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Getting Started with Novell AMP Server

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Jeff Fischer

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Posted: 5 Dec 2003

Here is a splendid introduction to the Novell AMP or Apache MySQL, and PHP, PERL services offered on Novell NetWare. This article is the first in a series that will introduce concepts and skills associated with developing with Novell AMP Server.

If you have any questions you'd like Jeff to address in this series, let us know and we'll lob 'em over to him.

Want to play? Pop over to the Novell Forge AMP Community and see what's up.

In this article, I will introduce the AMP server, detail its installation and configuration. I'll also discuss the history of AMP technologies and an overview of each product that makes up an AMP server. In the upcoming articles, I'll write about how to develop solutions using the AMP server and related technologies, such as integrating with Novell eDirectory and finding information about the NetWare server using both PHP and PERL. The intended target of this series will be longtime NetWare users who may be venturing into the open source world for the first time. I expect that most open source users will have extensive experience with AMP, or at least either Apache, MySQL, and PHP or Perl. While this first article may only be a review for experienced AMP users, the next in the series should offer more detailed technical content as I discuss how to integrate and AMP server with Novell technologies.

Even though this article will be entirely about the Novell AMP server, an AMP server can exist on any platform that is supported by Apache, MySQL, and PHP/PERL, which could be Windows, NetWare, or Linux and Unix. I'll mostly focus on the Novell NetWare AMP server, but that is not to take away from Novell's cross platform "One Net" vision or Linux strategy moving forward. Most of the concepts I will talk about will port over directly to an AMP server on another operating system platform.

The environment I am using for this series about the Novell AMP server consists of a NetWare 6.5 server with the AMP deployment pattern installed. I will also be using a NetWare 6 server just for illustration that AMP runs well on NetWare 6 as well as 6.5. I am using my Laptop that has SUSE Linux 9.0 Professional 9.0 installed on it to write this article and I will be using that as a client as well as a Windows 2000 workstation as a AMP client as well.

Now that the introductions are over, let's dispense with the setup stuff and get started on this Getting Started with Novell AMP Server series.

Historically Speaking

In order to best understand the transition and improvements that have occurred to Novell NetWare over the years, let me begin this article with a brief history lesson.

Back in the early 1980's, when NetWare was king, it was known primarily as a file and print server. It was the best file and print server on the market. File and print were the main and really the only uses for network servers and NetWare did its job extremely well. Over the years, NetWare and dramatically improved, but it still never really left behind its reputation as a file and print server. Even today, most people say that NetWare was the best file and print server on the market. Notice that I used the verb tense was. Most people don't realize is that NetWare is not dead, and it is not just a file and print server anymore. If fact, many would argue that NetWare is the most full featured network server on the market today.

In the mid 1990's as the Internet age begain, NetWare did not have significant Internet services that it could provide for a network. Other complaints I heard about NetWare was that it lacked a solid database server. Also, who in their right mind would want to program an NLM or NetWare Loadable Module, which is a server side software program with its difficulty and lack of common compiler support.

Now, as we have been through the rise and fall of the dot com era and the Internet has evolved into the most important aspect of a corporate network, NetWare has evolved as well. It is rich in its Internet features that it can provide for a corporate network. As corporations integrate Internet services into their network infrastructure, their server software must be capable of supporting them and facilitating them into the Internet space with ease and without a cost burden.

Enter Novell AMP Server

While Novell struggled to find an enterprise quality database server and Web server, other operating systems began to gain market share, namely Microsoft Windows. It really wasn't until the oncoming of NetWare 6 that Novell found a quality Web server and database server. With NetWare 6, Novell began to marry together NetWare with open source software which has produced an excellent combination. The speed and rock solid operating system platform coupled together with open source software. Novell went straight to the top of the list to find Web server software when they ported over the Apache Web server to NetWare and the MySQL database server as well. As a side note, PostgreSQL database server has been ported over as well to NetWare and runs great. Novell also added an API for the PHP dynamic Web scripting language which completed the parts for the AMP server.

With NetWare 6, Novell had all the pieces to put together an AMP server, but in NetWare 6.5, Novell has integrate them together and optimized the server to act as a transaction based server that specializes in Web page retrieval and database queries. The Novell AMP server is one piece that Novell has added to NetWare so that the server platform can make its transition from a file and print server to a Web platform and an application development platform. These are features that NetWare has sorely missed until the past few years.

What is AMP?

AMP stands for Apache, MySQL, and PHP/Perl. The technologies included are the Apache Web server, MySQL database server, and PHP Web scripting language, and Perl scripting language as well. An AMP server combines each of these services onto one machine to provide a powerful, robust, and secure Web development platform. The name was coined first in the Open Source community and came from running an Apache Web server, MySQL database and PHP on a Linux server platform. After porting each technology over to NetWare, Novell adopted the name to use for Novell NetWare.

