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Using the eDirectory Management Toolbox

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Jim Henderson

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Posted: 13 Dec 2002

Now you've done it; you've taken the next giant leap in your eDirectory journey, and have upgraded to eDirectory 8.7. Along with eDirectory 8.7, of course, you wanted to have the latest tools, so you installed the eDirectory 8.7 web applications, which included iManager 1.5. Everything is set, and you are ready to manage your entire directory service from your favorite browser. Good-bye, command-line tools, good-bye ConsoleOne, good-bye NetWare Administrator. Hello, iManager 1.5, hello iMonitor, hello....

eMbox Client?

That's right, the eMbox Client -- "eMbox" is a concatenation of "eDirectory Management Toolbox". This neat little tool really packs a punch and is, in fact, well documented with online help and with its own online documentation pages. But if you are like me and neglected to read any of the eDirectory 8.7 documentation, you have probably overlooked this very powerful tool. Even more startling, however, is that even if you didn't know it was there, if you use iManager 1.5, you've already been using eMbox.

That's right -- eMbox provides a lot of the functionality that is exposed through the iManager 1.5 web interface. This tool can be invoked either on the server or on a workstation, as it is written in Java, and operates as a batch command or through an interactive text interface. But even if you are familiar with the eMbox Client, you will want to continue reading, because there's some functionality hidden away that will make your life a whole lot easier when using this tool.

The command-line interface for this tool is pretty straightforward. And if you're used to command-line functionality, long command lines are something you are very familiar with. For example, the command (typed on a single line):

java -ns embox -s -p 8008 -u admin.mycompany -w mypassword
-t backup.backup -f backupfile.bak -l dsbackup.log -s 300 -t -e -b

Logs into the local server as admin.mycompany with the password mypassword, and starts the backup tool to run a full directory services backup (including stream files and security files) log to dsbackup.log, and limits the backup file size to 300 MB.

For most of us mere mortals, however, remembering all of these different options is just a bit cumbersome. There are so many options available in eMbox that can be submitted on command-lines or in the internal batch file or system batch file that it would take years to learn all of the different options and what they apply to.

Fortunately, there is a very Cool Solution to help get these options correct the first time, every time, and get the command to do what you want it to do. And the bonus is that you don't have to download anything -- the solution is right there inside the eMboxClient.jar file you installed with iManager 1.5, just waiting to be discovered.

Say hello to the eMbox GUI Client.

That's right; Novell's developers included a Java-based GUI right in the client. At this time it is not officially supported by Novell and is completely undocumented, however the usage is pretty straightforward and -- this is the beauty of it -- there's an option to tell you what the command line that goes after the -t parameter needs to be to accomplish the task you wish to accomplish.

To use the eMbox client, you need to have Sun's JVM 1.3.1 installed on the server or workstation you wish to use. There is a launcher executable or NCF (depending on the platform you are running eDirectory on) called edirtool.ncf (NetWare), edirtool.exe (Windows), or just edirtool (Linux and Solaris) that launches the JVM with the appropriate command-line options to start the client. If you want to run on a different platform, the easiest way to do this is to use the command-line:

java -cp path/to/eMBoxClient.jar embox
Note: For NetWare, you need to include an -ns parameter after the java command in order to prevent an abend; the -ns option creates a new screen on the NetWare server for the JVM's messages to be displayed in. Also, be sure the '/' characters above are appropriate for the operating system you are running on; on Windows and NetWare, you will want to use the '\' character instead.

And either add the parameters for the task you wish to accomplish, a -i (to run in interactive mode), or a -g (to run the undocumented GUI).

So on a Linux workstation, we can launch the eMbox GUI Client with the command:

java -cp /NetWare/nw6/sys/system/embox/eMBoxClient.jar embox -g

This gives us the following window:

In order to see the different options that are available, you have to log in. Press the login button and enter the distinguished name of your administrative user account, such as admin.mycompany and your password. The SSL box should be left unchecked for now. The port number defaults to 80 if no value is installed; on a NetWare installation of eDirectory 8.7, you usually find this on port 8008; the eMbox documentation describes how to determine what the port number you should use, but port 80 is usually not going to be correct. Once you are logged in correctly, the window will look like this:

Now you can expand the different tools and see the different options that are available to you. For example, under the dsrepair control are 22 different dsrepair tools, from running a full unattended repair to repairing a single object. For each of these tools, different function options are displayed in the right-hand pane in a form you can fill in with appropriate values. Once the options are filled in, you can run the command right from the GUI, and the status will be returned in the status window in the bottom pane.

By now you are probably wondering how this helps you build the long, complicated command-line commands; you're thinking "sure, I can run commands from here and not have to remember all those different switches, but I need to run these with CRON.NLM or from one of the batch files you talked briefly about earlier."

Under the Settings menu, there are two options -- Show Command Line and Advanced Mode. The first of these two options will change the layout a little; let's select to do a local database repair and see what the window looks like.

As you can see, there's a new window here entitled Command line that shows the options you've selected using the GUI in command line form. You can easily copy the command line from this window and paste it into your batch file or CRON script.

Note: These are the parameters after the -t parameter if you are using the command-line client, so you need to start the JVM and provide the login information if the command requires it, as was shown in the command-line earlier in the article that showed how to run a backup with various options.

As of this writing, it appears that the Advanced Mode item activates options similar to those activated with the -A command-line switch for DSREPAIR.NLM; as with using the switch with DSREPAIR, this should only be done if you absolutely know what you are doing.

So, that's a quick rundown of the eMbox GUI Client. Now there's no excuse for not setting your systems up to regularly run the tasks necessary to ensure your directory is healthy -- at least, you can't say that the command-line needed to run the tasks is just too complicated.

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