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Consultant’s Corner: GroupWise 2014 Overview

Gregg Hinchman

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March 3, 2014 9:24 am

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“….I never see you anymore….I think some company is overdue….” It’s been quite a long time since I put fingers to key’s and did any writing about GroupWise. Over the past five years I have kept the faith for GroupWise while raising up a couple children. There is a lot of learning that takes place when raising children. Much of it by me as my kids teach me to look at things with new eyes. And its with this, that I look at GroupWise 2014.

Windermere aka. GroupWise 2014 is a substantial change to the GroupWise family. In this article, I want to address a few of the bigger changes as well as provide a few sneak peeks. First up, what is new?

Licensing:

Yes that is right. If you were not aware, GroupWise 2014 is now going to be licensed ‘per mailbox’ rather than per user. What does this mean? Let me summarize this one here. [ If you want a further detailed explanation please head over to Dean Lythgoe’s (Director of Product Management for Novell Collaboration Solutions) blog to this link: GroupWise 2014 Licensing Changes….]

Put simply: 1 user can have 1 mailbox and 1 mailbox is counted as 1 license. As you know in GroupWise generally a user has only one mailbox so for the upgrade to GroupWise 2014 really will not affect costs. However, if like many organizations ‘special’ mailboxes are created to do things like: manage resources, help desk, or test accounts. These will increase licensing costs potentially. As always, your mileage may vary.

As an administrator, this change in licensing brings great promise. First, this change may be exactly what you need to get mailboxes out of the GroupWise system or archived. And second, this change brings with it a new license type: Inactive.

The Inactive license type (one of three including Full and Limited), can be set by the administrator and is used for those accounts that are…well…inactive. Best example here is a mailbox that must be kept in GroupWise but the user who used the mailbox has left the organization. The administrator sets the mailbox to ‘force inactive’ in the GroupWise Administration Console and now that mailbox will no longer receive mail, but can still be accessed. Sixty days after being set, the audit function of GroupWise will show its ‘inactive’. And the best part, Inactive mailboxes are licensed at a substantially lower cost.

Figure 1: GroupWise Admin Service: User Properties -Force Inactive

Figure 1: GroupWise Admin Service: User Properties -Force Inactive

Note: Here is a tip for you. Before upgrading to GroupWise 2014 use NetMail Archive to pull out all your inactive GroupWise accounts. This will save on the licensing costs. It reduces the disk space usage and cleans up the GroupWise system in advance. The special edition NetMail Archive is FREE! Go to: http://www.netmail.com/netmail-archive-groupwise-2014 for more details.

Now the bad news. Test GroupWise Systems are licensed differently. Is this bad news, really? No. But you need to understand the differences. If you have a test GroupWise System, you can have up to 25 mailboxes for free. Past that, its a cost. Where the bad news is, is if you have replicated your entire GroupWise System into a test environment. I have seen this many times. Organizations want to replicate completely their network, including GroupWise, to a test environment. If this is the case, then you pay for every license in that test environment minus 25 plus the production GroupWise System.

Finally test accounts are allowed in production post offices for free. But only 2 per post office. Any more than that and it will cost. In my opinion, its a big change but its about time. The perspective of the GroupWise Administrator, its easier to figure out the mailboxes, then the number of users. And with the addition of the Inactive License Type, it gives administrators and organizations more options.

Specifications:

GroupWise 2014 is ready for 64 bit hardware and operating systems. Yes that is right -it’s a 64 bit app for the back end. That means NO NETWARE just like GroupWise 2012. So, if running GroupWise 2012, its likely an in place upgrade is all that’s needed. All the upgrades I have done in the past 2 years, I have focused on moving my customers GroupWise Systems to SLES11sp2/sp3 64 bit and on VMWare. If you have not moved to a 64 bit OS, then a move and upgrade will be in the works for the organization. Operations systems supported are OES11/SLES11 and Windows Server 2008R2/2012.

No (jacket) directory required. GroupWise 2014 can use eDirectory as it always has or you could use Active Directory. But the best is you can have NO directory!! Ok, not really ‘no directory’ its a native GroupWise directory. This takes us back to the old days of GroupWise 4 when it was not managed through NDS (eDirectory) but via its own ‘directory’. This new feature, Native GroupWise directory and Active Directory, will benefit many organizations that have either a) eDirectory just for GroupWise or b) Active Directory and want GroupWise to link with it.

Let me recap in list form:

  1. 64 bit Hardware and OS
  2. SLES11, OES11, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012
  3. No Directory (GroupWise Directory), eDirectory, Active Directory

Admin Console:

Finally!! That is all I can say. I know many of you feel the same way. We have waited a long time for a better tool to administrator GroupWise and finally we have it. Its the biggest reason I am very excited about GroupWise 2014. And the GroupWise Dev team has delivered BIG TIME! This Web based administration console is smooth, intuitive and responsive.

Let me start with the service. The admin console service is called: gwadminservice. When doing an installation it is the first thing installed. This is because from the Administration Console, you do it all. I think an obvious short name is GAC (GroupWise Admin Console). When I was working with it in beta, I was pleasantly surprised at how fast I can create new domains, post offices and gwia’s. Not only does it do the ‘object’ as we did in ConsoleOne, but it will lay down the code, configure the gwha, and load the agent and have it running. It all happens nearly as fast as you can type it.

