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Easy IP Address Assignment

Novell Cool Solutions: Trench

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Posted: 16 Sep 1999

This tip comes to us from friendly reader Tom S.

I have many small clients that do not host their own internal DNS server but would like to use the GroupWise client feature that allows the client to "look up" its POA via a DNS lookup. This is is a great feature that makes it easy to move post offices or users around to other servers but not have to touch their desktops or give them multiple-step instructions for entering the new IP address for the POA.

The traditional way for this to work is to add an entry called ngwnameserver into the DNS table with the corresponding IP address of a GroupWise post office agent. You must have a DNS server configured on your LAN that contains this information or have a willing ISP that might host your DNS for you. The GroupWise client automatically does a DNS lookup for ngwnameserver if it does not already have an IP address registered or if the IP address that it knows about doesn't respond.

I found that the GroupWise client follows standard Internet protocols and will also look into the hosts file of the local machine. On Windows 3.x, and 9x computers it is located in C:%5CWINDOWS and on Windows NT it is located in C:%5CWINNT%5CSYSTEM32%5CDRIVERS%5CETC.

Just use a text editor such as Edit or Notepad to create a file named "hosts". It can contain any host information for other network devices but all you need is a single entry like this: ngwnameserver

Save the file and put it into a publicly available directory such as SYS:%5CLOGIN and add a login script command that copies this file down to the appropriate directory when the user logs into the network. If you want to be a little fancier, try creating a ZenWorks application object to do the same thing. It is perfect for this.

If they are not running DNS in their environment, your only other options are to either push a Windows registry key change down that contains this information, or manually configure each workstation.

For those not familiar, a hosts file can contain the same information that would normally reside at a DNS server. In other words, it holds the IP address of some network device with its matching name or alias. In a big network, you probably should have a DNS server running somewhere. In smaller environments, that may be asking too much for basic network support personnel.

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