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Migrating GroupWise to Linux

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Part of your preparation also needs to include ensuring that you have all the proper prerequisites in place to ensure a successful migration. For example, the migration only supports GroupWise 7 and GroupWise 8. Additionally, whether you’re moving from Windows or NetWare to Linux, the GroupWise Server Migration Utility requires that the version of GroupWise on your source server match the version of GroupWise on your target server. If you are planning to update your GroupWise system, you must update your source post offices and domains before you migrate.

Furthermore, your source and target server operating systems must correspond to an OS version supported by the version of GroupWise that you are migrating. For example, for your source operating systems, GroupWise 8 supports NetWare 6.5 and the Novell Open Enterprise Server 2 NetWare, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003 R2 and Windows Server 2003. For the target server, GroupWise 8 supports Novell Open Enterprise Server 2 Linux and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 and later. While there are a few other prerequisites that must be met for the utility to successfully perform the migration, it’s best to refer to the documentation for the specific details and helps.

Making the Move

While you have the option to manually migrate your GroupWise environment to Linux, the GroupWise Server Migration Utility can definitely simplify your migration efforts. First, the utility prompts you for the information it needs to establish a connection between your source and target servers, and then it correctly transfers your GroupWise data, installs your GroupWise agents and then starts your agents.

To give you a high-level perspective of some of the tasks that the utility performs during a post office agent (POA) migration, the utility does the following on the first pass of the migration phase:

  • Creates the necessary directory structure on the Linux server
  • Copies and installs GroupWise RPMs to the Linux server
  • Mounts the source server
  • Transfers your post office data by running dbcopy with the appropriate parameters
  • Configures gwha.conf
  • Starts the POA on the Linux server for testing purposes
  • If selected, removes RPM files
  • Shuts down the POA

The post office migration is carried out in two stages to minimize downtime for GroupWise users. After you’ve finished this first phase of migration, you can still continue to run your GroupWise environment from your NetWare or Windows source server. Once you're ready to flip the switch and complete the migration, the utility does the following in the second and final pass of the POA move:

  • Mounts the source server
  • Runs dbcopy again to copy incremental data since the first pass
  • Executes gwcheck to ensure that the appropriate filenames have been changed to lowercase
  • Removes temporary files
  • Dismounts the source server

While the GroupWise Server Migration Utility greatly simplifies your move to Linux, you'll still need to do a few things to complete the move. Here is a list of the basic steps you’ll need to take to make the move:

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  1. Install and Start the Server Migration Utility. You can download the utility (gwsvrmig100.exe) from the Novell Downloads Web site and then run it to extract its components into a directory of the Windows workstation that you will use to manage the migration. When you’re ready to begin the migration, run the file gwsvrmig.exe to start the utility. During the migration you can click Help on any page to get assistance filling in the displayed fields or to find out what the utility is currently doing.
  2. Confirm Migration Prerequisites. To help ensure a successful migration, the utility will ask you to confirm that you’ve completed key migration prerequisites for the move. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Provide Source and Target Server Information. The utility will prompt you to provide the source and target server information that you collected when completing the GroupWise Migration Worksheet that was discussed earlier. (See Figure 2.)
  4. Migrate Your Post Offices, Domains and Agents. Once you provide all the necessary information for your source and target servers, the utility will step you through and automate the processes of moving your post offices, domains and agents. It can auto-detect your post offices and domains and select the ones you want to move (See Figure 3) You can also manually browse to those you want to move.

While this sums up the main steps for moving GroupWise to Linux, Novell provides excellent detailed documentation that will guide you through this process. If that’s not enough, you can also refer to the Novell support forums for additional insights and tips. (For GroupWise 8, click here and for GroupWise 7, click here.)

The bottom line is that Novell has tried hard to make it as easy as possible for you to make the move that allows your GroupWise environment to take advantage of the stability and performance that Linux delivers.


  • Figure 1

    To help ensure a successful migration, the GroupWise migration utility asks you to confirm that you’ve completed key prerequisites before initiating the move.

  • Figure 2

    The GroupWise Migration Worksheet steps you through the gathering of information that you'll need during the migration, such as information on the migration's source and target servers.

  • Figure 3

    The GroupWise migration utility can auto-detect the post offices and domains to be migrated.

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