Cool Solutions

Move IT: Now is the Time to Upgrade



April 28, 2009 2:53 pm





The future of NetWare is Open Enterprise Server, running on SUSE Linux Enterprise

Thanks for joining us to hear Ron Hovsepian, President and CEO of Novell, talk about the future of NetWare. Novell Open Enterprise Server is the upgrade path from NetWare, and to help customers make the move during the next year, we are introducing new offers and promotions, so that everyone can Move IT to Linux.

Ronald Hovsepian
President and CEO
Novell, Inc.

View the video >

Ron’s not the only one saying it. 51% of our customers have deployed 25% of their Novell file-and-print production servers on Open Enterprise Server running SUSE Linux Enterprise. Many more are already rolling it out. And 80% are “satisfied” or “extremely satisfied” with the performance. So don’t just take Ron’s word for it, listen to what our customers are saying. Those of you who are already using Open Enterprise Server to keep your network running, let us know about it. Share your stories; leave your comments.

And also check out to learn about the offers and promotions that are available to you in order to ease your upgrade from NetWare to Open Enterprise Server. You’ll find more about:

  • Free Training
  • New Services Offerings
  • Updated Best Practices Guidelines
  • License Discounts

Now is the time to join the fastest growing market segment – Linux. More choices for applications. More choices for hardware. With all the enterprise-class reliability, scalability, and manageability that you’ve come to know and love with NetWare services.

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Categories: Open Enterprise Server, Technical


Disclaimer: This content is not supported by Micro Focus. 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.


  1. By:Sgermanides

    Care to comment? We want to hear from all of you: customers, partners, employees. Consider commenting with any of the following:

    Your best NetWare story
    Your upgrade experience
    Your plans for OES
    Your experiences with Training Services or Support

    We chose to launch the Move IT programs on Cool Solutions so we could start a conversation. Let us know what you think…

    Sophia Germanides
    Product Marketing Manager
    Novell Open Enterprise Server

    • By:ronnys

      I agree with many of the messages that OES2 on SUSE has caused some(allot) issues, but not all is bad with OES2. I guess some services is acting very unstable. I guess its Zen10, NCP, NSS and iPrint.
      eDirectory seems to me very stable and for me it has been bulletproof!

      I’ve installed 3 OES2 Linux servers that run eDir and Identity Manager.
      We import 15000 users from an Oracle database to one server and use policy to sync users to other servers. I also have two Windows Servers with IDM Remote loader.
      It all are working rock stable(Knock on wood). I havent had any issues with eDir or IDM and we are talking about 15000 users on one server. But there are some things i wish was made easier;

      How about a web-based “Server manager” that you can restart and get status on all services like NSS, eDir, Tomcat, iPrint, MySQL, Apache, DNS, DHCP, SLP, Timesync etc, or a SUSE tool the do the same.
      When you install a fresh OES2 with iManager, you need to install plugins. After installing then you need to restart Tomcat.
      It took me long time to find out the right command(script) to do this!
      Now in 2009 it shouldnt be nessesary to execute a script for this. In fact iManager shoud be able to restart Tomcat by itself. In fact YOU should upgrade plugins for iManager. It has become to much web-portals, utillities, tools, applications to manage OES2; iManager, NRM, iMonitor, ConsoleOne and even with SLP you still need NWAdmin32 (Well some says).
      I’ve written earlier about SUSE and OES is two separate system. In Netware it was ONE. It was easy! Even if you needed to restart Tomcat in console, it was easy.
      We are still running iPrint on Netware. I didnt dare to migrate iPrint to SUSE.

      I miss a system when SUSE and OES has been melted together. OES is integrated in SUSE. And you install and upgrade OES and not SUSE + OES.
      It seems like Novell doesnt know what they want to focus most on; SUSE or OES.

      SUSE is a damn good OS, but it lack a common system to integrate all services like in a directory. This is eDir and AD experts on. OES give us eDir, but its so separated from the OS that you start to wonder if its really there and running.
      Another exellent ide is to integrate iFolder in NSS and Novell Client. iFolder is exellent for us who use laptops at work. Now its two separate clients but the worse it was when Novell start to use .NET in iFolder3. This is (Pardon my language) pure crap! iFolder work greate, but the client is heavy as a fat pig.
      Offline folders are important today. It should be integrated!
      You map up you home-directory and then you can enable “Offline” and Homedirectory stay on computer.

      I have many idès about the future OES, but do Novell listen to us?
      This tread started with Novell ask for “success storyes”. I can give you our success-story with eDir and IDM, but im to scared to migrate iPrint.
      And i really miss NSS! Its maybe one of the best filesystem, but it just need to be renewed for the modern world. Etha Byte-support, Offline folders and easy ftp, WebDAV. In SUSE its a real challange to set up NSS.

      So you all! Not all are bad!

    • By:micheljq

      Seeing that Netware support will end, my company decided to eliminate their Netware servers and move to Microsoft. They don’t like Microsoft Windows servers a lot, but they don’t trust Linux enough already.

      It means the end of eDirectory and it’s replacement by Microsoft AD. For me it’s a very sad situation, and not and upgrade at all. I am a fan of Netware and would like to see the support for Netware continue. I did install Windows servers, Netware servers, tried SLES Linux also. I an not impressed with Windows Servers, about Linux SLES, well, I still prefer Netware a lot over it. It’s simplier to administrate, bullet proof stable, etc. The way i see it for a technical point of view, Netware it still the best.

      I did always disagree with the Novell’s decision of making Linux their main operating system over Netware in 2003. Why do? Linux is good OK, but Netware was always better, why downgrade? To try to attrack a new fan base? Did it work?

      Sorry this is how I feel. It’s like Novell dropped the ball and acknowledged that Microsoft did beat them. They could have continue their fight, hope for better days for Netware and continue his development.

  2. By:ecyoung

    For my organization, now is not yet the time to upgrade. Several important things from Netware are still missing in OES Linux, for example:
    1) Netware FTP remote server functionality
    2) cross-protocol file-locking across AFP/NCP/CIFS
    3) NSS filesystem auditing

    This is unacceptable (especially the lack of NSS filesystem auditing), given that OES is over 4 years old now.

    Now that SLES 11 has been released, we see little value in deploying SLES 10 and enduring its relatively short remaining lifecycle. Hopefully OES for SLES 11 is Novell’s top priority and releases soon, finally bringing the missing Netware services to us.

    • By:jaharmon

      1) Netware FTP remote server functionality
      Answer: Part of OES 2 SP2

      2) cross-protocol file-locking across AFP/NCP/CIFS
      Answer: Part of OES 2 SP2

      3) NSS filesystem auditing
      Answer: Part of OES 2 SP2

      • By:ecyoung

        Ah. So when is that set to release? And will OES 2 SP2 run on SLES 11? If not, what’s the “lag” time going to be for OES on SLES 11? As I mentioned, my org does not want to deploy an already obsolete NOS.

      • By:jaharmon

        OES 2 SP2 is planned for Q4 calendar 2009 and since it is a support pack it will not be running on SLES 11 but will instead be running on SLES 10 SP3. SLES 10 is not an obsolete OS. The plans are in the works for “OES next” and that is the one that will likely be based off of the SLES 11 code base.

      • By:ecyoung

        Going by the wikipedia definition of obsolescence, “Obsolescence is the state of being which occurs when a person, object, or service is no longer wanted ****even though it may still be in good working order.**** ”

        SLES10 has many limitations, such as older Java, Apache, etc, etc that cannot (without losing support) be upgraded to newer releases. If your business needs to run applications on the newer versions of these components, then SLES10 may be as obsolete to you as it is to us.

      • By:b0llocks111111

        Are you are saying that OES FTP and NetWare FTP will be the same in SP2? would this include:
        Accepting contextual FQDN login names which it can’t currently do?
        Being able to turn off CaSe sensitivity to emulate NetWare’s FTP?

        Until those are done some businesses won’t move… I’m not changing all those scripts! =)

  3. By:ronnys

    We have been running Netware for 12years since Netware 4.11
    We still run Netware (6.5 SP7) but have been realizing that NW is a dead end in future. OES2 for Linux is the next step and we consider to upgrade.

    The problem is the huge different between NW and OES2 Linux. OES2 Linux is not one product, but two. This is because OES2 is in fact not the OS, but the services. SLES is the OS and SLES is completly different from NW. Its complex and advanced. You need to learn a completly new OS.
    OES2 is just an Add-on. These services may be working fine and users doesnt feel any different, but for us who is managing servers, its a completely new world.

