If you own, purchase or upgrade to Novell Open Enterprise Server, you can download the self-study kit for our five-day Integrating Novell Open Enterprise Server for Linux course, absolutely FREE! You may also purchase a hard copy of the kit for US$75–an 85 percent discount! For details, visit novell.com/products/openenterpriseserver/support_and_training.html.
This article is the first in a three-part series aimed to acquaint you with Novell Open Enterprise Server and perhaps ease some of the anxiety you're feeling about making the jump from NetWare. The content is taken from the Novell training course Integrating Novell Open Enterprise Server for Linux.
Let's face it. Life used to be simple for Novell network engineers and administrators. It may not have seemed simple at the time, but compared to what you face today, the 20th Century was the golden age of networking.
Especially when it came to Novell networking.
What could be simpler than sitting back and waiting for the next NetWare upgrade or support pack? Chances were that if you had any current issues with the product, they would be resolved (with some tweaking), and your print and file services would continue to run forever.
Then it happened. Novell purchased another entire operating system (SUSE Linux), and suddenly you were faced with Novell Open Enterprise Server when all you really thought you wanted was the next version of NetWare.
As an instructional designer in Novell Training Services, I've worked closely with Novell customers for a lot of years (both in the 20th and 21st centuries), and I hear all kinds of stories—your stories—out in the field as we test courses and talk to customers.
And it was from talking to you at BrainShare in Salt Lake City and at several other training sessions that Training Services decided to create a course that addresses some of the issues surrounding a decision to move at least some of your Novell services to Linux.
We call the course, Integrating Novell Open Enterprise Server for Linux, but it should really be called, So you don't know where to start with Linux, and you're not sure you want to, but you know you need to, and you'd really like to keep those NetWare services around as long as possible because they've been so good to you. Or you could simply call it, Course 3077.
Beginning with this article, and two more in the February and March issues of Novell Connection, my cohort instructional designers in Novell Training Services and I want to take you on a high-level tour of Course 3077, pointing out some key principles along the way, and some of what we experienced as we included customers like you in the development process.
Why Integrate Novell Open Enterprise Server for Linux?
There are a lot of customers out there running Novell Open Enterprise Server services on Linux. Many are in the process of migrating and others (possibly you) are still waiting for the right moment.
Those who are running Novell Open Enterprise Server on Linux were often ready to move to Linux because they already had experienced UNIX or Linux engineers on staff. Others, such as educational institutions, are implementing Linux because it is significantly less expensive than alternative operating systems. Still others are moving to Linux because of a corporate directive to "downsize" the number of supported operating systems, or take advantage of cost savings through hardware consolidation.
Yet, even those customers who have the skill set and corporate support to make the move often choose to keep services (such as Novell Clustering Services) running on NetWare until Novell Open Enterprise Server offers a compelling reason to move current services from NetWare to Linux.
And feature parity may not be a compelling reason.
If a service is running well on NetWare and the feature set is the same for Linux, most customers prefer to hold fast to NetWare and wait it out until something better comes along, or until their hardware needs updating or an application needs upgrading.
After all, Novell Open Enterprise Server is about choice. As recently stated on our own Novell Open Enterprise Server Web site:
"Open Enterprise Server is a business platform that gives you the very best networking, communication, collaboration and application services, and lets you choose the platform mix that suits you best....You can choose to use NetWare, SUSE Linux or a combination of both technologies."
And, you know, from my own experience, I honestly believe that.
You can continue to keep your current Novell Open Enterprise Server services running on NetWare. You can create a mixed environment of both NetWare and Linux. Or you can go "pure Linux" and still provide your customers with a high quality networking experience.
But that still begs the questions, "Why integrate Novell Open Enterprise Server for Linux? Why now?"
Because, like you, our goal is not feature parity. Our goal is to innovate on the Linux platform—to build functionality and services on Linux that aren't available on NetWare. iFolder 3.0 is a good example, (it runs only on Linux,) with even more to follow in Novell Open Enterprise Server 2.
So, if you're looking for a reason to integrate Linux, we hope this series of articles provides that one compelling reason to start now, with more to follow in Novell Open Enterprise Server 2.
The Myth of the Linux Guru
So you've grown up on NetWare networking. You cut your teeth on NLMs and the system console prompt. You know your SYS: volume like the back of your hand. You can monitor a NetWare server with two hands tied behind your back while watching the latest featured video on YouTube. And you're comfortable, knowledgeable and invaluable to your company.
