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Mobility Technical Preview – Technical Details

Dean Lythgoe

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March 31, 2010 4:56 pm

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We released, last week, at the close of the Salt Lake City BrainShare event, a Technical Preview of our Novell Data Synchronizer Mobility Pack technology. We really wanted to get this product in our customer’s hands as soon as possible.

It is a Technical Preview. What does that mean? Well – it means that the product has not passed all of our BETA release criteria, but we believe it has made enough progress and demonstrated enough reliability and scalability for us to let our customers and partners begin to kick the tires. I refer you to a blog by Alex Evans for some details.

A few data points:

• The Technical Preview is not intended for production environments
• Support will not be provided for production environments
• 64-bit platforms are required – currently only runs on SLES 11 64-bit
• We want/need your feedback, but we may not respond to every post or inquiry
• The Technical Preview requires GroupWise 8.0.1 HP1 Agents running
• Required to have a license for SLES11 in order to run it.
• You have to have current maintenance in order to download 8.0.1 HP1
• Requires 200 GB of disk space

200 GB Requirement. Some background and information may be useful as you consider what is best for this Technical Preview. We have specified this requirement to help communicate needs for a typical system. Some of you may be running/testing in a much different configuration. As I discussed this with Nadeem, he indicated that if you were only testing say 10 users on the system and your logs were either cleaned up daily or limited to just basic log information, that 20 GB of disk space would probably be sufficient. As you increase the number of users and do more verbose logging for troubleshooting and diagnostics, this disk space requirement will grow.

The Datasync software takes up to 45MB of disk space. The postgres database grows with the number of users & events. The cache retention policy can be configured using the webadmin interface to limit the size of cached items. Also the disk is used to save the attachment files with items. It also grows if there are lots of attachments with the items. Majority of the disk space is used up by the log files. You can control the logging levels in the webamin interface. If you have limited disk space, you can clean up the log files via cron job on an hourly basis.

SLES 11 License. This has been a frequently asked question. In general, you must have a valid license of SLES 11 in order to run this technology preview as well as when the product actually ships. This license entitlement is not currently part of any GroupWise buying program – including NOWS.

There is really only one way, currently, to get a license. You must purchase it. We are exploring a few alternatives, but nothing to announce or discuss just yet.

In addition, there are some who may believe that their OES license gives them rights to use SLES 11 for DataSync. As far as I can confirm with Product Management, this is not true. Mobility is not a workload that qualifies as an OES workload and therefore is not covered by the OES license. Sorry.

We encourage you to please read and participate in the forums to share your experiences and information with other participants as well as Novell.

Danita has already posted some very good information:

One area that we would really like to solicit your input and feedback is on helping us determine the extent of functionality on as many devices as possible. We estimate that there are probably about 400 different devices that this technology could effectively work on. We will be testing more on a ‘platform’ basis than a specific device level.

The platforms we will support and test include: Apple, Android, Symbian, Windows Mobile, Palm, etc. However, there are dozens of devices available for each of these platforms and each of them ‘could’ work slightly differently depending up on the device manufacture’s desires. We need your help in completing our ever expanding device matrix.

I refer you to a previous blog . that specifies, in more detail, our device support matrix. Please take the time to run through a few basic tests on your device as you explore the Technical Preview. Report your results in this WIKI so that the entire community will benefit from your testing and experience.

Here is the Wiki!.

I remind you that we will not be listing every single device that supports the ActiveSync protocol. We will list platforms, then a set of specific devices we have in-house and have validated/certified. We will then provide some general information that allows each of you to determine if the device ‘should’ work. We encourage you to report your results and share your testing experience.

This will help us concentrate our efforts on getting as many devices tested and supported as possible and allow our community to participate in this process.

The wiki contains a list of actions and functionality that you can help validate.

Happy Testing!

Dean

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Disclaimer: This content is not supported by Novell. It was contributed by a community member and is published "as is." It seems to have worked for at least one person, and might work for you. But please be sure to test it thoroughly before using it in a production environment.

20 Comments

  1. By:kennonk

    I know that you said Novell is working on an alternative for this issue but it seems really odd to me that this product wasn’t built on SLES10 SP3. And why is a SLES11 license required for this preview anyway? If it is an unsupported technology preview it seems perfectly reasonable to me to run it on an unsupported/unlicensed SLES11 install. When you say: “must have a valid license of SLES 11″ does that mean the application actually phones home and checks the validity of the activation key?

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    • By:bbecken

      I find this disappointing as well. We get our SLES licenses from OES2. No Way management is going to get us purchase a single SLES 11 license just to look at a trail when we could wait until our OES2 maintenance agreement includes SLES 11.

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  2. By:dlythgoe

    All good questions…

    1. Why SLES11 and not SLES10? Has to do with using the latest available/shipping platforms – they are the best supported and the most current.

    2. Why is a SLES license required for the Preview? If we would have chosen Windows, it would have required a license as well. It does not have anything to do with the Preview, it is simply the fact that you need a platform to run it on and we selected SLES for obvious reasons. We do plan to expand the platform support in future releases of the product – including OES and Windows.

