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Tips for Installing Service Packs on Several Servers

Novell Cool Solutions: Tip
By Geoffrey Carman

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Posted: 28 Sep 2005
 

There is an ongoing issue of installing servers. As soon as a version is released, patches start appearing. As soon as a Service Pack - with all of the previous patches rolled into it - appears, another patch comes out. We have all seen it happen, time and time again, regardless of software vendor.

Sometimes this is a real issue when the file that needs to be patched causes an ABEND on specific hardware or the like.

For some cases, adding the file to the c:\nwserver\nwupdate directory will work and ensure the second attempt uses the newer file.

But other times you may want to set up several boxes. As I write this, for NetWare 6.5 SP3, there are at least 10 patches to apply.

As you can imagine, this is really tedious if you have to do more than one server at a time, and even for one server, it can be annoying.

Solution:

You could patch the install media on CD, by copying the CD somewhere, copying the appropriate patches into the correct directory and then burn them back out to a CD. It is usually obvious where the files go from the included README files in the patch.

Or do it all on a CD-RW.

Note that some patches look for or create entries in the PRODUCTS.DAT. (NWconfig shows you when you look at installed products) and may cause dependency issues down the road. The good news is if that really becomes an issue, you can read the patches IPS file and see what the command is to add the new entry, and make an IPS file that basically contains that information alone. Looking at the n65nss3a patch, the IPS says:

;----------- Change this line when making modifications ---------
  ProductRecord NSS, 0, "3.22:0607"
  ProductRecord NSS, 1, "NetWare 6.5 post-SP3 NSS 3A"
;---------------UPDATE PRODUCT DATABASE-------------

Another interesting option is to use a DOS boot disk, make the DOS partition, load the DOS NIC drivers, and do a server to server install.

In the past, this was faster than a CD based install.

Recently, I had the opportunity to do a CD based install on one server, and a network install on an identical server, side by side.

I was surprised by the results. The initial copy of files to get a bootable NetWare kernel to run the install from was almost twice as fast over the network then from the CD. Probably due to the difference in file seek time and performance of the DOS CD driver.

The next copy to set up the GUI environment for the second part of the install was still faster over the network, but not by as marked a difference.

The third file copy, within the NetWare GUI, was almost twice as fast off the CD than it was off the network.

On average, they take about the same amount of time. So the choice is up to you!


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