    Since OES2 and SLES is not integrated, then you will allways have to troubleshoot both. If something doesnt work like iManager, then you really dont know if it is SLES or OES that is the problem. The new OES2 is far more difficult to troublshoot than the old Netware.
    I really like Netware since its so easy to set up. Everything is integrated in one OS-package. Even Apache is more easy to setup on Netware than in SLES. The OS Netware had become increddible stable. In a small office we run (sorry to say) Windwos2003 R2. Its just 5people there and they are sharing 2printers. Allmost every week we have to reboot the Windwos server, because the printer-spooler stops.
    But on our main site we run one Netware that only hold iPrint. It share 40printers and has been running for 200days without any problems.
    This is the real strengt of Netware!

    SLES is of course a very good OS. Its modern and support new server-platforms and lots of RAM. It is more easy to set up in a SAN(iSCSI/FC) sollution. Alsmost no new HW-platform in SAN-sollution support Netware now, but many faithfull Netware users are struggeling to learn the new SLES and it doesnt make it easier when we know that we need to stick to the right version of SLES to can install OES2-services; SLES10-SP1 + OES2, SLES10-SP2 + OES2-SP1
    And now SLES11 is out! There is no bound between SLES and OES.

    How many did an “Move to SLES10-SP2” on a OES2-setup? this breaks the whole OES2. This is the result when we have to deal with two products.
    What Novell should consider is to pack SLES and OES in one package alik Out-of-box installation and upgrades. This meen SLES must be change into another product and call the whole product OES. One DVD and one line of support. This of course demand allot from Novell and development. Let SLES be SLES and OES be OES.
    This will make it more easy to migrate to OES Linux.


    • By:Sgermanides

      We hear your concerns often, ronnys. Managing SLES updates is something that we want to make easier for our customers. But since those services that you have relied on for so long are engineered for SLES in OES, we do have a lag so that QA can get their work done, too.

      And we know that sysadmins want to upgrade their skills, but time and cost sometimes make that tough to do. Please check out new free traiing we’re offering to help you. It’s an interactive online course, that you can start and stop at your conveniece. You can access it at

  4. By:Jublian

    We are a moderate sized School District, some 13.5k students, 2k employees and 36 Novell servers in 16 different buildings. I’ve always loved Linux and have worked towards increasing its impact in our District so when Novell announced its plans several years ago on running OES on SUSE I was thrilled. We waited until we felt it was mostly mature and started deploying last summer, OES2 on SUSE 10.1

    Things went ok when school started. We had some glitches and adjustments we needed to perform but that wasn’t unexpected after shifting from a back-end that had been finely tweaked for over 12 years. What we didn’t expect was the constant little things and adjust ments that never ended; “fix” one problem, something else starts going wrong. Always in namcd, NDSD, nldap and NSS sub-structures. Never anything in the logs, no errors, no warning. Just suddenly a perfectly functional server that was rebooted yesterday dropped its IPrint, etc. But we were confident we could fine-tune the system back to the 300+ days of uptime we enjoyed under Netware. After all, our lone SUSE 9 box had been running for over 2 years at that point under OES1, though it had almost no load on it.

    In December we made the final removal of Netware; our Groupwise server was migrated, and successfully was running and happy. Our little issues continued but at least Zenworks was staying up for several days in a row now.

    By the time I left for ATT in Provo, things had got much worse. During my absence one of our primary servers killed its replica, and I wasn’t there to fix it. Another server the next week did the same thing; and after 3 days of Tech support working on it the final response was “Don’t put a replica on it anymore”. 3 weeks later I could guarentee that if I was out of the office for more than one day 2-4 servers would drop their IPrint or NSS volumes, and in many cases just completely hard-lock requiring unplugging to reset.

    Desperate, and not having anymore SRs to blow unless absolutely needed, we started tracking our failures and comparing notes. We came to one conclusion. That day I loaded ESX on one of our boxes and brought up a VM with Netware 6.5, sticking it in the replica. Over night our systems gained in stability by many times. Now we are slowly shutting down our SUSE/OES2 servers and deploying Netware in VMs; we have done 5 so far and haven’t had a server failure (including in the SUSE machines) in 2 weeks.

    We aren’t inexperienced and we are willing to work, but our experiences tell me one thing: OES2 on SUSE is not ready. The SUSE side is rock stable but the OES integration components are flaky. All the service patches that Tech Support has made me load to “fix” issues has done nothing but make them worse. These issues, combined with the how abysmal Zen 10 was until the latest patches, have left a sour taste with Administration, our users and us. I don’t think that anything short of years of proof can regain that trust we had in Novell’s products, and we don’t have years do we?

    Simply, the death of Netware == the death of Novell in our organization. Its been a great 11 years (since I can’t count this last one) but all good things must come to an end.

    • By:dmahalko

      By staying with classic Netware with few problems you are not helping Novell to make money through the support channel. Now is the time to move to SUSE, because it means more support incidents! It often seems like product maturity and stability is when these drives occur to get people to upgrade to something new, flashy… and unstable.

      The free VMWare ESX (without Infrastructure) + Netware seems to be the way to go for a few more years. Whatever driver support you don’t have directly for Netware on new hardware, you will get from VMWare ESX which then has a virtualized connector driver to make it work anyway.

      I have a Netware server set up this way to specifically deal with SCSI I2O hangs back in NW65SP3 (TID 10083921). Windows 2003 uses I2O devices fine + VMWare Server 1.0 (free) + NW65SP7 = no problems. Yes I realize the joke of running Netware virtualized on a Win 2003 server…

      All the reports I’ve seen say that OES-linux still has lackluster NSS performance vs Netware. Sorry, but I am not planning to downgrade when I switch server OS’s. Novell, you get NSS to equal or better performance and then I’ll look at switching.

  5. By:gmwnhs1

    The end of NetWare will in my organization mean the end of GroupWise and eDirectory as well. If only NetWare had been developed and re-invented. It is the end of an era and the market now has no replacement that is as quick, stable and hardware efficient. I am afraid that Novell’s stance on support will lose them more customers of products such as eDirectory and further decrease the market share. The market share that Novell has lost within the last 15 years is a tragedy and they seem determined to do everything they can to make it worse. It should not have been like this.

    • By:stikboy

      The end of NetWare meant the end of Novell for us. I’m just now starting a full migration to Server 2008 and AD. With NetWare going, so is GroupWise and ZENWorks – we tried OES/SLES/SLED/OES2 – there were just too many wierd problems and instabilities and next to zero available (free) resources to help. I could find tons of posts about my problems, they all seemed to end with “and that’s why we switched to Microsoft.”

      When even the so-called Global Evangelist for Novell jumped ship last year, we knew it was time to seek a new system.

  6. By:xitec75

    Novell OS really rocks. I understand that virtualization is an important step to bypass a lot of trouble with 3rd party vendors.

    Anyway, I think some things went wrong since version 4.11 of netware.


    I understand the migration to linux. I would use linux kernel and follow global rules for linux-OS (locations for general files, drivers,..) and develop a new linux novell superpower-os for the future. By using general kernels, you won’t loose anything.

    My vision of novell looks like this:
    a) computer boots up
    b) loads linux kernel
    c) loads some linux stuff (drivers,modules,shell,perl)
    d) load novell-stuff
    e) shell-console root login (SSH, Telnet, ASCII, no KDE or GNOME… )
    f) all novell services loaded and ready
    g) clients work with everything they had before and all ways are the same

    Suse-Linux itself is too big and oversized. Sorry saying so.

    A lot of people building out-of-the-box solutions with linux. Firewalls, NAS Server and so on. With less than 50 MB on disk. These people show us: it works.

    I would not end support for the current netware editions and rewrite everything to get all working out of the box, with linux bootup instead of DOS – without the big suse linux monster, a small linux-system with compatibility to suse.

    Again: Dear Novell team: Be a technical leader again. You can do it. Show them your real skills. Do it again!

  7. By:barragae

    Just read though the comments here and I see two things:
    One is – Traditional admins complaining about lack of “NetWare” in OES or the death all together of NetWare and by extension Novell in their environments.
    The other is – Lack of thinking out of the box.

    We would all love for the OS to be king again, but that’s not reality, not even in the competitive arena. The OS is part of the platform and I think the reason Novell takes such a hit with OES, users are trying to use OES as the platform, not the OS.
    It’s about devices now and the content they can consume – and this is where Novell can be strong – Linux is a player and the best environments will continue to use best of breed products. We have to stop relying on an OS as a platform. OS is the foundation of the platform, but it itself does not handle the business process itself – that’s the next paradigm. It’s not about one box and it being up 300 days.
    As a consultant – I still have no problem going in to a client with a Novell product if it’s the right fit. Chances are it won’t be file and print anymore, but I really don’t get in to that type of work anymore either.