Then there are the additional features provided in ‘GAC’. Under System (what we use to call System Operations) there are 24 different system related functions. Many are the same old we are use to but then there are some brand new. Here are a few of the new and some old ones:

  1. Administrators: This feature allows administrators to manage the 3 different type of administrators: System, Domain and Post Office. Yes that is right, administrators can set up other users as administrators of part of the GroupWise system without performing some eDirectory tricks.
  2. Directory Associations: This tool allows an administrator to create or change associations between the users different directories. So if you wanted to go from a stand alone GroupWise 2014 system to one that is linked to Active Directory, this is your tool.
  3. Document Viewer Agent: The DVA is a new agent from 2012 that works with WebAccess and the POA, converting and presenting attachments to Webaccess users. This feature allows for managing DVA’s in the GroupWise system.
  4. Email Address Lookup: This feature provides you a method to search for duplicate email addresses. Given the number of different email address formats we have now, using this tool will be a great help to administrators.
  5. Expired Records: This feature works with the Expire function on a mailbox. It presents mailboxes that are expired or going to expire.
  6. Legacy: This function allows a GroupWise 2014 system to connect to other systems using old gateways like API. This is the location where that API gateway would be presented. However, the domain owning the API in this case, cannot be a GroupWise 2014. It must be a legacy version of GroupWise. This is also where Software Distribution Directories are located.
  7. Record Enumerations: This is a deep dive tool that allows administrators to look into the databases, at the records and other attributes set for objects. Very good for heavy troubleshooting.
  8. Recover Deleted Account: This feature allows you to recover a recently deleted account, not the mailbox just the account user information. Once this is done, then you can use the Restore Area Management to restore the mailbox.
  9. User Import: This function allows you to import a large quantity of users from a directory using LDAP.
Figure 2: GroupWise Admin Service: New System Features

Figure 2: GroupWise Admin Service: New System Features

Other New Features:

In this section I will try to briefly cover a several of the other changes to GroupWise 2014 in a list format.

  1. Secure: All Agents are now SSL’ized by default. And a self-signed cert is placed in the old Cert location of the agents. No performance hit here.
  2. Super User: “He’s back!” The old Super User has returned. When you start working with GroupWise 2014, it will ask for a user name and password for administration. This is the super user. Consider it the ‘Admin’ of GroupWise. With this user you can assign others as System, Domain, Post Office administrators.
  3. Group Administrators: Yes finally. In the properties of a Group, you can now assign a person to administer the group. They can add, remove users. This free’s up System Administrators.
  4. Access Control/Closed Groups: This is a feature of Groups as well. A Group/System Administrators can create a list of people who can send to the group. This essentially makes the group a ‘closed’ group to all not on the list.
  5. Export: An easier way to export a list of users, groups and such.
  6. Client Auto-Update: A smoother Client Options feature at the Domain, Post Office and Mailbox level for pushing the new GroupWise client.
  7. Stop/Start Agent: Each agent can be stopped/started from GAC (GroupWise Administration Console). Again, very simple but intelligent feature so you do not need to remote to a server.
  8. System Overview: This is your first stop in GAC. Its a GWMonitor looking page including red, yellow, green lights for status.
  9. System Maintenance: Much improved valid/recover/rebuild from GAC for domains, post offices. And much more information to go along with it.
  10. GWADMINUTIL: New in GroupWise 2014 is more command line oriented tasks. If you want to Sync a domain or convert a secondary domain to primary, it must be done with this command line utility.

    Note: Its not as easy to promote a secondary domain to primary in GroupWise 2014. The reason is security. In GroupWise 2014, the primary domain is also the Certificate Authority. So if you promote a secondary to primary, you must also change the CA.

Figure 3: GroupWise Admin Service: GroupWise Admin Command Line Utility -Commands

Figure 3: GroupWise Admin Service: GroupWise Admin Command Line Utility -Commands

To sum this article up, for Administrators GroupWise 2014 is a long time coming and a great refresh. There are so many features added that really step up the ease (and fun) of administration. The client side has also gotten a refresh as well though not as substantial as the administration side. In future articles I will dig in a bit deeper and present some of the ‘goodness’ GroupWise Dev has provided us in GroupWise 2014. This very tough winter, with all the snow, subzero temperatures and broken winter records, was a perfect time to get up to speed on the new GroupWise 2014. I look forward to upgrading customers soon. In the meantime, I am being asked: “Do you want to build a snowman?”, so I need to run.

Got comments or article ideas? Need help GroupWise? Drop me a line at: Gregg@HinchmanConsulting.com. “The Force is strong in this one.”

P.S. SPECIAL OFFER

In celebration of the future release, I am going to make an offer. I will install a test GroupWise 2014 system in your non-production environment and then provide training on the new GroupWise Administration Console and the gwadminutil command line tool. All done remotely.

Here is what I will do:

  1. Install 1 SLES11sp3 server in a VM and configure.
  2. Install Secondary IP’s on the one SLES server
  3. Install a new test only GroupWise 2014 system including:
    1. 1 Domain
    2. 1 Post Office
    3. 1 GWIA
    4. 1 WebAccess
  4. Install the GroupWise Administration Console
  5. Train on both the GroupWise Administration Console and gwadminutil command line tool

All of this for just: $500

Email me and say: “YES I want a test GroupWise 2014 system”. Provide your contact information and we will get it scheduled.

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