Y ou grab a handful of popcorn just as the theater lights dim. Even though it'll be at least another 15 minutes before the feature starts, you lean back and soak in the previews. Whether it's action, romance or comedy, it doesn't take long for you to decide if it's a must-see. In the IT world, sneak peeks of coming attractions also play an important role in determining whether a new product will be worth the price of admission. The much-anticipated release of Novell Open Enterprise Server 2—showing at BrainShare 2007 and scheduled for release mid-year—is no exception. So, sit back with another handful of popcorn and enjoy this sneak peek of some of the action coming soon to a server near you.
> Full 64-bit Support
While the first iteration of Novell Open Enterprise Server let you run in a 64-bit environment, you were still 32-bit bound. The upcoming release lets you take full advantage of the extra processing power, added memory capabilities and improved heat and energy savings offered by 64-bit dual-core and multi-core processors from Intel and AMD. So now you can run Novell Open Enterprise Server on top of the distributions of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server that have been optimized for x86 64-bit architectures, instead of just the x86 32-bit distribution.
To give you an idea how the ability of Novell Open Enterprise Server to harness 64-bit processing power can affect your scalability and performance, Novell did some comparison testing in its super lab. One of these tests pitted a 64-bit server against a 32-bit server, each running on 64-bit processors of the same speed. The test focused on the ability of each server to serve up SSL connections. Not surprisingly, the test revealed that the 64-bit server yielded a 65 percent performance increase over the 32-bit server. Simply put, this means that if you're already running Novell Open Enterprise Server on a 64-bit processor, by upgrading to the new version you'll probably double the number of SSL connections your server supports. You'll see significant performance improvements with other services too.
Another exciting aspect of the next version is its role in the virtualization story that Novell has been unfolding during the past several months. When SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 came out last year, one of its most highly touted new features was its ability to run multiple self-contained virtual machines on a single physical server using Xen-based virtualization. (See A Hardened Backend.) At that time, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 provided out-of-the-box support of fully virtualized and paravirtualized Linux guest operating systems. This let you run multiple Linux servers as virtual machines on a single hardware box, greatly facilitating server consolidation, as well as enabling workload isolation of server applications running on the same machine—all contributing to significant cost savings.
Novell Open Enterprise Server 2 makes good on another virtualization promise that was made at the introduction of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10: the ability to run NetWare 6.5 as a virtualized guest operating system in the Novell Open Enterprise Server environment. As a virtualized guest operating system, NetWare now recognizes that it's running as a virtual machine. This translates into performance gains over traditional virtualized guest operating systems that require every I/O and hardware instruction to be trapped and emulated.
Virtualizing NetWare on Novell Open Enterprise Server opens up some very profitable server consolidation possibilities. On today's high-end hardware, NetWare rarely comes close to reaching full CPU utilization. When Novell Open Enterprise Server 2 comes out, you'll be able to take advantage of that under-utilized hardware by having a single machine host two, three or more of your NetWare servers without affecting performance. You can also mix and match, hosting a SUSE Linux Enterprise server and a few NetWare servers, or vice versa. As a result, you can reap one of the nicest benefits offered by virtualization—the ability to preserve access to any NetWare-dependent applications and services while you migrate your IT environment and skill sets to Linux.
Virtualization can also contribute to your disaster recovery strategies, letting you create and store virtual machine images of any supported operating system. If the physical host machine experiences a problem, those virtual machine images can quickly be loaded onto another physical host.
But perhaps the most important advantage that the virtualization in Novell Open Enterprise Server 2 provides you is the ability to maximize the performance capabilities of your high-end hardware. With SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 providing the virtualization support, you can run three different operating systems (or more if you have the server muscle) on a single physical box. That can give you significant savings on your hardware costs, rack space, cooling requirements and power requirements.
"The upcoming release of Novell Open Enterprise Server lets you take full advantage of the extra processing power, added memory capabilities, and improved heat and energy savings offered by 64-bit dual-core and multi-core processors from Intel and AMD.
Perhaps the most important advantage that the virtualization in Novell Open Enterprise Server 2 provides you is the ability to maximize the performance capabilities of your high-end hardware."
> Dynamic Storage Technology
Last year at BrainShare, attendees at some of the Novell Open Enterprise Server sessions were on the edge of their seats about a cool new Novell technology called Shadow Volumes. This new technology has made its way into Novell Open Enterprise Server 2 under the revised name of Dynamic Storage Technology.
The whole idea behind Dynamic Storage Technology is to help you get a better handle on the ever-expanding costs of storing unstructured data. Some industry reports put the growth rate of unstructured data storage at 20 percent or more per year. This data comprises all the mis-cellaneous unstructured stuff that your users create every day, such as word processing documents, spreadsheets, photos, videos, mp3s, presentations and text files. To give you an example of the magnitude of the problem that companies face in this regard, one of Novell's multinational customers has more than 460 Terabytes of unstructured data in their organization.
Dynamic Storage Technology addresses this problem by letting administrators create policies that dictate what data is considered active or inactive. For example, all data that has been accessed within the last 30 days might be considered active and would remain on your high-performing and highly available SAN clusters. All of the data that hasn't been accessed in 30 days, which is considered inactive, is automatically moved to a different, less expensive storage device, such as a SATA or JBOD device, or even just an older SAN. Even though the data has been physically moved, it will appear to users—and third-party applications—as if it is still in its original location. If they try to access it, they will be automatically and transparently redirected to its new location.