  8. By:Jublian

    The issue isn’t that Netware is being retired, the issue is that the replacement tools are not ready.

    When your job demands that services be available rebooting a server every week is completely unacceptable. We *know* that Novell can do better, but for some reason they haven’t with OES2.

    SUSE is solid, I trust my SUSE boxes completely. Netware is solid, I trust those machines completely. OES2 on SUSE is NOT stable; I know that if I leave the office for 3 days I will have servers that aren’t running when I get back. This is completely unacceptable. And like my original post mentioned, by leaving Netware in the structure the SUSE/OES2 boxes run much better and more stable.

    When you need file and print services and they have to stay running it really doesn’t matter if something else is more flexible or not, at the end of the day the only thing that matters is you didn’t have to interrupt the work day by rebooting a machine that failed. Our businesses demand that services and data be available at all times, if the servers keep crashing you have failed.

    I have always expected and received one thing from my Novell products, they were always there when I needed them to be. This last year has been the most disappointing one of my IT career, its the year I had to admit that the Evil Empire had surpassed the one company I thought I could count on to get it right. Between OES2 and Zen 10 I have no choice, my administrators aren’t going to sign another contract with Novell.

    It is too early to force this change. Read the numbers again: 51% of our customers have deployed 25%. 80% of those are satisfied or better. Those are aweful numbers both in the number of deployments AND satisfaction rates. Novell should listen to the other 49% that haven’t deployed, those that haven’t deployed to all their machines AND those 20% that aren’t happy.

  9. By:stikboy

    Barragae, that has to be one of the dumbest posts I’ve read in a long time. OS, or Operating System is software, and the Platform is the hardware it runs on. Most of your post makes no sense – use software as the hardware?

    If you, as a consultant, think that up-time isn’t important to businesses and that somehow content consuming devices are what’s important – well I think you’re in the wrong business. Tossing out marketing terms like business process is the next paradigm as relevant and ignoring dependable file and print services is just plain mental deficiency.

    Netware was the best of breed for file and print services – it allowed businesses to focus on what they do and not have to worry about having a huge IT shop to constantly prop up the system. The dependability is why people stuck with Netware; and the loss of that is why people are running from SLES.

    Lets pretend your comment was about cars – you are saying you’d recommend your customers use a car that breaks down every three blocks because it uses a flashy new fuel source – and it’s more about consuming than dependability.

    Novell was a great company, my blood ran Novell Red – but like most of the posters here, it’s not an issue of not thinking outside the box, it’s thinking about not having to constantly worry about the “box”.

  10. By:dmahalko

    Those mobile devices don’t work if they can’t get to their data, served up 24/7 from a box that never goes down. Businesses still rely on fast central servers with huge uptime to make it all work, Mr. Barragae.

    Cubicle and classroom desktops are still mostly hard-wired and that isn’t changing. They work best when each user has the account, application, and desktop preferences follow them from machine to machine, with their desktop, mydocs, and appdata served up straight to them from the file server. It’s called roaming profiles, and it works well with Novell’s alternative to Microsoft’s implementation. (If Novell were to eliminate ZENworks for Desktops I would have absolutely no incentive to keep me from going straight to Microsoft.)


    What Novell is really getting with the move to linux is a pre-emptive OS, where programs can be assigned priority access the CPU and some can be idled, and where a single misbehaving application cannot drag the entire system to its knees.

    Classic Netware puts all software in “ring 0” with the kernel running at the same priority. All software must behave perfectly and must be written to give over idle time to other software, or the whole works freezes up.

    Years ago I determined that users can never be allowed to run their own perl scripts on Classic Netware, because a tight infinite loop in perl hangs the machine so hard that all server disk activity screeches to a halt and the test user program cannot be killed. A hard reset was the only option to regain control of the server.


    That plus the 32-bit memory limitation capping server memory at around 3 gigabytes (and the rest is only for NSS caching) severely hobbles the future of Classic Netware.

    That is the primary reason they’ve gone to linux. To attempt to rewrite classic Netware as a pre-emptive 64-bit OS would have been a far larger project than simply buying SUSE with a ready-made server OS that already had those features, and just rewriting the core apps (eDir, NSS, Groupwise, ZEN, etc) to work with the pre-existing 64-bit SUSE kernel..

    The main problem right now is for Novell to finish the job and optimize their code to equal the speed and efficiency of the original non-preemptive 32-bit code. NSS needs to be equal or faster, and SHOULD be faster if it is running in 64-bit mode. Groupwise mail agents need to exit cleanly, without blocking ports, becoming a zombie process, and requiring a full reboot to clear. NDS/eDir must be rock-solid without needing to revert to a Classic Netware replica to keep it all stable, as mentioned above.

    In essence, the migrated Classic code needs to be tightened up a bit more before we’ll all be comfortable making the switch.

    – Dale Mahalko

    • By:barragae

      I don’t disagree that the OS must be stable, we have seen excellent stability with eDirectory running on SLES. What seem to be problematic are the traditional NetWare services (NSS, NCP, a place to run GW, etc..)
      Thousands of companies all over the world seem to be able to do business without NetWare and make money. I just don’t agree that nothing is good enough to replace it – I agree OES is not yet the answer.

      • By:Jublian

        The only option Novell is giving us for these services is either OES2 or Microsoft. THAT is what we are complaining about. If those services were as stable on OES2 as they are on Netware we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Or at least I wouldn’t, I would be in the 100% migrated and happy category. As it is we *were* 100% migrated, and are now going back to Netware.

        Incidently, watch what is happening when those services drop; it is the ties between the SUSE base, namcd, those services, LDAP and EDirectory that are failing. EDirectory will gleefully spill all available memory, dropping your server and locking it up as fast under OES2 as any wayward process under Netware. All without writing a single error code into your logs to try to track later 🙁

  11. By:lisaldiaz

    “Upgrade” generally means to encompass everything in the previous version and having some add-on value. We have had nothing but problems with OES-Linux and have never been able to get it out of the test environment.

    Like others here, we want to continue to use Novell, but our customers need 24×7, and OES-Linux just doesn’t do it. It needs to be just as good as Netware in every aspect, and better in others. Even some from Novell Consulting recommended we not use Groupwise on it, for example.

    It’s normal to expect some bugs, but the awful integration and very difficult way to manage it as compared to Windows and Netware make it un-deployable at this time.

    NSBS was great (except for the excessively greedy pricing structure past the initial deployment), and NOWS was an unqualified disaster.

    • By:lisaldiaz

      “DiFucci noted that he held meetings with Novell CFO Dana Russell yesterday. He writes that Russell “entertained the possibility of breaking out some parts or of selling the entire company in order to maximize shareholder value given the current depressed valuation levels.” DiFucci writes that, while Russell also asserted that management is making progress in unlocking some of the value of the company, the discussion about a possible break-up or sale “could signal the company’s willingness to be acquired.””

      Looks like what everyone thought has finally come true – kill NetWare, kill Novell.

      Nice going, Ron.

      • By:dmahalko

        This hard limit of only one more year of Netware is moving too quickly. Linux is not yet at the point of being ready to take its place. Don’t pull out the old platform until the new is at least equal or better. The old Netware needs at least another year, maybe two, past the current phaseout deadline.

        There are other issues. By moving services to linux, is there really a performance or other gain by maintaining Novell Storage Services and Storage Management Services? Being a linux, SUSE already has access to about four other partition types. Does NSS / SMS really add value compared to those? If Groupwise and other core Netware apps can do just as well without NSS, is it really necessary to keep maintaining it, especially if the linux version is much slower than on Netware?

        Certainly Novell does have value to bring to the table. A unified Novell client with single sign-on might actually bring some discipline to the VW-bus full of screaming “information wants to be free” linux hackers that must have at least five different competing methods to do the same thing, and can’t decide on how to make linux standardized for the school or workplace. (Can you imagine a single unified group policies system on linux desktops, with no alternatives? I don’t think the hackers would stand for it.)

      • By:gldavis

        Although the end of life of NetWare starts in March 2010, Novell is giving extended NetWare support for an additional 2 years for no additional costs above normal maintenance. So there is some breathing room here. There is a link off for more information.

