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Times Change, and so has NetWare

Novell Cool Solutions: Tip

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Posted: 14 Jan 2004

In 1998 NetWare 4.2 shipped and forever changed the meaning of uptime. President Clinton helped us understand the definition of the word "is", the U.S. government approved Viagra, the Microsoft antitrust trial began, Jesse Ventura became governor of Minnesota, Saving Private Ryan was tops in the box office and Mark McGuire broke Roger Maris's record with 62 home runs.

"I am getting excited about rolling out our first NW 6.5 box, with all the cool new features we never dreamed of merely 4 years ago. These are the days still! NetWare rocks and I don't never wanna learn M$."
--Lee Greenough

Times change and so has your NetWare. Isn't it time you looked to make a change as well? NetWare 6.5 provides you with everything you love about NetWare - stability, scalability and reliability...but now offers you so much more.

With NetWare 6.5 you can solve many of your business problems with business continuity services, open source services, Web application services, and personal productivity services through NetWare Virtual Office.

As Novell has recently announced the end of life plan for NetWare 4.2 and your hardware is as old as dirt, isn't now the perfect time to get to know NetWare 6.5 and what it can do for you? It's helped many organizations save lots of money, improve services, and simplify management. Check out why St.Vincent Hospital, Georgia Court of Appeals and Berkshire Industries are just a few of the many happy customers who have already benefited from NetWare 6.5 [sorry, these links removed when these stories were archived].

For more on NetWare 6.5 visit:

Looking Back, and Looking Forward

Share your cool memories about NetWare 4.2, and your favorite new things in NetWare 6.5, and we'll send a t-shirt to everyone who gets published. Don't be shy...

Brian Joe

My favorite memories of NetWare 4.2 were the introduction of ZENworks and my return to NetWare. I was working for a computer company doing hardware comparability testing and in-house network support. After 9 1/2 years at the same company, I chose to move to another company and focus on network support. Unfortunately the new job put me into a 1,200 user NT domain in utter chaos. After almost a year of stress I chose to move yet again, and to my delight it was a mixed environment of NetWare and NT. It was like saying hello to an old friend that has beefed up while I was gone. ZENworks starter pack was bundled in and I was happy to take it for a spin.

My favorite new thing in NetWare 6.5 is the enhanced web enablement of almost all the administration utilities. This being said the portal services and Virtual Office are a huge plus...I Love It!

Andreas Kranzer

I think NetWare 4.x was the best thing ever for many years. I had spare many schillings while I was driving all my services for 500 users on one machine. I had only one abend in 3 years! That's crazy...:-)

Mike Shultz

I remember, when I was still in high school still only reading about NetWare. At that time, just the thought of NetWare gave me delight. Shortly after, I got my first look and interaction with NetWare 4 and it changed the way I thought about computers as a whole. It was very stable, I never had to restart it unless I was trying to make it abend.

Now that I work as an IS tech/admin of NW, I get to work with these beautiful products daily. I recently upgraded our server to NetWare 6. It is just as stable as NW4 which astounded me; I didn't think it was possible. Now that we use NetWare 6, it has given our company many more things to work with and more ways to raise productivity. We now run everything from our Tax software, to GroupWise in-house and more reliably than ever.

Kobus Bensch

I remember the first day of NetWare 4 and the horrible beast of NDS. Then came NetWare 4.2 and everything started to make sense and the boss loved me again because all the problems were sorted out and the network ran nearly effortlessly.

Thank you NetWare 4.2 for helping me out of the not-so-nice heap. AND HEY NOW we have NetWare 6.5 with ZEN for Desktops, ZEN for Servers and most of all a stable well presented NOS that kicks butt all the time with stability and functionality. KEEP IT UP NOVELL.