Linux, on the other hand, seems like some strange kind of UNIX step child living in an open source housing project that you quickly drive past, hoping to avoid eye contact with any of the residents. After all, there are all kinds of cars parked there at all hours (it's open), and people actually put penguins on the lawn instead of flamingos.
Now Novell is actually encouraging you to sign a lease and move in. Want to know a secret? It's really not that bad, and you already know a lot of the people there. And, you might actually enjoy penguins instead of flamingos for a change.
Do you need to be a Linux "guru" to install, configure and run Novell Open Enterprise Server services in a production environment?
Not necessarily; however, we do recommend training and experience equivalent to our Certified Linux Professional certification to become familiar with basic operating system maintenance.
We've found that customers with some UNIX experience (even if it was a lifetime ago) understand enough to feel comfortable learning the Linux operating system and commands.
On the other hand, NetWare engineers and administrators with no UNIX experience tend to struggle in the beginning (where's my config command?), but with a little help (such as a table that compares NetWare commands to Linux commands) can quickly adapt to the new environment, and often excel at most basic and some advanced command line tasks.
For example, Table 1 shows some NetWare commands that have a close equivalent in the Linux operating system.
While you might not be able to immediately start administering, configuring and troubleshooting a Linux server, don't discount your existing NetWare and networking skills. They are an invaluable resource in transitioning to a Linux environment, and with a little hands-on experience, can take you far into Linux country.
In addition, we've found that having a "safe" place, such as a virtual server environment, and some guidance, such as step-by-step exercises, can ease you quickly into Linux. For example, a student in San Diego almost passed up coming to class because she didn't have any experience with Linux or UNIX. By the end of the class, she was able to outperform many in the class who had prior experience with Linux or UNIX.
For that reason, we recommend taking a course such as 3077 (in a classroom or through self-study). It requires no previous Linux experience to get services up and running on an Open Enterprise Server for Linux server. And it can help you evaluate not only the services but what skills you might need to acquire to feel comfortable running the services in a production environment.
Managing Novell Open Enterprise Server for Linux from the Desktop
One difference you'll immediately note between NetWare and Linux is the rich desktop environment on Linux. In fact, on a Linux server, you can do most, if not all, of your configuration and management from the desktop.
"What? Manage my server from a desktop? How embarrassing. You'll never catch me going anywhere near anything but a command prompt on my servers."
And that's fine. But the KDE desktop in SUSE Linux Enterprise can be a great place to start your journey into Linuxland with relatively powerful and simple administration tools.
For example, the Konqueror file manager gives you a quick way to navigate through the Linux file system. (See Figure 1.)
In addition, you can:
- view and manage devices
- access the local network (include SLP services) and FTP sites
- view and access a history of Web sites by server
- open a terminal window internally or as an external window
- add tab pages to the window
You can run the YaST administrative tool from the KDE desktop or from a command prompt; it's the premiere management and configuration tool for SUSE Linux Enterprise. (See Figure 2.)
Not only can you use YaST to install and configure Novell and SUSE Linux Enterprise services and clients, but you can also update your system and save hardware information.
If you ask me, the greatest feature of YaST is SuSEconfig. This program kicks in after you install a service or program, or after you change configuration settings, and not only restarts each service so the changes take effect–without the need to reboot–but also edits all the service configuration files for you, which can be a real challenge for the Linux novice.
You also have the usual bevy of system and file management tools you've come to expect from a server desktop, such as Windows. But remember that even if you do feel more comfortable at a command prompt, the KDE desktop may be your best bet for an intermediate stop on your way from NetWare commands to Linux commands.
And that leads to one final note: Once you do learn how to administer a Linux server from the command prompt, you might find it confusing in a mixed NetWare/Linux server environment to switch between the commands on a Linux server, which uses the Bash Shell by default, and the NetWare system commands. Or you might find it more convenient to use some of the Linux commands you've learned, and continue using them in NetWare.
In this case, NetWare provides the solution by letting you start a Bash Shell (bash.nlm) at the system console prompt. Simply enter the Bash command and you can start using the commands you've learned in Linux.
Managing and Monitoring Novell Open Enterprise Servers
If you've been managing NetWare 6.x servers for any length of time, you're already familiar with tools such as iManager, iMonitor and Novell Remote Manager.
And although there is some overlap in functionality between tools, you primarily use iManager to configure and manage Novell Open Enterprise Server services, iMonitor to check eDirectory on your servers, and Novell Remote Manager to manage servers.