      • By:gldavis

        As you probably heard in the press, Novell has issued a filing with the SEC stating it is not going to be sold, despite the public rumors.

        On a positive note on Novell is that we have some great new innovations coming up through the pipeline. I saw a demo the other day of some new software being put together by some of the original NetWare development geniuses. It really knocked my socks off, and did the same for others. There is some real excitement being generated on some of our future products, and the momentum of customers upgrading from NetWare to Linux has really taken off as of late.

      • By:lisaldiaz

        So tell me, what did Ron have for breakfast?

        Nice try, plant. It doesn’t work when Microsoft plants their own employees to help generate “grassroots” momentum, and it certainly doesn’t help Novell, especially when it’s so obvious.

        In all fairness, Novell has always had the superior technology (until the Linux / OES fiasco) but still has absolutely no way to market it. They also used to listen to their customers.

  12. By:lisaldiaz

    The silence from Novell is deafening. Marketing must be involved.

  13. By:willtur

    Its unfortunate as we benefit so much from the services you guys provide yet
    the trend of support and jobs for novell/zenworks admins seems to be going the way of the dinosaur.

    So in the end I am sad to see it go and I will no doubt have a tougher job ahead of me as the network and application engineer but in the end at least I will have a skill that someone needs. Try doing a search for netware or novell sometime on a job site. This is a bummer.

  14. By:jhedge


    I’m almost scared to purchase Linux after reading this.
    I have a very small company running NW 6.5.7, 40 users.

    I was told by ” one in the know” that at the end of July 09, there would be a mirgration tool that would do it all

    Edir, Nss volumes, GW all of it.

    Now will it really happen – ?

    If it works it would maybe solve some of these issues.


    • By:gldavis

      There is a tool that migrates the OES services (NSS, iprint, AFP, Cifs, DHCP, NTP, etc…), and a separate tool that migrates GroupWise. These tools can be used together to migrate the OES services and GroupWise from NetWare to OES Linux. See and look for section 11.1.7 – Migrating GroupWise as part of an Identity Transfer Migration.

      If you haven’t tried the ID transfer Migration, you should really check it out. The tool will migrate NetWare and it’s services to a Linux box along with pulling the edir database, changing name, ipaddress, nici and certificates. When you are done your clients login to the same address and mappings they used with NetWare accept now the server is OES Linux. With the latest patches it has solidified nicely.

  15. By:lisaldiaz

    Why migrate? What’s the business or technical reason, if you’re allowed to share?

    It’s like parachutists – why jump out of a perfectly good airplane?


    of course there a lot of arguments for this or that.
    I’m doing NetWare for about 20 years and i am a fan of NetWare too. But there are many things NetWare can’t do really good (i hate the non-preemtive multitasking (pseudo-multitasking) and priority handling (years ago there has been OS/2 that did this perfectly and much better than any Win system today)). Who does not know downing a server when only one process hangs – esp. Antivirus, Backup etc. The only products that really worked on NetWare are Novell’s own products. Did you choose to run a database other than flaim on NetWare? No way.
    Linux does all that and much more but you have to learn a lot of new stuff. I think this is the main problem. There are only a few things you won’t get for Linux and when installed initially (could be hard) it works rockstable until your hardware dies.
    I have running systems on SLES9/OES1 (3 years) and OES2 + GW7 (2 years) without main problems. ZCM is a problem yet that has to be solved fast. Sever based admin tools like dsrepair would be nice on Linux (ndsrepair is a bit puristic yet). Time and SLP management and coexistence with NetWare boxes is suspicious so is the certificate handling.
    Linux is the right way and XEN is the answer to your NetWare lifetime. Run all the good OES stuff on Linux and maintain a NetWare VM for things that won’t work as you want. Novell did a good job to migrate their main services from NetWare to Linux in only 3 years (OES1), OES 2 is a big step forward (@Novell: please don’t miss NSS, NCP; Samba is not a real alternative).

  17. By:lisaldiaz

    You just laid out a lot of good arguments as to why Novell’s Linux isn’t ready yet. Until it is, I can’t recommend it. Novell has had over three years to get it right and still misses the mark.

    As far as databases on Netware goes, I’ve run Oracle and Sybase without any issues to speak of.

    I have no qualms about moving to Linux, but it’s SUCH a change and Novell could have made SO MUCH easier, but failed to do so. Heck, they still can’t figure out what management tool to use!

    They simply bought the company, slapped a new logo on it, and said, “We’re now a Linux company!”. It took how long just to get a Linux Client rolled out?

    ndsrepair? Please!

    Download and install Netware or Windows server, and you can install Directory Services, etc. Download SLES, and it’s an entirely separate process. Why? Why not have one DVD download for it all?

    It seems that Novell still doesn’t know what they want to do with it and they still can’t get some parts to work right.

    It’s as if the only vision is “Linux-only” and don’t have the technical time / ability to make it work.

    The Microsoft coupon and driver thing? Relying on a company that’s sworn to destroy you (and has the means and motivation to do it) for your very survival is not a good business decision.

    A better business decision would have been to integrate Linux, get it working right and bulletproof, then start the retirement of Netware. Offer free training and certification, have a road tour in the top 50 US cities to demonstrate it and get into the board rooms to be able to talk to the mailroom clerk to the CxO if need be (IOW, make the language so everyone can understand it at their level), oh – and ADVERTISE. You know, that Marketing thing that Novell is so anemic to.

    They’ve got what – $1.5 billion just sitting around? They can afford it. This isn’t the 90’s anymore – you really do have to advertise and “spend it to make it”.

    It’s not Novell’s far past that is so depressing, it’s what they are currently doing as it seems they refuse to learn from their mistakes.

    The best thing Novell has done is keep the Novell Support Forums open and still run by the same great leadership as before. Without it, Novell would certainly have folded long ago.


      I know what you mean but keep cool.
      SLES and RHEL (Ubuntu coming) are the only certified server based Linuxes, so this is the argument for a single SLES. Having OES as an addon does not break this certification.

      What’s so wrong in having two different installation media (add on) and running it as a service? There are many features in OES that could be done friendlier or better but they work and are stable yet.
      Oracle on NetWare was a nice try in the late 90s, how long did it waste – 1 year? Sybase works really good of course. On SLES you run Oracle, DB/2, MySQL, Postgres, Sybase, Derby and many more without any problems also on NSS if you want.

      The rest of your comments are absolutely correct and i am with you in all you said.
      . . . but these are no statements about the usability and stability of SLES/OES.

  18. By:Jublian

    Then re-read my comments above, plus other posters’ comments. OES2/SLES is NOT stable enough for production environments as it currently stands.

    We were 100% migrated and very soon after our last Netware box was replaced we started having massive stability issues with EDir and related services. I have 4 boxes that can no longer even have a replica on them or they start crashing! And yes, I had a SR on it; after 2 weeks of Novell’s support working on one of them their response was “Don’t put a replica on it any more”. They also made me patch every system, which just made matters worse. At our worst we were having 2-3 servers go down PER DAY, all of them dropping IPrint, NSS volumes or just locking up. The funny thing is that Groupwise 7 on our SUSE server runs for 100s of days with no issues, while most people complain about stability of GW 7 on SLES….

    We put ONE Netware 6.5 server in a VM and put a replica on it, over night our systems stabilized and instead of several a day we had a failure every other week. Now we are slowly shutting down the SLES systems and deploying Netware in VMs.

    These were all hand-loads, not “conversions” of existing servers, so no bugs could have come across from any oddities in the replaced Netware boxes.

    By November all of our SLES /OES2 servers will be gone. We will still have multiple SLES servers handly various tasks, but none will have the OES2 components on them. By next summer we will be a Microsoft shop 🙁

    These tools are flaky, unstable and tech support doesn’t seem to understand them any better than we do. And don’t get me started on Zen 10, I might get banned from the forums on that one.

  19. By:lisaldiaz

    How about 2 downloads – one for SLES and then the OES add-on and one that combines the two and has a seemless installation / integration as Novell has done so well with Netware over the years, like an overlay? I understand that not everyone who wants a Linux server wants all the Novell-developed apps, such as eDirectory, NDPS, Certificate Server, et al.

    One huge problem Novell has is that OES acts like it’s an add-on and not a “natural extension of the operating system”, to quote Microsoft. Square peg / round hole. They’ve planned this for at least a decade, and this is the end result. Are you 100% satisfied with it? I’m not, and neither are my customers. We still put on our happy faces and prop up Novell as much as we can, but the results speak for themselves.

    Novell wants their Netware customers to move to Linux. Ok, fine. How about making it easy to do?