Advantages of AMP

There are several advantages of using an AMP server. The first advantage comes from the fact that each of these technologies are open source. The source code is freely available to download and compile. You can also download the binaries free of charge and with just a few installs, you can be off on your way to be running an AMP server.

With today's cash strapped IT budgets, in many cases, free is the only price tag that can be shopped for. But free isn't the best advantage of using AMP. As an AMP developer, or a PHP/Perl developer, you can find loads of information and tutorials on the Web to help ease your learning curve once you dive into serious AMP development.

The next advantage comes from the combination of using 3 mature and powerful technologies to develop your Web solutions. The Apache Web server is the most popular Web server used on the market. The MySQL database server is the most popular open source database server and has one of the largest install base of any database server. PHP and Perl are two extremely powerful and flexible scripting languages. PHP is the fastest growing dynamic Web technology in use by millions of Web sites today. PHP has libraries for several databases, XML, LDAP, .NET, Java, image manipulation, email, and file system functions including FTP.

Novell makes it even easier to install a Novell AMP server with the addition of an AMP server pattern deployment install with NetWare 6.5. During the install process of NetWare, you select to install the server as an AMP server, it automatically installs the Apache 2.x Web server, PHP/Perl scripting languages, and MySQL database. You are prompted for the MySQL root user database password, and after that, you can watch the files copy and within a few moments be ready to develop your Web applications using PHP or Perl.

Installing a Novell NetWare AMP Server

NetWare AMP server runs great on NetWare 6 and NetWare 6.5. The install of AMP on NetWAre 6 is manual meaning that you have to install each product manually. The install of AMP on NetWare 6.5 is automated. The operating system install does the entire install for you. After the server is rebooted, your AMP server is ready to use to build and deploy your AMP Web applications.

You can find an deployment guide for installing an AMP server on NetWAre 6 on Novell's developer Web site at This deployment guide details prerequisites, the install procedure, and how to configure a sample application. The sample application is PHPMyAdmin, which is a very popluar Web based Database Management System used to administrater a MySQL database server.

Here are the steps to install an AMP server on NetWare 6.5.

  1. When you boot off the CD, select I to install NetWare 6.5
  2. Select I to install IDE drivers on an IDE machine, or S for a machine with a SCSI disk subsystem.
  3. Select A to auto load NetWare at bootup.
  4. Select to install in English.
  5. Select continue to specify the regional settings.
  6. Choose F10 twice to accept the license agreement.
  7. Choose Default for the installation type and select Continue.
  8. Click Continue to select the default options for the installation.
  9. Wait for the file copy.
  10. After the initial file copy, the Novell X Server will load.
  11. In the Choose a Pattern box, select NetWare AMP and click Next.
  12. Click Copy Files.
  13. Insert the NetWare 6.5 Products CD when prompted.
  14. Wait for the file copy.
  15. Type in a name for the server.
  16. Insert the license diskette and click Next.
  17. Select IP and type in the IP address for the server and click Next.
  18. Enter in a host name for the server if you will use DNS to resolve its name and any name servers if they are not auto detected.
  19. Click Next.
  20. Select your time zone and click Next.
  21. Select to create a new eDirectory tree and click Next.
  22. Enter a tree name and context for the server object.
  23. Enter the context for the admin user and password and click Next.
  24. Click Next after the eDirectory installation.
  25. Select the licenses that will be installed and click Next.
  26. Select the authentication methods that you will use on your network and click Next.
  27. Select the location for the MySQL data and the root user password and click Next.
  28. Wait for the file copy to finish.
  29. Once the file copy is done, you can reboot the server and your AMP server is ready to start serving your Web applications.

Sample Code

In the Sys:/php/webdemo directory, you will find sample PHP code that you can try out. Copy this code to a directory called PHP under the htdocs directory under Sys:/Apach2. You will then be able to access each file with the following URL:


Here is a screen shot of the first sample file called phpinfo.php.

You can run each PHP sample script by typing from a browser the IP address of your server and the name of your PHP script.

You will only need to edit the ftp.php file and the mysql.php files. The following screen shot shows you where to edit the FTP server you are going to connect to and the user name and password.

In the mysql.php file, the following screen shot shows the lines to edit to specify a database server, username, password, database name, and table name.


Now you have a Novell NetWare AMP server up and running and serving your Web applications. Tune in to the next article where I'll discuss more about the configuration files such as httpd.conf, php.ini and other AMP configuration. I'll also talk about how a NetWare AMP server integrates with eDirectory as well as dive into some PHP code as I develop a PHP application that integrates with eDirectory.

Additional Resources - The Web site for the Apache software foundation. - The Web site for PHP. - Another Web site for PHP. - The Web site for MySQL. - The O'Reilly Books Web site for information about AMP technologies. - Novell's developer Web site for information and developer forums for Novell developers.

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