So, what's happening with these tools on Novell Open Enterprise Server for Linux? Can you take advantage of the skills and functionality you already use with a NetWare server to perform the same tasks on a Linux server?
Not that there aren't some differences in functionality in a tool such as Novell Remote Manager (because of differences in operating system capability), but iManager plug-ins are consistent between NetWare and Linux, and iMonitor provides the same functionality for checking eDirectory on a NetWare or Linux server (or other supported platform).
In fact, the greatest difference you might notice is in tool access, and even that is not significant:
- Novell iManager
NetWare and Linux: https://server_IP_address_or_DNS/nps/iManager
- Novell iMonitor
NetWare ports: 8008, (non-secure) and 8009 (secure)
Linux ports: 8028 (non-secure) and 8030 (secure)
- Novell Remote Manager
NetWare and Linux: http://server_IP_address_or_DNS:8008
What this means is that your wealth of experience using iManager, iMonitor and Novell Remote Manager on a NetWare server is equally valid for managing a Novell Open Enterprise Server for Linux.
For those we've trained in our Novell Open Enterprise Server classes, this is often a significant transition point in deciding whether to integrate Linux into their existing network. Why?
Because with all the pressures and requirements you face keeping your network up and running, it is critical to be able to leverage what you already know to continue providing a quality experience for your customers.
And it just makes sense to you–and Novell.
Now, for those of you who would rather skip the Web tools for some tasks, and go directly to the command line to manage a server locally or remotely, OpenSSH is available on both NetWare and Linux in Novell Open Enterprise Server.
If you are unfamiliar with OpenSSH, it lets you perform tasks such as:
- remotely access any server in your network and copy files and directories to and from other servers in their networks using ssh utilities
- place ssh utility commands in script files to automate many routine tasks
- remotely connect to a server and automatically send a command so the server will run that command and then disconnect
- provide secure data transmissions and communications across the Internet whether you are outside or inside a firewall
For example, from a DA2 NetWare server, you can log in as root to a DA1 Linux server (10.200.200.1) by entering ssh email@example.com, and then use your normal set of Bash commands to manage the DA1 Linux server.
OpenSSH is not automatically started at bootup on a NetWare server, so you'll need to enter the sshd command at the system console prompt or in the autoexec.ncf file before you can remotely access a NetWare server from another Novell Open Enterprise Server using the ssh command.
Once you've "ssh'd" into a NetWare server, you can view a list of keyboard commands by pressing Ctrl+Q, display a list of current screens by pressing Ctrl+Z, and exit the ssh session by pressing Ctrl+X.
A Word About DNS/DHCP
If you're like most network engineers, you're happy with your current configuration of DNS/DHCP services. And if you're running them on a NetWare server, you appreciate the full-feature functionality, integration with eDirectory and configuration accessibility through iManager.
While you can configure and run DNS/DHCP on a Linux server, with YaST making it a relatively simple task, as we demonstrate in Course 3077, DNS/DHCP on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 is a Linux service and does not provide all the features currently available with DNS/DHCP on NetWare.
The good news is that with Novell Open Enterprise Server 2, DNS/DHCP will be integrated into eDirectory and management will be done through iManager on the Linux side. This will give you feature parity and a better reason for migrating DNS/DHCP to Linux.
Where Do I Go From Here?
If you're anxious to get started and want some materials to help guide you through what we've been talking about, consider taking an available Course 3077 class or purchase a self-study kit. (For more information, visit novell.com/training/courseware/ts_proj_info.jsp?pid=13962).
And for a limited time (and I'm not kidding!), if you own, purchase or upgrade to Novell Open Enterprise Server, you can download the Course 3077 self-study kit for FREE. You can also purchase a hard copy of the kit for US$75–an 85 percent discount over standard pricing. And if you prefer instructor-led training, we'll give you a 10 percent discount through select Novell training partners.
In addition, if you've got (or put) Novell Open Enterprise Server under maintenance, you can take advantage of 90 days of free support to help you get started deploying the product. For more information, visit novell.com/oespromo.
While this article has been somewhat "light" on the technical, we hope we've given you some insight into where to start with Novell Open Enterprise Server on Linux.
In the next two articles, we'll tackle some of the issues and questions you might have about NSS volumes on Linux and migrating volumes from NetWare to Linux, accessing files on Linux through the Novell Client (NCP) and Samba/CIFS, migrating iPrint from NetWare to Linux, and the new iFolder 3.x product.
Until then, try planting a few penguins on your lawn; they really do play well with flamingos.