    How about making it so that at least some if it has a “Netware-mode” where it looks and feels a little like Netware? What about a few utilities like Monitor, DSRepair, etc? (No, ndsrepair doesn’t cut it, and you know it.)

    I downloaded SLES 11 and OES 2 to install, and the OES DVD continually stopped after about 2.1 GB.

    SLES downloaded and installed, but it took 3 days to install it! Windows takes about a day, to include everything, Netware a few hours, and SLES a few days. What’s wrong with this picture? I never was able to get OES to download, so I had to borrow a DVD from someone else.

    A few other areas where Novell has dropped the ball –

    1. iManager. The standalone version has been rendered impotent as far as NDPS is concerned. Novell in their great wisdom, built in some Active-X controls that will ONLY work with IE – not the standalone, not via Firefox, etc. Try updating the standalone to SP3. It won’t do it for me.

    2. NSS. ’nuff said.

    3. SLES / OES integration

    4. ZCM 10 – it requires a Windows server, but does not support Netware. Huh?

    5. XEN – bought by Citrix, owned by Microsoft. Want to bet your business on a competitor playing nice with you?

    6. Killed Netware too soon. SLES isn’t ready to take over yet. Novell panicked a lot of Netware shops into moving on to Windows when the time to change comes. I can name a few dozen off the top of my head.

    7. Small Business – killed the one area that was having great growth. NSBS was a success, except for the part where Novell decided to screw the customer by having such a greedy pricing plan after the inital install.

    8. NOWS – try to get support for it. No one knows what part gets supported by what group at Novell.

    9. Marketing. They have a CMO, but what exactly does he do but blog about once every few months?

    10. Management tools. What do I use? iManager? ConsoleOne? NWAdmin is still needed, too. Why can’t their Product Managers agree on one management tool that a) works like it should, b) consistent across all products, c) easy to find and install plugins as necessary, d) not crash my PC, e) does not require a particular desktop operating system, f) can run on servers if necessary, and g) takes into consideration input from actual admins – not engineers?

    11. Company direction. I get Google Mail Alerts about Novell, and I see that they are buying this and coming out with that, but nothing that gives them a general direction other than “all things to all people”. The need to diversify is always understood, but there comes a point of diminishing returns. It’s as if they are throwing everything to the wall and see what sticks instead of forging ahead to be the best in a particular direction. Is it security? Directory Services? Systems Management? Data center servers? Groupware? Desktop operating system? Server operating system? Or is it simply a race to see who can own the most property, as if it were a game of Monopoly?

    Red Hat out-performs Novell consistently. They have a specific business model and direction – and they execute very well.

    Novell was castigated when Frankenberg was buying WordPerfect and trying to compete with MS on the desktop. Novell got out of that and started to excel at what a network does – Directory Services, desktop support, security, printing, identity management, and added Groupware into the mix.

    IMO, they are spreading themselves out too thin and the main products are suffering because of it.

  20. By:RiceLock

    I work in a 30,000 user shop which used to be a solid Novell customer running NetWare, eDir, IDM, iPrint, ZDM, GroupWise and a whole lot of various services that came with the above products.

    As you can imagine, a customer of this size has a dedicated onsite Novell engineer and a lot of attention from Novell.

    For over a year we tried to migrate services to OES2 on Linux but faced huge stability issues with code quality, feature parity and ease of migration.

    At the end of the day it became apparent to those above that projects involving Microsoft technologies finished on time and on budget more often than those involving Novell.

    As a result we are now moving to a Microsoft solution with some Linux and the absolute minimum of OES2 and then only as a temporary solution.

    From what I’ve personally seen, it seems that SuSE is excellent and stable – missing some of the features that existed in NetWare* when you compare but what is there works well. In some cases the missing features made it impossible to migrate to SuSE and a Windows platform was used – I think this is because Microsoft competed with NetWare for so long that most of the feature set was offered on Windows to help people migrate.

    *Yes, I’m comparing SuSE and NetWare because some of the migration paths take you to a SuSE componant rather than an OES2 service – e.g. FTP (which btw does NOT have feature parity in SP2 as was indicated in one of the initial posts)

    Products that Novell have built on SuSE e.g. OES2 are totally different. They are often missing features or have performance and stability issues and often larger customers must spend significant time, resource and money helping Novell get their bugs out. Eventually I would suggest that this will all be sorted out and the core product set maybe stable enough to actually use in large production environments however significant damage will be done to the Novell customer base and in my opinion Novell will never recover.

    With the EOL of NetWare next year my customer was forced to act and has since launched a multimillion dollar migration away from Novell to Microsoft and Microsoft-based technologies – As with so many of the authors above, the death of NetWare has triggered the death of Novell for this customer.

    • By:jaharmon

      I don’t see how the statement can be made about FTP not being feature compatible when OES 2 SP2 has not even been released for public beta. Significant effort has gone into OES 2 SP2 on porting functionality for FTP compatibility.

      • By:lisaldiaz

        How can Novell release ANY version of OES without having FTP compatibility?

        Isn’t this one of the most basic functions any server should perform?

        Or am I missing the point?


    OES2 on SLES 11 is unsupported.
    SLES11 installs in about 1 hour and runs pretty nice esp. when using XEN.
    XEN is an open source project, Citrix bought the company XENsource not XEN, i hear this misunderstanding very often.
    Think in GPL and try to think in Linux. To quote
    “Put the fun back to computing”.

    If you are so unhappy with Novell don’t do Windows, take a deep look into Linux. There are so many things you can do with it out of the box you never dreamt about or haven’t heard about for years – remember UNIX. Of course, you will be missing something like eDir.
    Will stop this discussion in a forum now. (will become TROLLING)

    • By:Jublian

      You obviously don’t get the entire gripe here. Most of us have no problem with Linux and run a lot of it, for critical business reasons. What we are griping about is the OES2 components and their tie-ins with Linux.

      What good is SLES 11 to a Netware shop? Nothing if OES2 doesn’t run on it. We REQUIRE file/print/eDir services otherwise there is no point in putting it in. SInce SLES/OES2 isn’t near as stable as Netware is, Novell is losing customers. We cannot sit around with unstable systems that Novell’s tech support cannot fix, with crashes affecting every day business, and wait for the latest and greatest (that rarely fixes the issue anyways). November release to get FTP compatibility? OES2 should have never shipped without it. Sometime next year for SLES 11 support? Give me a break, its your own product!

      And SLES 11 has a critical flaw; YAST2’s iSCSI controls are fubarr’d. How hard is it to test your own interface and verify you don’t get error messages in your own desktop?

      Novell seems to have forgotten how to program and is putting so much effort into the latest buzzwords like “Teaming” and such that their core services are slipping and not getting the attention they need. Guess what? Without those core services they won’t be selling their other products. Every shop that gets fed up with OES2 and Zen is another shop they have no hope of selling their other stuff to. When your market share is as abysmal as Novell’s has dropped too you can’t afford to drive away existing customers.

  22. By:lisaldiaz

    You asked for people’s experiences and they heve been submitted.

    You don’t like the answer, so you close the discussion.

    This is but ANOTHER reason Novell demonstrates that they are not listening to their customers.


    Sorry lisaldiaz, I am not from Novell and I did not ask for nothing. We are only a customer from Germany with a small network (150 User). I only gave you my own opinion and my own experience with OES/SLES.
    I understand a lot of what you said, and I agree in many parts.
    In fact, I don’t like to discuss this in an open forum.

  24. By:lisaldiaz

    Your post indicated that you wanted to close discussion as it relates to forum management.

    I apologize for the misunderstanding.

  25. By:RiceLock

    I’m talking about feature parity between NetWare FTP and the Novell solution offered as the migration path to Linux.

    It makes it difficult to migrate an FTP service to Linux when the Windows one behaves closer to NetWare: the time, effort and risk of changing scripts vastly outweighs the initial cost.

    • By:jaharmon

      Yeah, it still sounds like you are talking about OES 2 SP1 (currently shipping) and not OES 2 SP2 (not yet shipped). I am talking about OES 2 SP2 where this feature parity was done.

  26. By:lisaldiaz

    Now I get it. Thanks for the clarification.

    When Novell bought into Linux and the CEO was asked point blank if they were going to get rid of Netware in favor of Linux, the response was that customers bought into Novell for the services, not the underlying operating system.

    The FTP services was one of the most basic of all services that was “brought over”, at least in my opinion. Did Novell screw this up, too?

