time reflecting on his legacy. Noorda was often hailed as "The Father of Network Computing." It was 25 years ago (1981) when the SuperSet from Novell Data Systems released their first product called NetWare. Twenty-five years! In 1981, I was still in high school playing on my friend's Apple II. Now, my temples are showing signs of gray, my body is growing too tall for my hair, and I am suffering from various computer-related ailments, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and poor eye sight from squinting at computer monitors. I remember that the year before NetWare was introduced, Sony introduced the Walkman. Also born the same year as NetWare were the IBM PC and the Compact Disc (CD), demonstrated by Phillips.

We have come a long way in 25 years. From NetWare, installed from a tall stack of floppy disks, to Linux, installed from a DVD, from the network, or even over the Internet. We changed from a 16-bit file system to a 64-bit file system that allows a file size of up to 8 TB and supports up to 8 trillion files per volume. Yes, we truly have come a long way in the last two and a half decades. Thanks, Ray! Thanks for giving us all a choice.

Freedom Of Choice
This is the second article in a four-part series on the Novell Open Workgroup Suite. The first article in the series (novell.com/connectionmagazine/2006/q3/tech_talk_5.html) was focused on helping administrators understand that they had a choice when it came to desktop and server operating systems. It talked about getting all systems under management by deploying the ZENworks agent, collecting a comprehensive hardware and software inventory, and securing the desktop environment by implementing system-wide patch management.

This article focuses on the migration of servers and workgroup services to Linux, based on the technology included in the Novell Open Workgroup Suite. The introduction was my way of illustrating that many of you have already been playing with Linux for several years now. To some, Linux has been a hobby; an after-hours time killer. For others, Linux sneaked in the back door, seemingly overnight, systematically taking over the primary servers and services of their companies, unbeknownst to the network users or executives. The fact is, Linux is real; it is already within the walls, and it is here to stay. Many of you who have been using NetWare for years want to know what to move to Linux, and how. But, you also may not know just how to go about doing it. In this article, I identify solid reasons why your core workgroup services, which are included in the Novell Open Workgroup Suite, should be moved to Linux, and I'll identify the plethora of recently published resources to help you along your way.

Why Linux?
Are there still some out there who don't know why everyone else is doing it? The reasons are deep and profound. One reason alone will usually justify the move. For a real-life example, see Taking Novell Open Enterprise Server To The Bank! If you're still struggling to understand and justify moving your servers and workgroup services to Linux, consider this short list of benefits:

  • cost efficiency
  • cost savings
  • stability and productivity
  • tighter security
  • improved manageability
  • customization and OSS (open source software)

What Should I Do First?
The hardest part of any project, both great and small, is getting the project started in a meaningful way. Analysis paralysis can wreak havoc on IT departments that look at a wholesale back-end server migration. For others, simple fear stands in the way of taking the first step. For others yet, anxiety is king when they try to "flip the switch" over a weekend in an attempt to avoid end-user disruption. Whatever ailment might be keeping your feet nailed to the floor, realize that the transformation of your back-end servers and services to Linux does not have to be that way. Migration is not an immediate act, but rather a journey and a process. Every company's migration plan will be different; however, if you don't know where to start, it's always best to start with the basic elements of your network, which are file, print, directory and collaboration services. To start, this means systematically replacing or migrating operating systems from NetWare and Windows to Open Enterprise Server on Linux.

Taking Novell Open Enterprise Server to the Bank!

Customer Profile: Metropolitan Bank

  • 85 Branches
  • US$3 Billion in Assets
  • 2nd largest privately held holding company in Illinois

Results and Customer Quotes:

  • Concerned about the escalating administrative costs of Microsoft Windows, Metropolitan Bank Group made the move to Linux-based Novell Open Enterprise Server.
  • "Linux is so stable that we just don't have to worry about it. Our previous Windows environment was a constant concern for us as we always wondered when it was going to go down."
  • Migrating its IT ticketing system from Microsoft SQL on Windows 2000 to MySQL on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server reduced its software costs from $18,000 to $600. "The cost savings from moving our Windows applications to Linux seems almost ridiculous, but it's true!"
  • The bank also rolled out the OpenOffice.org desktop productivity suite. With its employee growth in the past two years, the bank has saved more than $100,000 in licensing fees.

