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Building a 604,000-User GroupWise 7 System

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Svetlin Petrov

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Posted: 21 Nov 2005

During the 2005 GroupWise EMEA Summit at The Hague, The Netherlands, our goal was to demonstrate the scalability and proven stability of GroupWise, Novell's enterprise-class collaboration software. We used GroupWise 7 running on Fujitsu Siemens hardware and Novell Open Enterprise Server.

GroupWise 7 supports NetWare 5.x, NetWare 6.x, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 (SLES), Windows 2000 Server and Windows 2003 Server, and one of our main tasks was to demonstrate this with our demo system. We created a four-node mixed cluster using Novell Cluster Services and Novell Open Enterprise Server (OES). Two of the nodes were running NetWare OES and the other two nodes were running SLES OES. All four nodes were connected to an iSCSI-based Storage Area Network (SAN) provided by the NetWare OES server and the external SCSI storage subsystem.

4-node mixed (NetWare and SUSE Linux) Novell Open Enterprise Server (OES) Cluster running GroupWise 7

GroupWise Solutions from Around the World

We wanted to create a demo system showing a complete GroupWise solution, so we added two VMware ESX servers to the main system, which were running several NetWare, SUSE Linux and Windows-based virtual machines with additional GroupWise systems and GroupWise-specific applications developed by Novell's partners.

Our intent was to demonstrate the broad platform support of GroupWise and the availability of a number of high-quality 3rd-party products that offer additional functionality to the existing GroupWise systems. In fact, the virtual machines featured entire GroupWise ecosystems running several applications, including an integrated messaging suite from Messaging Architects called GWMax. The enterprise-class suite addresses the primary concerns of email and collaboration administrators: archiving, compliance, discovery, content filtering, security/spam/virus protection, and mobile messaging - all leveraging the power of Novell's eDirectory to provide identity-based messaging to the current GroupWise user base and the Exchange 5.5 user base who are thinking of migrating over to GroupWise 7. Other GroupWise software developers from all over the world also took the time to add their applications which ranged from anti-virus and anti-spam protection, mobile access, reporting, corporate archiving to monitoring and more.

The majority of the servers were mounted in a Fujitsu Siemens PRIMECENTER rack. We used two PRIMERGY RX200 servers for the NetWare OES nodes of the cluster and two PRIMERGY RX300 servers for the SLES OES nodes of the cluster. The iSCSI target NetWare OES server was running on PRIMERGY RX200 server. All these server systems were Intel Xeon 2.4 GHz-based with 2 GB RAM each and were connected to an Ethernet gigabit switch.

The two VMware ESX systems were running on two 4-way Intel Xeon 2.0 GHz-based PRIMERGY RX600 and PRIMERGY TX600 servers with 6GB RAM each.

We used two external SCSI disk subsystems PRIMERGY SX30. One of them was connected to the NetWare OES iSCSI target server and the other was connected to the TX600 and RX600 servers running VMware ESX Server.

We configured a 200GB RAID5 array on the external SCSI subsystem connected to the NetWare OES iSCSI target server and created an iSCSI partition using the NSS NetWare management tools - NSSMU and Novell Remote Manager. Then, we configured the build in iSCSI initiators on each of the servers which was going to be part of the cluster to connect to the iSCSI target server. Having access to the iSCSI SAN from all future cluster nodes, we were ready to install and configure Novell Cluster Services.

Figure 1: Novell Remote Manager showing the iSCSI target storage sessions

We created the OES cluster and added the two NetWare OES nodes. Then we added the two SUSE Linux OES nodes to the cluster using the SLES OES YaST-based Novell Cluster Services configuration.

Figure 2: Novell iManager-based cluster management

Using Novell iManager, we created two clustered NSS pools and the corresponding Novell Cluster Services resources.

Figure 3: Cluster State View in Novell iManager

One of the NSS-clustered pools was configured to be available only to the NetWare OES cluster nodes and the other was configured to be available only to the SLES OES cluster nodes.

The next step was to create the GroupWise 7 system. We created the primary domain and one secondary domain with 12 post offices in each domain. All GroupWise Message Transfer Agents (MTAs) and Post Offices (POs) were cluster-enabled during the installation and configured to use the NetWare OES cluster resource.

We used the GroupWise API Gateway for the mass user creation. We installed the API gateway and were ready to start the GroupWise user creation process.

Figure 4: GroupWise API Gateway NetWare OES console screen

The API gateway file for adding users was generated by a utility specially developed for this purpose.

Figure 5: GroupWise API Gateway add/delete users file creation utility

Most the GroupWise POs we created with 20,000 users, but to four POs we added 45,000 users. The database size of the primary and secondary GroupWise 7 domains was about 400 MB.

The average GroupWise user creation speed was about an hour for every 20,000 users and the CPU utilization of the NetWare OES node running the GroupWise 7 system was at about 80%.

Figure 6: GroupWise 7 Post Office Agent (POA) NetWare OES console screen

We configured all GroupWise POA agents for verbose logging because we wanted to be able to monitor the user creation process. It is likely that disabling the verbose logging would improve server performance to some degree.

Figure 7: GroupWise 7 Post Office Agent (POA) running under SLES OES

The SLES OES servers practically didn't change their CPU utilization because they were receiving only updates for the newly created users from the primary GroupWise 7 system running under the NetWare OES cluster.

Figure 8: GroupWise 7 client running under Linux - Address Book

We didn't notice any significant performance degradation while using the Novell GroupWise Address book regardless of the number of GroupWise users created.

The created system demonstrated the scalability and high-availability features of GroupWise. It showed the broad cross-platform support of GroupWise. Your organization can implement GroupWise having the choice of running it on Novell Open Enterprise Server (NetWare or Linux version), NetWare 5.1, NetWare 6.0, or NetWare 6.5, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 and Windows 2000 Server or Windows 2003 Server thus protecting your investments in your current IT infrastructure.

GroupWise offers broad client support, too: Novell Linux Desktop, plus the KDE desktop or the GNOME desktop, Red Hat Desktop 4 or Red Hat Enterprise Linux WS 4, Macintosh OS 10.3 (Panther) or Macintosh OS 10.4 (Tiger), Windows 2000/XP/2003.

The full-featured GroupWise WebAccess client enables GroupWise users to access their GroupWise mailboxes through Web browsers, WAP-enabled wireless telephones, Palm OS devices, and Windows CE devices.

The GroupWise Connector for Outlook which is included in GroupWise 7 allows you to use Outlook to access your email, calendar, and other collaboration data that is stored in the GroupWise database. With the GroupWise Connector for Outlook, you can continue working in the Outlook environment you are used to without being trained on how to use GroupWise.

Implementing GroupWise will improve the ROI of your organization because of the lower software, hardware, and other infrastructure costs compared to the other collaboration products. The proven security, scalability and performance of GroupWise will ensure that your organization will spend less time for patch management and will have higher productivity of the users and IT staff.

In addition GroupWise will improve the collaboration in your organization providing secure messaging, calendaring, scheduling, and instant messaging and other productivity tools like task management, contact management and document management.

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