  27. By:jaharmon

    FTP was there an brought over, but there was the remote server connection feature that was not yet there. That is the FTP component of which we are discussing

    • By:lisaldiaz

      The remote server connection feature *sounds* like an easy implementation, especially given Linux’s history of being so “internet-friendly” over the years.

      Were you given a technical reason why it’s being delayed or why any version of OES was shipped without this?

  28. By:RiceLock

    Not so much about remote server connection (I don’t need this and have not tested it) but about:

    1. FQDN support i.e. login to FTP as .user.ou.ou.o from eDirectory rather than an LDAP login or contextless login.
    2. CaSe insensitivity – NetWare and Windows FTP are both CaSe insensitive, all my customers scripts are written for that.

    #1 is bad but not horrid for us, #2 is ugly.

    Btw – I would love to be wrong here, I don’t enjoy replacing Novell with Windows.

  29. By:lisaldiaz

    Care to comment on the legitimate complaints and issues brought up?

  30. By:Sgermanides

    First off, I’m glad to hear < < I don't enjoy replacing Novell with Windows.>>

    That means that you are willing to work with us to get this right.

    FTP has been an issue since Open Enterprise Server 2 was released. Customers have expected that as a reasonable requirement for an upgrade path from NetWare. I agree that customers are unhappy that we don’t have feature parity yet for FTP between NetWare and Open Enterprise Server on Linux. @lisaldiaz is right that this is a “legitimate issue.” OES2 SP2, releasing in the next few months, will have a fix for you.

    What I really want to comment on is that some customers have said things like “isn’t FTP the most basic thing about a server?!” I think it’s important for you all to think about what Open Enterprise Server has become. It’s not a just a server; it’s not just a “Linux replacement” for NetWare; it’s intended to be more, too. It’s now a collection of services that ratchet up the abilities of your file and print infrastructure in ways that match your company’s IT direction. In developing these services, we focused on innovating in areas that the market (i.e., customers and IT departments worldwide) told us were hot spots for them: proliferation of storage, simplifying management of mixed environments, and most importantly, costs associated with server sprawl. By focusing on meeting the emerging needs of our customers, in this case, we dropped the ball on one of the basics: FTP.

    The good news: It’s coming. You’ll get to try it out soon. We hope we meet your requirements. But please don’t lose sight of the forest for the trees. There are benefits with Open Enterprise Server that you never got with NetWare, and you can’t get with Windows. That’s the reason that 80% of our customers have told us that their experience with Open Enterprise Server on Linux is “satisfactory” or “very satisfactory” despite pockets of feature issues.

    Most importantly, thank you for spending time discussing these issues here. Joe Harmon, myself, and lots of other people here are reading your comments and discussing them.

    Sophia Germanides
    OES Product Marketing Manager

  31. By:lisaldiaz


    I’m just “Lisa”, not @lisaldiaz, just as you are “Sophia” and not @Sgermanides.

    Now that it seems Novell is listening –

    The migration from Netware to Linux has been extremely frustrating and disappointing. All I ever seem to hear from Novell is, “it’s coming!”. My customers need to have certain things working “right now”. Where we could salvage SUSE/OES, we’ve moved them back to Netware until it was ready. Where we couldn’t, they moved to Windows.

    The FTP issue is moot for us.

    When you say, “OES is a collection of services”, you hit the nail on the head, but appear to have no idea why or how.

    Netware wasn’t just a “collection of services” – it was ONE. Pretty much everything Novell made on Netware worked great and appeared to be just another process running on the OS. NSS, eDirectory, GroupWise, and ZENworks come immediately to mind.

    OES on the other hand is as you stated – “a collection of services” that do not fit well with SUSE. Can I get OES2 with SLES 11? In any case, it doesn’t flow with the OS, but almost fights it and the configuration and management of it is “off”.

    Installation – As I asked before, why can’t Novell provide a single DVD of the OS and OES and simply make the installation process that much easier? Make it install just like you did with Netware – select what you want DURING the OS install, and not as an after-thought. (“What products would you also like to install?”)

    Management – Why can’t the management of the OS be as easy as it was with Netware? Got a replacement for Monitor yet? Ever will? How about DSRepair? ndsrepair is NOT a good replacement, no matter who you ask. Even Jim Henderson doesn’t like it as much, and he’s a tried-and-true Linux geek. Some parts STILL require NWAdmin, and that’s not available natively on Linux, is it? ConsoleOne? iManager? The product lines don’t seem to talk to each other and have the SAME management interface for all of them, as it should be.

    ZENworks – ZCM 10? Novell should be able to do better than that!

    iFolder – hasn’t been worth much since v2.1 – all because Novell just *had* to rebuild it for Mono. Did Novell port Mono to Netware? Nope, but they did for Windows.

    iManager – has built-in ActiveX extensions, which means that there are certain things that can’t be done in the stand-alone version and *must* be done with Internet Explorer. Who made that decision? Are they still working at Novell?

    OWS – Novell has had SUSE for years and instead of trying to attract the small to medium businesses with a suitable replacement for NSBS (for example), Novell has given them the middle finger, and MS has cleaned up.

    OO – Licensing for MS Office vs OpenOffice aside (as you can install OpenOffice on Windows, so no real big savings there), there’s nothing really there to make anyone move off Windows. The licensing cost savings is easily off-set by the steep learning curve and finding the appropriate browser plugins and application replacements.

    Marketing – (you knew this would come up). Novell has a CMO who posts about once every two months, except for lately. What exactly does he do? What real marketing has Novell done? Where?

    Novell simply killed off Netware WAY too soon. You are STILL finding things that should have been ported over before cutting the cord, and it still doesn’t flow as it should.

    The appliance / studio thing is a great idea and from what I’ve read, executed well. Time will tell if Novell doesn’t mess this up, too, as they’ve done with other products.

    I could go on, but you get the picture.

    – Lisa

  32. By:VMikhelson


    Thank you for the great summary.

    You had covered almost all of it in your last post.

    Here are my 2 cents.

    Novell took the wrong path in regards to NetWare. Is it accidental or not the history will show.

    NetWare was and is the only fundamental Novell product. NDS (aka eDir, AD), ZEN, etc. grew on top of it.

    There is no competition to NetWare in the current PC-based file server OS market. Linux is not a replacement with its limited file systems. Maybe in the future. We will see. Windows? Sorry. Mac? I do not think so.

    Novell’s effort to migrate its features to a foreign kernel is something worth admiration from a theoretical standpoint. Practically speaking the road is as bumpy as it should have been expected to be. Will it lead anywhere? It is a good question I do not know the answer for.

    Novell’s atttempts to distantiate itself from NetWare, e.g. “NetWare Connections” becoming “Novell Connections,” lead to people distantiating themselves from Novell and NetWare…

    Somebody mentioned that Novell does not know how to program any more. This is unfortunately very true. The reason is simple. Not the same people. The true Novell programmers were laid off 6-7 years ago. Novell India it is these days.

    The bottom line.

    The company changes its direction, its image, replaces the engineering, moves headqurters to a completely new place, hires a CEO with a completely different vision. It leaves the name though.

    Is this company going to care of the great product its predecessor had created? Does it have resources to do that? It looks like the answer is, “No!”

    Only miracle can help NetWare at this point. And I have not seen miracles lately….


  33. By:Rachelsdad

    Upon receiving a marketing email from Ron Hovsepian (okay, so he didn’t send it to me personally, but neither does Bill G or Steve B with their nonsense), I stopped on over at and posted my “enhancement request” to continue NetWare development and retract the EOL for the platform.

    Consider NetWare with a fully 64-bit kernel running on new hardware five or eight years from now. Now that’s a platform I could sell to my IT clients.

    Much of what has been said here is what I hear in the field all day long. Linux is great, and so many of us use it (I’m an OS/2 guy, however). That said, it is not all things to all people. Like so many other OSes (yes, even those from Redmond), it has its uses. NetWare is still the most stable NOS for managing the network (file, print, directory services), and to cut it off at the knees when so many people still want to use it is simply silly. If Novell doesn’t want to maintain it any longer, then they should consider selling it to a company who does – or spinning off a new company entirely (look at what happened with Btrieve, now Pervasive).

    Anyway, I suggest that all admins, consultants, and customers who are committed to NetWare visit the above site and try to get through en masse. There is still hope (I hope) to curtail this folly.