    3. I don’t believe SLES11 phones home.

    Dean

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    • By:rogerithomas1

      >>3. I don’t believe SLES11 phones home

      SLES does phone home as information is logged during the on-line update process. This information can then be matched via IP address against other registered systems within Novell’s database.

      You also made a comment regarding ‘if we suppiled only for Windows would you expect a Windows licence’ The answer to this is that we would not need a windows licence as Microsoft makes available an evaluation copy that can be extended to 180 or even 240 days without the need for keys to be issued. SLES only has a 60 day eval and seems to require the creation of spoof accounts on the Novell site to have more than a single licence key issued.

      Roger

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      • By:ecyoung

        Thanks for bringing up that point about evals. If an org has already evaluated SLES11, then they are SOL because Novell doesn’t allow requesting another eval under the same Novell login. Sure, you can reinstall SLES11, but you won’t be able to activate it and grab updates to mimic a true production environment.

        The severely limited ability to eval SLED/SLES, as compared to eval’ing Windows, has been a sore spot for too long.

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  3. By:dlythgoe

    Some have asked for clarification on access to a SLES license through an OES entitlement. I have researched and want to clarify:

    … there are some who may believe that their OES license gives them rights to use SLES 11 for DataSync. As far as I can confirm with Product Management, this is not true. Mobility is not a workload that qualifies as an OES workload and therefore is not covered by the OES license. Sorry.

    I have updated the original blog with this information.

    When and if this changes – we will let you know.

    Dean

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  4. By:smflood

    It may also be worth us reminding ourselves that OES2 (and I think therefore NOWS) installs on top of SLES10 and not SLES11 so even if Mobility qualified as an OES workload you would still not be licensed.

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  5. By:KBOYLE

    What do you mean when you say, “There is really only one way, currently, to get a license. You must purchase it.”?

    My understanding is that SLES is Open Source – no license required. Patches and Support are normally extra cost items. Is the license to which you refer really the subscription / maintenance fee that allows one to obtain patches?

    If a customer is using SLES and has a subscription that entitles him to patches, he is entitled to upgrade to the latest version. It does not necessarily allow him to install a second instance.

    But customers using NOWS, NOWS SBE, and OES have the ability to deploy multiple servers. NOWS SBE allows up to five physical, and an unlimited number of virtual servers running on those five physical servers. Those servers can be SLES/OES or SLES. I believe the NOWS license offers similar privileges. If I remember correctly, OES allows multiple deployments as well (depending on the number of users). The fact that current versions of OES don’t run on SLES11 is irrelevant.

    An EVAL of SLES11 provides patches for the eval period but is the ability to patch one’s SLES11 really a requirement to install the Mobility Technical Preview?

    It would seem there are plenty of opportunities to legally obtain copies of SLES11 especially if one has maintenance on current products so, IMO, your comment requires further explanation.

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    • By:RogerIThomas

      >> NOWS, NOWS SBE, and OES

      None of the above provide access to SLES 11, just SLES 10. The reason for this is that they all have the OES services at their core and these have not been release for SLES 11 yet. Also until the release of this preview all of the GW modules have worked without any issues on SLES 10.

      >> An EVAL of SLES11 provides patches for the eval period

      As noted above Novell will only provide one eval per signed up account you have on Novell’s web site. The way round this is to create many accounts, but Novell has not stated clearly where this leaves the end user/business in terms of licensing. As such most people will not install a licence from this process as the business maybe in breach of the licence.

      >> is the ability to patch one’s SLES11 really a requirement to install the Mobility Technical Preview?

      No idea all that the documentation stats is that “SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) 11, plus the latest Support Pack”. This could become even more complicated once SP1 ships. As it is an unpatched copy of SLES 11 would again cause problems within any large business with a patch policy. as it stands there are 640 patches for SLES 11 going back 17 months, of which about 50% are security related.

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      • By:KBOYLE

        Hello Roger,

        I’m sorry but I don’t know who you are. Are you a Novell employee speaking on behalf of Novell or just another reader offering an opinion?

        I’m disappointed with the position Novell has adopted with respect to the use of SLES11.

        As I see it, there are two issues that need to be resolved:

        1. How to legally acquire SLES11 to participate in the Mobility Technical Preview
        2. Whether or not Customers’ current licenses provide access to SLES11

        If the intent of the Mobility Technical Preview was to provide Customers an opportunity to preview this technology then Novell should also provide options on ways to do it. For Customers who may not have already downloaded an Eval of SLES11, this is indeed an option and should have been offered as such.

        As to whether existing Customers’ licenses allow deployment of SLES11, I have been told they do so I am puzzled by the reasoning that has been given here.

        I acknowledge that OES currently only runs on SLES10 but I don’t see how that is relevant. If a Customers’ license allows him to deploy multiple instances of SLES10 and if he has maintenance, then he is allowed to upgrade that SLES10 to SLES11 and continue receiving patches to maintain it.

        NOWS and NOWS SBE allow multiple deployments with some restrictions. I can find no restriction that states that SLES10 can only be deployed if OES is installed as an add-on product. I don’t know whether the OES license has such a restriction so it would seem, at least in some cases, that Customers are entitled to SLES11.