To read the full success story, visit novell.com/success/metropolitan_bank_group.html.

File Services
Starting with file sharing services, you might wonder if there are any reasons to justify moving those services to Linux. File sharing services go hand in hand with the operating system and reflect the same core benefits outlined above. But there are other reasons as well. Advanced file sharing services are dependent on the file system underneath. Novell has one of the best file systems available in Novell Storage Services or NSS.

Novell Storage Services is a secure and manageable file system that provides an efficient way to use and protect your storage device space. As the default storage and file system for Novell Open Enterprise Server, Novell Storage Services allows you to store data securely in the long-honored Novell trustee access control model. Novell Storage Services also boasts unmatched security and visibility, fast recovery in the event of the system going down and excellent manageability. And when you couple Novell Storage Services with the advanced management capabilities included with Open Enterprise Server, you get the best platform for file sharing services available.

At the core of the Novell Open Workgroup Suite is Novell Open Enterprise Server. It, along with Novell Storage Services, provides the foundation upon which all of your migrated services will run. Most will probably start by migrating existing NetWare servers to Linux. Others might also want to migrate Windows servers to Linux. Both groups may determine that they want to consolidate some of the servers during the process. To facilitate, streamline and simplify the process of moving NetWare or Windows servers to Open Enterprise Server, Novell has provided a utility called the Novell Server Consolidation and Migration Toolkit.

The Novell Server Consolidation and Migration Toolkit (Version 1.1) combines the Novell Server Consolidation Utility 4.11 and the NetWare Migration Wizard 8.1 in a single interface. It prompts you for the type of consolidation or migration project you want to perform and then launches the appropriate utility automatically. For your NetWare- or Windows-to-Open Enterprise Server migration project, you would use the Server Consolidation Utility.

In a nutshell, this utility is a file-and-print consolidation tool for copying data between existing servers, including Open Enterprise Server for NetWare and Linux, as well as Windows servers, and migrating network printers. In addition, the Server Consolidation Utility automates key tasks, such as migrating users and their trustee assignments, assigning passwords, and migrating the NetWare or Windows file system data to Open Enterprise Server in an eDirectory tree. One more key aspect to the consolidation utility is the ability to model the actual consolidation and movement of data without actually doing it. This allows you to identify the best combined data structure if data from more than one server is being consolidated to the same machine.

When the actual consolidation takes place, the Consolidation Utility verifies the copy of data to help prevent errors and correct mistakes as the consolidation takes place. Also, don't forget the powerful OS deployment capabilities embedded within Open Enterprise Server for automating the installation using YaST, or the power of ZENworks (also included in the Novell Open Workgroup Suite) that you can use to deploy operating systems.

You might wonder whether migrating file services to Open Enterprise Server can be done without affecting end users. The answer is yes, if done correctly. You can flip the switch without end users knowing their data now resides on an Open Enterprise Server server. (For more resources, see Additional File and Open Enterprise Server Deployment Resources.)

Additional File and Open Enterprise Server Deployment Resources:

Print
Linux provides one of the most scalable and stable platforms for printing services of all operating systems. Various tests reveal that response time on Linux was half what it was on Windows 2003 Server, and throughput was almost two-thirds greater on Linux than on Windows. In addition to better response time and performance, Novell also has iPrint.

Novell iPrint is a printing solution that enables you to send documents to IP-based printers using the Internet Printing Protocol. Novell iPrint provides global access to printers and customizable views of any print environment. It also provides flexible print deployment configurations and secure printing. Novell iPrint is based on Novell Distributed Print Services, known for its manageability, scalability, reliability and ease of use.