  34. By:mmccaffe

    My concern is that Novell dropped its engineers and now has huge development cycles for mediocre software.
    Old Novell had solutions that administrators could really use. And today you see solutions that seem shabby and under engineered.
    Novell was full of top engineers, cream of the crop. Not today, and good luck ever being able to recover the abilities of old Novell.
    I use Suse Linux and other flavors of Linux and am happy using Linux for some of the services we need. OES has seemed like such a patch job, showing the engineering weakness of Novell. I really hope OES2 SP2 does not disappoint, because Netware has proven itself as bulletproof and requires very little Administrator time/resources.

    I really hate to be negative but Novell management has been asleep at the wheel and possibly forgot how important all those engineers where, and that they currently are a lot weaker than they used to be, and have very long development cycles with poor results.

    Current user of: OES(Netware), iChain, Access Manager, Portal, NSS, iFolder, Groupwise, iPrint, Virtual Office, IDM, BorderManager.

  35. By:Techlord

    Okay, I’m a hardcore Linux user, and have been for 10 years. I have used may different Linux distros, so I am comfortable with Linux, be it RPM based or Deb based. I know how a stable Linux server should act, and how services should run. I also have used Netware for MANY years now, and have always been impressed with its stability. Now here’s the ugly part. As Jublian stated, I too, have put my blood and sweat into trying to get OES1 and OES2 Linux to work for me, and move away from netware. I would spend hours at a time, getting things working the way I want, only to find that some netware services for OES2 would not work properly for me or fail. Even being versied in RPM and DEB packaging systems for upgrades did not help…upgrades ARE VERY convoluted in SLES OES2 with netware services. I can fairly say this, after working with Debian and Ubuntu…its not the SLES upgrading that suck, its the netware services for SLED upgrade system that is poorly integrated. I really think that an RPM based distro was also a VERY poor solution, as it can leave the customer in dependency hell. Couple this with Netware services for OES2 that are convoluted and poorly integrated and you have a nightmare on your hands.

    Yes, I have OES2 working, but the system breaks with any upgrade, and many of the services break, or don’t work out of the box without tinkering..and sometimes, weird things just happen for no real apparent reason. As a solid sysadmin, I don’t mind digging through logs, but the way I see it, if a system works like it should, I shouldn’t have to. My experiences have been Exactly THE SAME AS Jublian’s, and that hasn’t change in 3 years, the product is NOT getting better… My answer to this has been to virtuluze netware on Ubuntu, so I can have the stable Linux services I need, have a clear and easy to upgrade Linux server, but also have those great stable netware services I have come to love. I wish netware OES was still being developed, I would happily continue to run it on Ubuntu, if I knew it wasn’t going EOL. As well, as many others have stated, I have been “Encouraged” to look into AD on Server 2008, as I fear being left in the dark after 2010, as SLES with OES2 netware services, just is NOT ready. And once I have to put AD in my environment, and go to that work, I will likely never look back. And frankly, I’m gong to virtualize Server 2008 on Ubuntu, as this is the kind of stability I need.

    I wish they would rethink the good old netware kernal, and rethink Netware OES 2, but I don;t want to hold on to a pipe dream, and get stagnent, I need to move forward and get on board, if I am to have a job in the future. A part of that is embrassing the reality that AD is not going away, but instead getting stronger…It sadens me, netware was a great product.

  36. By:BernKene

    I’ve been trying to build a test tree with 2 OES2 (SLES 10) servers and with auto updating enabled. When I tried to update all the patches it messed up the Kernel and it then couldn’t find its NIC’s or its DVD drive nor any USB device I tried to attach. I had a wonderful guy from support spend 2 days bodge it so it booted… Now I thought this might be a one off so decided to update my other server from SLES 10 SP2 and OES2 SP1 to SLES 10 SP3 OES2 SP2 and guess what……. yep same thing happened so now it can’t contact the update server (doesn’t know what a NIC’s is!!!) and I’ll have to build it again….. great its only the 5 time I’ve done this so I’m getting good at it!!! Sorry I’m a NetWare man and just can’t get used to this SLES OS…. and if its me why do I get a mail once a day to tell me about the latest patches?? I’m struggling at the moment to be able to convince my board that staying with Novell is the correct thing to do or go over to the dark side!!! yes Microsoft…. I’m convinced that SLES is fine just the OES2 patches are messing my servers up..Wake up Novell or your have more desperate IT Managers that have to give in to the dark side!!!

  37. By:wonderboy

    I am still a Netware CNE and have been selling and supporting Novell in the SME space (mainly up to 150 users) for 15 years, but this year it looks as though this will come to an end, sadly.

    There are a few reasons for this, not all Novell’s fault, but it comes down to a few key facts:-

    a) OES2 not as stable as Netware, in our testing it simply did not work *well enough*. It would lead to more support time being used.
    b) The cost for keeping Novell alive along with Windows servers (almost all my customers run at least one Windows server for applications etc) is too great for *no real advantage*.
    c) Citrix ending support for authentication via NDS. We have a lot of Citrix or Terminal Servers, this doesn’t look like it will change anytime soon. We tested the Windows Domain services on OES2 and it was simply a nightmare.
    d) MS Exchange 2010 – after many versions I have one that I am ‘almost’ comfortable installing and supporting. It’s not as reliable as GroupWise under NetWare (we have still seen have problems if one server starts misbehaving despite having the great-in-theory “Database availbility Groups” set-up.) but it’s ‘Good enough’, unlike OES2.

    and one that as a reseller is certainly important

    e) I cannot seem to hire Engineers that know *anything* about Novell, other than basic linux/apache admin so I have to spend a year trining them on GroupWise, NetWare, ZEN. I can throw a stone and hit an MS Engineer. (Quality aside)

    I look forward to hearing about their new products, and I am a big fan of OpenSuse, but regarding getting “New Business” from Novell Products, it simply is not happening, not in the SME space. Other than people wanting a bit of consultancy for old GroupWIse and NetWare I have not had a single NEW enquiry for a Novell product in AT LEAST 4 YEARS. I cannot sell something I have no confidence in, like OES2 – is this why Novell’s marketing also does not make the effort?

  38. By:CitrixDude

    Selling this migration as an ‘upgrade’ went over like a lead balloon where I work.

  39. By:Rachelsdad

    …if Novell did a complete about-face and released a new NetWare version with a 64-bit kernel to follow shortly after. A solid, stable OS, lean on resources (and not a workstation OS made to look like a server, and still sharing CPU time with a desktop interface), and capable of running all of the already-entrenched NetWare apps in the field would be a major selling item for my IT consultancy.

    eDirectory is great, but without Novell (read: NetWare, not OES Linux or eDir on Windows), it’s “just another directory service.” Linux shops don’t care about directory services (in my experience), and Windows shops already have AD, so who needs eDir?

    Typical uptime on my NetWare boxes in the field is 6 months to a year, typically coming offline only for patches (few and far between, now) and hardware maintenance. Linux doesn’t compare, and Windows is a complete joke (2-3 months before memory leakage gobbles up all available RAM).

    NSS is a killer filesystem, and so many clients are completely unaware of the fact that “salvage” is a Novell thing, and just not part of Windows. I can’t tell you how many times I hear, “you mean if I save it to C:, I can’t salvage it?” I’ve never had salvage work flawlessly under OES Linux the way it does under NetWare.

    It is indeed sad that appears to be such a revelation to Novell.

  40. By:VMikhelson


    Great comments indeed.

    From what I experience when I contact Novell support and from what I hear from friends who used to work for Novell as software developers Novell is not what it used to be in terms of being a Software Development Powerhouse. They lost their key developers about 10 years ago and moved their development and support mostly to India. In my personal opinion Eric Schmidt’s departure was the beginning of an end especially with the current CEO’s sympathies to Microsoft, especially in the beginning of his carrier at Novell.

    It definitely would be nice if Novell came to their senses and revived NetWare while it is still adequate. The question is, “Can they? Do they have necessary resources?”

    NetWare is unique with no replacement as of this moment. Linux is good but for other purposes. Its kernel is optimized for what it is designed for. Things like a File System integrated with Directory Services, Applications integrated with Directory Services, Security pinned on the Directory Services are all foreign to Linux. Novell’s effort to port its core OS design to a Linux platform was remarkable but futile.

    It is so sad….


  41. By:MikaA

    Oh wake up, guys.

    There’s no amount of sugar you can coat NetWare with to make it sell anywhere except in few sysadmins’ coffee table.

    It doesn’t matter how good it is/would be or how secure it is or how technically unique it is. There are no NW admins, NW is not taught anywhere but every single school is pushing out Windows admins/whatever all the time and MS salespeople are having coffee with managers every day.