        The point I wish to make, and one that other readers have alluded to, is that Novell should be offering Customers options how to obtain SLES11, even if all options aren’t available to every Customer. IMO, it is entirely counterproductive to offer a Technical Preview and at the same time tell Customers they can’t run it unless they buy a SLES11 license, what ever that might be!

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      • By:RogerIThomas

        I’m just an end user who has to be very careful regarding licensing and system deployment so I spend my time working out what the T&C state not what people would like them to state.

        At the same time I’ve seen Novell get into this situation so many times before with its limited ‘rights’ bundles (SBE NetWare, Zen, InternetWare and now OES), where one part of Novell must move forwards with the times and the bundle rights break or even people get told they must re-purchase what they already have.

        The daft thing is that the GroupWise team fixed all their own licence issues about 14 years ago when they moved to a pure per user licence rather than per software produce install. It’s a shame that the SUSE licence process is now breaking that.

        Roger

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  6. By:tmstone835

    Let me see if I understand this. A customer has, in good faith, purchased NOWS, NOWS SBE, or OES and GroupWise together, and now those server licenses are worthless for installing a product that they have been waiting for patiently (most not patiently). They will receive the Mobile Technology Pack as part of their maintenance agreement when it is officially released but it now appears that they won’t be able to install it because the product was developed on a server platform that is not included in their product bundle. Wow!

    This is a joke, right?

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    • By:khooverpview

      I couldn’t agree more tmstone835 – as a long-standing NOWS subscriber it makes no sense why we wouldn’t be entitled to it. I’m hoping this policy changes when we are out of beta. I would even be fine if the policy was that SLES 11 is only licensed if data sync is installed with it.

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    • By:arosink

      Totally agree tmstone835!

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  7. By:vgalino

    Hello¡¡¡

    SLES is not sell with license, its selled with subscriptions.

    Please, see the subscription options
    http://www.novell.com/products/server/howtobuy.html#getpricing

    You can work with the SLES Code of SLES 10 on a SLES 11 and i hope they works.

    Another question is if i have a license issue. Then, Yes, i have a license issue, because the OES 2 EULA License does not permit to install a SLES 10 only machine and i can not install a SLES 11 too. You need to pay subscription per server

    Then, on my mynd, i think if i go to install the mobility pack the best is , if i have oes 2, install the sles 11 server with the subscription of the sles 10, test the product and delete the machine when i finished.

    When i have the full mobility pack, then i need to buy the subscription for the server.

    I Am seeking on the novell web site , because some months ago i see if you get a sles 11 and mount a xen host server, you have the option to install all the sles servers you want at the price of the one license, But not sure if this promotion its out now.

    It s the same like the smt server . You need a license for the server in a legal perspective -:))

    Regards
    Victor

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    • By:kjhurni

      Hi Victor,

      I believe recently Novell modified the EULA for OES2 so that you CAN setup a SLES10 server (without OES2 on it) so long as it is for the use of the same “workgroup” set of users.

      In other words, you can’t use your OES2 license to setup JUST a SLES10 server as a web server for “external” users that aren’t in your eDir tree.

      I’m not sure if this covers SLES11 though, but the way I read it, it does.

      From Novell’s licensing page:

      “Novell has recently updated the Novell Open Enterprise Server (OES) End-User License Agreement (EULA) to reflect current terms of the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) entitlement. The current entitlement allows customers to deploy an unlimited number of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server copies to run Open Enterprise Server services for licensed Open Enterprise Server users. Customers can also deploy an unlimited number of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server copies to support any other software product used to service, support, secure or manage Open Enterprise Server services for licensed Open Enterprise Server users.

      The new policy lets customers leverage the power of Linux for consolidation, virtualization and application compatibility.”

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  8. By:riantor

    It is ever happened to me too and I feel very disappointed.

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  9. By:mannisto

    Why is this DataSyncronizator so poorly documented what comes to installing it all the way to mobile devices.

    Practically there is only cryptic logging tailing with very little of understandable information in between.

    Everything else goes by the book but when trying to connect a Phone (~Nokia) to the system you only get an cryptic authentification error message of wrong user/password credentilas.

    Hey, try to solve it with these electronic papers. And YES, all other apps are connecting by the same LDAP and YES my credentials are correct.

    Product looks still a stonehenge so a lot of this to do.

    Juha

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    • By:mannisto

      It seems that when changing Suse Linux to use eDirectory as primary directory users class is added with POSIX schema.

      This will change users DN from cn=[user], ou=[subcontext],o=[context] into uid=[user], ou=[subcontext],o=[context].

      So, the change is in Users DN in CN to UID. This will cause both iFolder and DataSyncronizer to break. Why ?

      This issue has been asked from support without any help. Now it is solved. Only thing to correct this an easy way would to run an LDAP modify call to change this DN to correct one. Problem is that it seems that not even admin-account has needed rights to do it.

      There must be a way since Suse changed it in the first place.

      I hope this info goes to someone who actually cares to fix it.

      J

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  10. By:alyson1020

    I hope that the product passed the consumer’s expectation and would not cause any problems or whatsoever.

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