The key principle here is that Dynamic Storage Technology eliminates seldom-used data from taking up valuable space on your most expensive and highest-performing storage devices.
Creating a Dynamic Storage Technology (DST) volume will be a simple matter of doing the following from within Novell Remote Manager:
- Select the share for which you want to create a DST volume and click its Info icon.
- In the Share Information dialog, click Add DST Volume.
- In the Create DST for Volume [share name] dialog, enter the storage location for the DST volume in the DST Path entry field and click Create to create the new DST volume.
Defining Dynamic Storage Technology policies will be just as simple. (See Figure 1.)
- From within Volume Inventory, select the desired share.
- Select Links to Specific Reports.
- Scroll down to the bottom of the Reports page and select the DST volume options that you want to apply to your policy.
- Click Start Scan.
With your DST volume created and policies defined, your users' inactive files will be automatically relocated—based on actual use—to the appropriate storage locations, enabling you to better optimize storage resources.
The whole idea behind Dynamic Storage Technology is to help you get a better handle on the ever-expanding costs of storing unstructured data.
The Windows server access technology uses cross-protocol locking to allow support for both Novell Core Protocol and pure Microsoft protocol clients.
> Windows Server Access Technology
This next feature will appeal to Windows desktop users who prefer the native Windows client rather than the Novell client to log in, authenticate and authorize access to services located on the Novell server. In Novell Open Enterprise Server 2, Novell has enabled Linux servers to behave as if they are Active Directory servers. This allows users to authenticate to a Linux server or service with their Windows clients using their eDirectory usernames and passwords.
Note that this is not desktop emulation, nor is it synchronization between eDirectory and Active Directory. Rather, it employs serverside authorization and authentication that allows Windows users to access a Novell server using native Windows protocols, as well as providing seamless cross-authentication between Active Directory and eDirectory. In other words, it lets your users work in a pure Windows desktop environment while still letting them take advantage of all the Novell back-end services and technology.
This Windows server access technology uses cross-protocol locking to allow support for both NetWare Core Protocol (NCP) and pure Microsoft protocol clients; however, you can disable NetWare Core Protocol clients on a case-by-case basis if needed. But whether you decide to strictly use Windows clients, NetWare Core Protocol clients or a combination of both, access rights against user objects will be enforced by the Novell Storage Services (NSS) file system.
You can enable Windows server access technology when the server is first installed or after the fact by simply creating Windows shares using Novell iManager or Microsoft Management Console. (See Figure 2.) You can also perform certain file system and directory tasks, as well as centrally administer SAMBA shares, using either Novell iManager or Microsoft Management Console.
Note that the development of this new Windows server access technology began before Novell and Microsoft announced their interoperability agreement last November. This is evidence of the long-standing commitment Novell has to interoperability in the solutions it provides, which is strengthened even more by its formal agreement with Microsoft.
> Finalizing the Transition to Linux
The last aspect to preview isn't really a single feature; it's a whole array of new capabilities that let you finalize your transition to Linux. For the most part, these were services that NetWare administrators had grown accustomed to, but were not yet available on the Linux side of Novell Open Enterprise Server. Some key components of this set include directory-enabled DHCP and DNS, and DFS junction support.
At BrainShare 2006, one of the most-requested feature additions to Novell Open Enterprise Server was to integrate the DNS and DHCP servers on Linux with eDirectory. That's exactly what Novell has done with this new release, giving you the ability to transition your existing DNS and DHCP infrastructure from NetWare to Linux, as well as centrally administer them the same way you do on NetWare.
To accomplish directory integration for DHCP, Novell proposed the needed changes for an eDirectory/LDAP-enabled DHCP to the DHCP community. Once the community validated the changes and agreed to provide support, Novell coded the changes and submitted them upstream. The new directory-enabled DHCP was then accepted into the downstream code base of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 Service Pack 1 as a pure open source project. With these enhancements in the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server code base, your Novell Open Enterprise Server 2 environment will be able to have all of its DHCP information stored in eDirectory, enabling you to centrally manage your DHCP servers from iManager.
To accomplish this eDirectory integration on the DNS side, Novell did a full port of NetWare DNS to Linux to make it functionally equivalent to DNS in NetWare 6.5. For now, Novell will provide direct support for its proprietary BIND in DNS, but is working with the community to have the changes accepted into the open source BIND project.
Another oft-asked-about feature was DFS junction support. This is new in Novell Open Enterprise Server 2 and lets you take your existing Novell Distributed File System infrastructure and migrate it to Linux. It provides move and split support of your DFS infrastructure for NetWare to NetWare, NetWare to Linux, Linux to NetWare, and Linux to Linux. It also provides client support for the Novell Client for Windows (v4.9x), Windows 2000 and XP Native protocols, and Linux CIFS/SAMBA protocols.
The new DFS junction support on Novell Open Enterprise Server will bring the NetWare Novell Distributed File System feature set to Linux, and with the following additions:
- VLDB service will be cluster-enabled.
- Junctions can point to subdirectories, not just the root of a volume.
- All administration will be performed in iManager.
- Junctions can be created on any file system, not just Novell Storage Services.
> The Summer Blockbuster
I've only highlighted a few of the key elements that make Novell Open Enterprise Server 2 a must have. We haven't even covered a number of other goodies such as iFolder 3.6, Linux support for the archive and versioning server, Novell Client updates (including a Novell Client for Windows Vista), installation and migration improvements and more. But that's what previews are all about; to give you a taste of what's to come. And, what's to come is a summer blockbuster you won't want to miss.