Open Enterprise Server now includes a utility to simplify the process of migrating your Novell Distributed Print Services system on NetWare to iPrint on Linux. The Novell Print Agent Conversion Utility is a Windows utility you can use to enable iPrint on all Printer agents on the selected Novell Distributed Print Services Manager and to configure the iPrint security options.

If you're migrating and consolidating your Windows servers to Linux, Novell also provides an iPrint Migration Utility. The iPrint Migration Utility allows you to remotely connect to a Windows server and read the configuration of the printing environment. The utility then creates the same printers on an Open Enterprise Server Linux server.

For iPrint to work properly for end users, a workstation must have the iPrint Client installed. You can distribute the client to your workstations in many ways, including the iPrint Printer List Web page, using the ZENworks component of the Novell Open Workgroup Suite, via login scripts and more.

To install an iPrint client from the Open Enterprise Server server where iPrint services have been configured and enabled, navigate to the DNS name for the server at http://OES-dns-name/ipp. This will bring up the iPrinter List Web page.

To install the iPrint client, just click the Install iPrint Client link located in the top right corner of the screen. If you want to add a new printer, just click on the desired printer in the list. It will install the drivers and configure the printer for you. Other than the need for the new iPrint client, moving your print services from NetWare or Windows to Linux is a fairly easy and straightforward process and can be done with very little disruption. (For more resources, see Additional iPrint Resources.)

Additional iPrint Resources:

Directory
If you are a Novell Administrator, I probably don't need to spend much time selling you on the advantages and benefits of eDirectory. But for those of you who may not know, eDirectory is the most widely deployed and versatile high-end directory service available. Novell eDirectory helps companies manage and secure business resources and simplify complex networks by acting as a repository for user identity information and access rights. It serves as a foundational piece in solutions for secure identity management, provisioning, e-commerce and access management. The directory also plays an important role in the emergence of Web services, adding management and access control to Web services deployments. Here are some interesting statistics on eDirectory:

  • More than 568 million Novell eDirectory licenses have been distributed worldwide.
  • Novell eDirectory is the only directory service to demonstrate scalability beyond 1 billion objects, and it has been proven on Intel and UNIX platforms.
  • Novell eDirectory supports more operating systems than any other directory service, including NetWare, Windows, Linux, Solaris and AIX.
  • Novell eDirectory supports many existing and emerging standards such as LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol), SSL (Secure Socket Layer), DNS (Domain Name System), LDIF (Lightweight Data Interchange Format), HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) and many others.

Because of the broad cross-platform support, eDirectory allows you to transition your servers and services to Linux and keep them under the same management umbrella the whole time. (For more resources, see Additional eDirectory Resources.)

Collaboration
If you are already running GroupWise on a Windows or NetWare platform, you might wonder whether moving the current installation to Linux is worth the effort. The Novell IS&T team made the move to Linux and observed some compelling benefits–beyond the standard benefits for moving to Linux in general. The following is a list of a few of their observations and is based on moving GroupWise from NetWare to Linux. (You can extrapolate the benefits if you're looking to move GroupWise from Windows to Linux.)

  • even greater overall system stability than on the NetWare platform
  • faster, more automated GroupWise agent restarts
  • no database corruption when an agent crashed and minimal database problems when a hardware or power failure occurred
  • automated scripts for loading and unloading agents

The experience of the Novell IS&T team fed the development of a customer utility that automates the process of migrating GroupWise to Linux. In fact, the wizard-driven GroupWise Server Migration Utility makes it easy to make the move to Linux. It allows you to select the relevant GroupWise components that you want to migrate, such as Post Office agents or Message Transfer agents, from NetWare or Windows, installs and configures the appropriate software, and then moves the data for you automatically.