Lee Greenough

Well, I never ran NW4.2, but I have some fond memories of 4.11. And this one of NetWare 3.something:

Circa fall 1999, Y2K was just around the corner and everyone was panicking about getting servers and desktops upgraded to avoid the millenium bug. We replaced a bunch of servers, but there was one lab of old 386/ 486 class machines that remote-booted DOS and Win 3.1 off of an old desktop 386 running NetWare 3.12. None of this hardware was regarded as being Y2K proof and there were no guarantees that the OS versions were either.

Since the whole lab was on its last legs, a decision was made to not replace the server until the budget was available to replace the whole works. Our backup plan was to reset the system clocks to 1995 if we had to. Late in December I made a backup of the data on the server and made sure I had enough configuration documented that I could build a new server quickly if the worst happened.

Enter January 1st. Through the mists of receding hangovers, we checked our systems. Things looked pretty good. With some trepidation I checked this last lab: Surprise! Not only was it working fine, but the server and every single PC knew what day it was. What a non-event. That trusty old 3.12 box kept going for another year. How I miss those remote boot DOS/Win workstations and servers that could run on a 400 mb harddrive and still have 300 mb for 'data'. Those were the days!

Now I am getting excited about rolling out our first NW 6.5 box, with all the cool new features we never dreamed of merely 4 years ago. These are the days still! NetWare rocks and I don't never wanna learn M$.

Kim Henriksen

I had a customer who had some Netware 4.2 servers. He had forgotten all about one of the servers. The server had run for several years without any kind of problems. The reason the no one knew that the cusomer had this server was that it was behind a wall. The server was found when they started to break down the wall. :-) Go NetWare...

NetWare is the most stable Network OS that I have ever seen.

The best thing about Netware 6.5 is the possibility of changing IP adresses very easy through Web Administration.

I think the Virtual Office is a part of NetWare that many of my NetWare customers could use in their company.

Russell Cohen

Cool memories of NetWare 4.x:

  • Taking note of the server uptime on the Monitor console screen. Anything less than 100 days was not even considered noteworthy!
  • Watching the processor utilisation on the Monitor console screen. If boredom ever set in, trying to think of something to drive it above the 50% level, or even above the 10% level for any length of time!
  • Watching the user connection count on the Monitor console screen grow as Users logged in for the day. The concern was the license count, not whether the server would support that many Users!
  • After the Users had left for the day, watching the row of NetWare Snake screen-savers settling down into their sedate after-hours pattern.
  • Still supporting 100+ Users on my original Compaq Proliant 486/66 servers, when most Users' workstations were Pentiums!
  • Adding additional hard drives and memory to support additional Users, not a whole new server!
  • Running VREPAIR after a power outage and KNOWING (not hoping) that it would just do its job.
  • The first NetWare 4.x Support Pack. Did we really identify, download and install all those patches manually?
  • Learning to use the Saber menu system. Challenging and frustrating, but worth it at the end of the day.
  • The first (Note, not ZENworks) Starter Pack. Storing and managing Windows policies on my NetWare servers. Wow!
  • Distributing Novell wallpaper, screen-savers and splash-screens. (Why don't we have those anymore, Novell?)
  • Tweaking STARTUP.NCF, AUTOEXEC.NCF and Login Script files to amaze, astound (and sometimes confound) end-users and fellow administrators.
  • Making unfavourable comparisons between the lightning-fast NetAdmin and the sluggish NWAdmin. (Brought back memories of unfavourable comparisons between the lightning-fast SysCon and the sluggish NetAdmin.)
  • Giving Users their first encounter with e-mail using MHS and FirstMail.

Rosario Pennisi

My favorite memories of NetWare 4.2 were when a server with NetWare 4.x of my customer remained active for 1295 consecutive days.

No abends, no user lock: 250 users worked on it !!!!

Only after a total blackout, because the UPS was at the end of the charge, I was forced to put it in down.

