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Upgrading Print Server

Novell Cool Solutions: Trench

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Posted: 20 Jul 2004

Recently we posted this Q&A and got a new suggestion for it.

Question: I am finally upgrading my 3.12 server that is only used for file and print sharing - 32 users and 4 printers. Are there any special items I should be concerned about? The plan is to install 6.5 on a new server, configure the printers and users on the new server, move the data to the new server, create the users on the new server then turn off the old server.

Answer: Here are a few things to consider:

1. Are your printers new enough that you can use them with NDPS? You can configure 'legacy queue-based' printing, but you'll have to have IPX communication.

2. Are you current on your client software? Older clients only know IPX, which you can configure on 6.5 (but it's becoming more and more deprecated).

3. Here's a tool that you might be able to use to move your trustee assignments over without having to re-create (some or all of) those.

4. When you create your new 6.5 tree, do not give the tree name and the top-level O unit the same name, and don't use underscores in any of the names. For example, if your company is named Novell, and this server (and users) are located in Provo, then your initial tree could look like this:

Tree name: NOV-TREE 

       [users and server and other stuff here, the OU=Provo.O=Novell container]

server name: PROV-NOV-SVR01 [name derived by city name, organization, function]
server DNS name:

Update: Brian Sharar wrote: We currently use 6.0 and have a tree with a underscore in the middle. When we upgrade to 6.5 are we going to have problems? Why should we not use a underscore?

Answer: The short answer is: underscores in tree names and trees and organizations with the same name should be just fine if you are running the latest tools and versions of eDirectory. But, if the tree name has underscores in it and you are running older utils or older versions of eDirectory, queue-based printing could be broken. If you want the details, read on.

In the past, we have had bugs with utilities that have caused login failures and administrative failures when the tree name and the organization name are the same. To our knowledge, these have all been fixed. ConsoleOne 1.3.3, for instance had an issue with this.

The same holds true with underscores. If the tree had an underscore, with older versions of the directory (even some versions of 8.7.1), SAP type 278 would fail, disallowing IPX resolution which could include queue-based printing failures, login failures, etc. This has been resolved with the latest versions of eDirectory but could cause issues on older versions in a mixed environment.

The LDAP RFC2253- Section 2.4 states that the underscore and space should not be used because they have to be handled with escape characters, quotes or whatever. When you have underscores, each tool will sometimes convert them to spaces or vice versa, and unpredicted results can occur. You can get around these with escape characters, etc., but it sometimes becomes cumbersome for the user. The good news to this is that rarely, if ever, is the tree name specified in an LDAP request.

According to the RFC (not sure of the number??) DNS does not support underscores. To our knowledge, the tree name is not supported in DNS anyway, so this may not be an issue. You will run into problems, however, if the underscore is used in the server name and you are relying on DNS to resolve the server (for example, if you are using a MS browser accessing iManager or something like that).

The bottom line is that there are a lot of namespaces that do not like underscores but the ones that use the tree name (like SLP, SAP if you are on the latest versions of eDirectory, eDirectory itself) support underscores. The name of Novell's main tree is Novell_inc. However, because of all of the potential issues now or in the future, we would avoid both scenarios and use unique names and avoid underscores and spaces all together.

Did we miss anything? Let us know if there are other possible gotchas to consider and we'll add them to the list.


Sami Kapanen

If the printers are using JetDirects or similar, they need firmware upgrades in order to work with the new eDirectory (server address attribute has changed). See TID 10078052.

Michael C. Knoerzer

I went through moving from NetWare 3.12 to NetWare 6.0 about 18 months ago. The first thing I would mention is don't underestimate the differences between NetWare 3.X and NetWare 6.X from an administration point of view. There was an entire rethinking of network structure between these versions (that began, I suppose, with 4.0). It took more than even a careful reading of the manuals to prepare me for those differences. I have found the Novell support forums to be INVALUABLE, particularly when I was doing the installation, although I had never really used them with NetWare 3.12.

I'm sure you will find most of the changes are excellent and many are useful even for a very small ogranization/installation, but they do come at a price of increased complexity and decreased stability. NetWare 3.12 truly was a NOS you could install and ignore. We went for over five years without the server shutting down except when we took it down for hardware upgrades. The only time we even applied a patch to NetWare 3.12 ("If it's not broke...") was the 3.2 update for the year 2000.

I was surprised and somewhat shocked when I found I could not expect the same with NetWare 6. While it is still very reliable, especially compared to MS products, I have found that NetWare 6 requires more attention. The service packs and individual patches are very important, but you need to watch the support forums to make sure that a newly released service pack does not introduce new problems and doesn't require additional patches before installing it. The same is true for newly released updates to the Novell client software, perhaps even more so.

I would say that the greatest benefit for a small organization that I have experienced is Novell's move from licensing the server to licensing the users. This allows you to set up a second server for NDS backup (an old PC is sufficient for this) and even a two node cluster as well, at no additional cost for the software. The addition of IP communications capability (back in 5.0 I think) is also important as I have been told that the next generation of ethernet infrastructure(routers, hubs and switches) may not be compatible with IPX.

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