    Microsoft makes it very easy for schools to run and implement MS-based solutions. Their products are “hip” and “cool” and “a standard” so it would take a very knowledgeable manager to go against that and those managers are few and far between. And from those schools are and have the MS admins been produced. All they see or hear is Microsoft.

    At our school Novell solutions weren’t even discussed when a switch to MS was decided last fall. In fact, Novell people weren’t even welcomed here to tell about Novell’s solutions and future. So it doesn’t really matter what we at sysadmin level think about things.

    And yes, I loved and love NW as much as everyone here.

  42. By:wonderboy

    Wow, 2 years on and nothing much has changed I see. Except possibly that OES11 (love that jump – v2 to v11) has just been released.

    I’d be interested to hear from anyone who has installed this as to how well it does the job of replacing NetWare? It’s too late for me and now all of my clients, I migrated the last remaining one to Windows and Exchange late last year, but I’d love to hear that it now works…

    • By:Jublian

      Unfortunately it is too late for almost all of what used to be their market; time has passed by and too little was done too late to try to fix the issues.

      Microsoft has got even more aggressive with their licensing for schools, dropping their prices dramatically. Combined with products that are getting progressively stronger and more reliable, OES2 is no longer a contender in what was once Novell’s strongest market; education.

      They could have held on to parts of that market or even expanded if they had altered their original statement to: “Netware EOL is on X day, full support will continue if deployed on YY hypervisor(s)”. Full support virtualized, so that they didn’t have to keep constantly keeping up with hardware drivers plus patching the system so it worked well under most major hypervisors could have made a huge difference in Novell’s fate.

      Too late now, Novell is essentially gone and its former customers/supporters are happily running other systems. Shame, but that is what happens if you don’t adapt to the times.

      My last post,


  43. By:Sgermanides

    I have no idea what sparked the current comments on this thread, which is a couple of years old. I can’t help but weigh in here.

    First of all, Novell is a software company, of which one offering was NetWare. Today, we are far more balanced in our revenue streams, with growing businesses in file management, collaboration (Vibe)and endpoint management (ZENworks). Many customers who are not “Novell shops” are implementing these tools because they work great and deliver results.

    The fact is, Novell is a credible alternative to Microsoft. We know that everyone has AD. There is no such thing as a “Novell shop” anymore. Just like you find fewer and fewer “Microsoft shops” as customers have a lot more choice in vendors and delivery models. I think that fewer organizations are willing to swallow a vendor’s entire product line without thinking. And when faced with the growing chaos of managing user endpoints and file storage, you can bet that Novell’s products will deliver what customers need. I see it every day.

  44. By:Rachelsdad

    To MikeA:

    It doesn’t matter how good it is/would be or how secure it is or how technically unique it is. There are no NW admins, NW is not taught anywhere but every single school is pushing out Windows admins/whatever all the time and MS salespeople are having coffee with managers every day.

    I’m a NetWare admin. Actually, I’m a NetWare engineer. If NetWare were being developed and deployed, there would be a need to train new NW admins.

    To wonderboy:

    I’d be interested to hear from anyone who has installed this as to how well it does the job of replacing NetWare?

    I did an install a couple of years ago for my last client running NW 5 (!) to OES Linux x64. It was excruciating (and you may read a couple of my experiences with this install on my personal blog, here and here). I’m sure as with most things, it’s gotten somewhat easier. I recently did a server-to-server migration of one of my own servers (NW 6.5 SP8 – NW 6.5 SP8), which went like clockwork.

    As for “replacing” NetWare, I suppose if one were running the base functionality of NetWare (file & print, and as Sophia has pointed out earlier in these comments, FTP), there really isn’t much difference (except that I still find that NetWare is considerably more responsive for LAN file I/O – on NSS, at least – , given the same hardware and memory). It’s the maintenance and upgrade which is the biggest thing for shops like this, I suppose. Also, if one is running Apache, MySQL, and PHP, it’s likely an easier task to keep these updated on Linux (though Guenther does an excellent job of keeping up with recent releases and building for the NetWare kernel).

    Jublian makes an excellent point, in that the majority of those who were going to move on probably already have.

    Finally, to more pointedly respond to your most recent points, Sophia:

    First of all, Novell is a software company, of which one offering was NetWare.

    At one time, NetWare was the offering.

    This blog post specifically deals with the concept of transitioning off of NetWare to OES Linux.

    Today, we are far more balanced in our revenue streams, with growing businesses in file management, collaboration (Vibe)and endpoint management (ZENworks).

    My clients are concerned about running their day-to-day applications in a stable, managed environment. I have to battle the concept that “the Cloud” is the be-all and end-all of places to host applications and data, and try to get across the concept of what happens when the broadband goes down, as well as the latency introduced when running applications in a “hosted” (I absolutely hate the term “Cloud”) environment. My clients could care less about Vibe or ZENworks. Small shops running a dozen or so apps with the need to store data securely in a filesystem which is stable and a network which is responsive is priority 1. Again, the original blog post had to do with why we should transition from NetWare to Linux. I suppose the argument could be made that it would be “difficult” to develop these “newer” technologies for NetWare, but that is a rather shallow excuse. Given talent and resources, many things are possible (like iFolder 3 on NetWare, which surely could have been accomplished, but was specifically not done, as an enticement to get people to migrate off of NetWare).

    The fact is, Novell is a credible alternative to MicroSuck. We know that everyone has AD.

    Not everyone has AD. Not everyone wants AD. Not everyone needs AD. Ask any pure Linux or Unix shop what directory service is in use, and you’ll likely get a blank stare.

    Novell is not a credible alternative to anything unless it provides a solution which has a unique advantage (read: value). The mindset of (too) many admins is that a homogeneous computing environment is better than running multiple platforms. I do not subscribe to this, but it has been pushed into my face on more than one occasion, and as the vast majority of desktops in the world are running MS OSes, this points in one direction. There was a time when Novell marketed NetWare as “a unifying platform” with the idea of OneNet, where all clients could get equal treatment for file services, print, and management. While NetWare is surely a different environment than Windows, it was/is easier to maintain and very stable. It has been like sanding off the corners of a square peg to get formerly NetWare-specific services to fit in a round Linux hole, and while things have arguably gotten somewhat better, we’re still running NetWare “stuff” on Linux.

    There is no such thing as a “Novell shop” anymore.

    My remaining Novell clients are indeed Novell shops. While it is customary to run a Novell backbone and deploy a specialized Windows server to host one or two apps (an application server), NetWare – and OES Linux – do not work well the other way around. If there is a need to run a Linux-hosted app, it is hardly necessary to spring for the licensing cost of OES vs a free Linux distro to host the app.

    Just like you find fewer and fewer “MicroSuck shops” as customers have a lot more choice in vendors and delivery models.

    Huh?????? They’re all MS shops. The only apps they run which aren’t hosted on local Win servers are apps hosted remotely. Firewalls also typically run on Linux (thank goodness), but users hardly notice their interaction with the firewall and spam filter (or email server, for that matter), i.e., if the data keeps flowing, nobody really cares what’s behind it.

    More choice in vendors? Where? Red Hat, SuSE, [insert favorite other Linux distro here], and… MS, which of course, eclipses all the rest, partly due to Novell’s “retreat” into the Linux jungle instead of forging ahead with NetWare and competing head-to-head, feature-for-feature – not in the application server space, as NetWare was never an app server – but in the file/print/database space, where it has always excelled. At one client, at one time, I ran four different database engines on one NetWare server for 30+ users. Each database was tuned well for the app running in front of it, and the server rarely broke a sweat. Running four different engines on a Linux platform is insane, simply due to the architecture of the OS.

    I think that fewer organizations are willing to swallow a vendor’s entire product line without thinking.

    What??? That’s exactly what they do!!! For SMB, it’s Redmond – or “the Cloud” + Redmond – right on down the line.

    And when faced with the growing chaos of managing user endpoints and file storage, you can bet that Novell’s products will deliver what customers need. I see it every day.

    Well, as an IT consultant and NetWare admin since NetWare 2.0a, I can tell you that I surely do not see this every day (and yet there was a time when I did). And, if we’re going to get back to “managing user endpoints and file storage,” then why on Earth did we leave NetWare in the first place? That is the whole point of this discussion, because the greatest number of us posting here have yet to see a use case where it actually made sense – for anyone except Novell – to transition a client from NetWare to Linux, and in fact, the whole “migrate at gunpoint” thing has actually scared more users away from Novell solutions than retained them. That’s what I see every day.

    Cheers, and thanks – everyone – for posting.