Humzah Khaial

One of my favorite NetWare 4.x stories was when I was a Network Consultant at a client's office, and I made the comment that their server had been running error free for 245 days. "Isn't that supposed to be good?" exclaimed the client. "Yes, but that was the last time I was here to work on your network!! Two Hundred and 45 days ago!" I answered. The client is running Novell Small Business Suite 5.1, and I have since changed jobs!

Nikki Cain

I work in banking and security and stability is of the utmost importance. There has always been an ongoing justification with my upper management to keep Novell and not move to the 'dirty word.'

The powers that be just don't understand why those 'other' servers have to be bounced all the time and are always a security concern. In the same breath, they want to know why the NetWare servers don't.

It's a simple answer - it's rock solid and it's very easy to defend Novell's stability. I am replacing my last 4.2 server next month and it will be a sad day, as 4.2 has served me well for several years. 4.x was my first taste of Novell coming into this profession, it was my baptism by fire! I chose this particular server to be replaced last as he has been up for 373 days! The last time I downed this server was last New Year's Day!

Thanks so much for serving us so well.

P.S. Russell, you are right on!

Mikael Carlsson

It wasn't NetWare 4.2 that started my NDS era, but old NetWare 4.01 with DS 2,97. I installed 38 servers in one tree on different locations, I had one big server (486DX) on 10Mb LAN and routed all traffic via 512Kb lines down to 64Kb for every other location.

Each OU was partitioned and had one server and a replica of the partition. Master for all replicas was the 486DX server. When I had installed 6 servers the DS crashed and I had to manually patch every SERVER.EXE with the DS310 patch. After that the rest of the server installations were straightforward.

Novell did send us NW 4.10 for free and I upgraded every server to 4.10. It ran for over four years without any problems. Year 2000 passed unnoticed, no hassle at all.

We then started to migrate the servers to one new server running NW 5.1 starting with the big server. This old server was left as a placeholder for every master replica of the partitions. As the migration went slowly, taking almost a year and a half, we noticed after a couple of months that the servers left to migrate had problems contacting the master replica. When we finally checked the master server it had crashed completely. The harddisk was gone and the backup was over 2 months old (it had crashed two months before we even noticed it).

We decided not to restore the master as the customer during this period switched from IPX to IP and cut off all IPX traffic from the routers. The servers that were left to migrate continued to run with no problems except that the server beeped once and a while to notify that it could not contact the master server.

The last server to migrate had been running for over 800 days when I brought it down. I did take a snapshot of the monitor screen just for the fun of it.

I have now helped a customer to install and run a NW6.5 server with ZENworks for Desktops 4.01. We have over 4000 users spread around 10 different locations accessing this server and it runs just fine. Remote controlling the server has never been easier. I just love it.

Gabor Bagi

About NetWare 4.2:

Fresh out of College and with some NetWare 3 training, I was glad to find a job with a company using NetWare 4. The stability of the system gave me a break, and the platform gave me the opportunity to learn much about networking THE BETTER WAY. With this experience I got a better position, migrated into NetWare 5 and got my CNA, then my CNE. Without NetWare 4 I couldn't have done it.

About NetWare 6.5:

My current company needed to restore some old data from tape. I downloaded the NetWare 6.5 demo version from, restored the data to a test server and saved the day. The beauty of NetWare 6 and 6.5 is truly Anytime, Anywhere and Always Up!

Gerod Hall

I have only been a network administrator for a couple of years, therefore, I was not around when NetWare 4.2 was here. I took a job with two NetWare 5 servers and a NetWare 4.11 server. The 4.11 server has since been replaced by NetWare 6 as has one of the NetWare 5 servers. The last remaining NetWare 5 server will probably be replaced by NetWare 6.5. I am looking forward to learning it just as I have learned (and still am learning) NetWare 6. (Basically, I just want a Novell t-shirt)

[Editor: refreshing candor, Gerod. We are committed to expanding the wardrobes of our newbies, so thanks for the opportunity. Maybe in the future you can share a tip or two when you get NetWare 6.5 mastered.]

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