You can choose to migrate one service at a time, or the entire GroupWise system. The utility helps take the worry out of the move because it will maintain the migrated services on the original system during the process to ensure uptime and availability for end users. Once the migration is done, the utility will walk through a test and validation stage to verify that the services on the new Open Enterprise Server Linux server are functioning properly, and that the data has been migrated correctly. Once you feel good about the move, the utility goes back to the original server, grabs any new or altered data from the time the first move was made, and then it activates the new services on Linux. At this point, the Post Office agents will restart and the migration is complete. This last step is the only time during the entire process that an end user might experience a disruption. Very cool! (For more information on the GroupWise Server Migration Utility, see Migrating GroupWise to Open Enterprise Server on Linux online at novell.com/connectionmagazine/2006/07/tech_talk_1.html and an article on the same topic in the November 2006 issue.)

What if you are running Exchange 5.5? If you have been a Novell customer for a while, you are most likely using eDirectory. You might not know that upgrading Exchange 5.5 to Exchange 2003 will require you to install Active Directory. Before you do that, consider moving to GroupWise. As part of the Novell Open Workgroup Suite, GroupWise provides a feature-competitive, highly scalable (up to 200 times greater than Exchange) and easier-to-manage collaboration solution that eliminates the pain, cost and management issues of the Microsoft upgrade. And, Novell offers a utility that makes the move from Exchange to GroupWise almost painless. For a real customer example, see A GroupWise Today Keeps The Exchange Headaches Away.

A GroupWise Today Keeps The Exchange Headaches Away!

Customer Profile: MeritCare Health System

  • 2 hospital facilities serving 2 million patients a year
  • 46 total sites with 6,500 employees
  • Largest medical group practice in North Dakota

Results and Customer Quotes:

  • Migrated 6,500 users and cut back-end administration time by 50 percent.
  • Dramatically improved e-mail reliability and the necessary security to comply with health care privacy requirements.
  • MeritCare has had no unexpected downtime since its installation of GroupWise, which has increased both user productivity and confidence.
  • "From a technical standpoint, we just don't have to worry about our e-mail system every day," said Chip Bartunek, project consultant at MeritCare Health System. "It's always up and we don't have to spend time applying patches. It just works."
  • "As we comply with new health care regulations, security is critical," said Erickson. "Because GroupWise is so secure and reliable, it prevents a lot of headaches."

To read the full success story, visit novell.com/success/meritcare.html.

The GroupWise Migration Utility for Microsoft Exchange makes it easy to move data from Exchange to GroupWise in three easy steps. When you launch it, the utility walks you through the first step of moving mailboxes, the second step of moving groups and distribution lists, and the final step of migrating public folders. The utility also automatically creates user accounts in eDirectory, if they don't already exist. To help you maintain continuity, compatibility and happy users during your transition, you can also use the Outlook plug-in or the WebAccess client during and after the migration.

For those of you who might want to go all the way from Exchange on Windows to GroupWise on Linux, run the GroupWise Migration Utility first. This will move your Exchange data into the GroupWise database. After that's complete, run the GroupWise Server Migration Utility to move your services and data to Linux. Remember, the GroupWise Server Migration Utility lets you be selective on how fast or slow you move your services and data to Linux. (For more resources, see Additional GroupWise Resources.)

Additional GroupWise Resources:

Conclusion
Upon evaluation, each core workgroup service (file, print, directory and collaboration) has obvious benefits when moving to Linux. The Novell Open Workgroup Suite forms the fundamental foundation of products and services to help you systematically migrate your back-end servers and services to Linux. And Novell offers the tools and utilities you need to make the move as painless as possible. Once you have your back end in shape, it will be time to look at your front end. In the next article, I'll begin to investigate the process of replacing expensive proprietary applications with open alternatives that run on a Windows desktop. In the final article, I'll look at what it takes to shed a few more unneeded pounds and go all the way to Linux on the desktop. So stay tuned. EndOfArticleRedN



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