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Upgrading Old Servers to New Hardware without Upgrading the OS

Novell Cool Solutions: Trench
By Jason Emery

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Posted: 13 Oct 2004

Interested in upgrading older NetWare servers to newer hardware without upgrading the OS or using the Migration Wizard? Here's how Jason Emery does it.

We have run into multiple situations where we needed to upgrade, say, a NetWare 6 box to newer hardware without actually changing anything with the server or hosted services. We basically don't want users to know we changed anything except that they may notice it is faster and more reliable. You can, of course, use the Migration Wizard for this but we have run into several issues with the product in that it many times does not migrate volume trustees or it fails in the middle and by the time you get it all worked out you might as well have done it by hand which is what I am going to show you. I have come up with a proven way to easily replace a NetWare box with a new one without ever having to use the Migration Wizard. Here are the steps in order.

  1. Build new NetWare box in a temporary tree with same name as old server.
  2. Patch the new server to the same level as the old box.
  3. Run an eDir Health check on your entire tree, making sure everything is working as it should be. Check to see that you have two backups of old server.
  4. Rename old NetWare box to some temporary name as per TID 10080951 ie. server_1 to server_temp.
  5. Wait for changes to replicate throughout tree (sometimes overnight is best)
  6. If using TCP/IP, change the IP address as per TID 10080951.
  7. Wait for changes to replicate throughout network.
  8. Change IP of new server to IP of old server. Remove directory services from new server, reboot.
  9. Insert new server into tree in the same context as the old server.
  10. Run eDir health check again.
  11. Download and purchase NWcopy from This is a very handy tool that will quickly copy files and trustees and it is cheap.
  12. Copy over all data from the old server to the new one, making sure you copy trustee assignments.
  13. Reset all user environment variables to new server as they get changed when you rename the old server.
  14. Once you feel comfortable that everything came over remove old server from the tree.

I can usually perform this operation in just a few hours in the evening and have yet to have any issues. Users are usually none the wiser except performance or stability is probably increased.

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