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DS Analyzer - an NDS eDirectory Troubleshooting Tool

Novell Cool Solutions: Trench
By Elena Kennedy

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Posted: 13 Sep 2000

Customer Profile:

A large branch of the Canadian government runs NDS eDirectory on 20 NetWare servers. Fourteen of the servers operate remotely across Canada to service nearly 2,000 users.

Customer Issues:

The customer complained of extremely slow authentication times and service denial at the user level. A couple of the organization's servers constantly required shutdowns during the early morning business hours. And, because the servers needed regular rebooting, it became impossible for the customer to determine the root causes of the service denial issues. Further, the service problems caused Z.E.N.Works issues, and users were only intermittently receiving the workstation policies and applications being distributed by Z.E.N. Works.


Novell Consulting used NetPro's DS Analyzer, the only NDS eDirectory troubleshooting and tuning solution available, to determine what was causing the service problems. Through DS Analyzer's detailed, statistical NDS eDirectory traffic graphs, the customer determined why the organization's servers were unresponsive. Further, the product shed unprecedented light on the organization's tree design, giving the customer the insight he needed to make directory design changes that ultimately diminished high traffic problems. Server traffic has since returned to normal levels and users no longer experience frequent service interruptions.

The Story:

To get to the source of the NDS eDirectory problem, the administrator turned to Novell Consulting. Novell Consulting then set about identifying the root cause of the problem by installing DS Analyzer in the organization's network. DS Analyzer gathered statistical traffic data about the environment and indicated that clients were walking the tree excessively to obtain the resources they needed to complete the login process. Through DS Analyzer's statistical graphs, Novell Consulting was able to pinpoint two significant causes for the denial of service issues: Placement of Z.E.N.Works objects and overburdened replica servers handling all client authentication.

DS Analyzer not only provided insight into the root causes of these problems, it also gave the Novell consultants the information they needed to rectify the situation. DS Analyzer's graphs displayed traffic spikes in the mornings on the two replica servers as well as the servers hosting Z.E.N.Works. DS Analyzer categorized the traffic as "Access" and "Resolve Name" traffic. With this graphical data, the consultants determined the changes that would be most appropriate to ensure the necessary bandwidth for both the users and Z.E.N.Works. The consultants moved Z.E.N.Works objects and identified servers that could help offset the burden that the two replica servers were experiencing.

After the design changes were made, the consultants used DS Analyzer's graphs to illustrate how the changes improved the performance of the organization's tree. From server and partition-level graphs all the way down to the traffic category, hop count and client-level graphs -- DS Analyzer clearly depicted improvements in the trouble areas.

"DS Analyzer provides the simplest representation of a complex subject I have seen," said the lead administrator for the organization. "We have altered our NDS eDirectory design based upon DS Analyzer's findings and our tree's performance has improved noticeably." Indeed, the organization's users are no longer hindered by service interruptions, and the administrator is confident that he can rely on Z.E.N.Works to distribute the vital applications and policies his users need. DS Analyzer not only determined the root causes of the problems and provided insight into the most effective design changes, but it validated the redesign decisions to both the customer and the consultants. In this case, seeing was believing.

NetPro's DS Analyzer has contributed to many Novell Consulting successes over the past year. To help you and your customers diagnose, troubleshoot and pinpoint NDS traffic anomalies, take advantage of the partnership between Novell Consulting and NetPro. Find out more about DS Analyzer, the solution that Novell Consulting chose, by visiting

If you have a DS Analyzer success story that you would like to share, we would love to hear from you. Send your story to Elena Kennedy, Product Marketing Manager,

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