Need to copy production netware 4.11 NDS to lab

Posted on 2004-07-30
Last Modified: 2012-06-27
I'm trying to copy an NDS tree that's in production, into a lab. I need to work with real data so that any problems can be ironed out before we start doing the work in the production environment.

I'm very familiar with how to do this with Active Directory but not so sure how to do this with NDS. Can I bring up a server in production with a different name, attach it to the tree, get the data to replicate and then take it out of the production network and into the lab to work on?

I'm looking for a full answer and any reference links that will help me out in this task.

Question by:ruthmorton
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LVL 34

Expert Comment

ID: 11679134
"Can I bring up a server in production with a different name, attach it to the tree, get the data to replicate and then take it out of the production network and into the lab to work on? "

No. NDS is an actual Directory Service, with an actual 3-D database. AD is just NT v4 Domains with extensibility and transitive-trust, but its still a 2-D namespace, just a 3-D view superimposed. Forget what you know about AD - in NDS, you can add/remove replicas pretty much as will (in AD, you have to rebuild the server to make it a DC/not a DC), you can repair the database on-the-fly (none of this silly rebooting into a special directory-repair mode, with a separate per-machine password), you have time synchronization (try logging into an AD environment as an admin, changing the workstation time, and then cranking up MMC) based on IETF standards (NTP), your replication of objects is based on deltas rather than replicating the ENTIRE object (i.e. less bandwidth consumed, and no danger of overwriting changes made on another DC), your environment is discovered using IETF-standard protocols (SLP), and you don't have to rely on draft/experimental RFCs (such as DNS RR). Nor are you straighjacketed using DNS to define your directory structure. Calling AD a "Directory Service" should be false advertising - its the same old tired, outdated Domains. Even MMC is nothing but a shell that calls different programs rather than an integrated tool like ConsoleOne or iManager.

Anyway, there is a way to do what you want to do. Several ways, in fact - Novell gives you choices instead of locking you into one way, one platform. However, I'd like to know more about your environment before I recommend specific actions. How large is your existing NDS tree? Is it a single partition (i.e. just [Root]) or has it been partitioned a little, or extensively? Just one NetWare server, or multiple ones? If multiple, how many host replicas? Is the lab machine substantively similar to the production one?

Author Comment

ID: 11679697
Hi PsiCop,

I am doing the preliminary research for a project of which this is one small part. At this point I don't know much about this particular NDS tree. However, from the information I've gathered, I understand that it is a single server and probably hasn't been extensively partitioned or configured. There are only about 200 users on this network, using the Netware server. I'll be going on-site in mid-August and will be able to get more detailed information at that time. For now, I'm looking for information to educate myself and get up to speed on the possibilities and what to look for when I'm there.


P.S. Not to be rude, but is there any chance you could answer my questions without the AD/Microsoft bashing? I'm not making decisions about which one to use or not to use.
LVL 34

Accepted Solution

PsiCop earned 500 total points
ID: 11680016
"is there any chance you could answer my questions without the AD/Microsoft bashing?"

Sorry, but I don't see it as bashing. You mentioned experience with AD, I was trying to communicate what's different between NDS/eDir and AD, before I knew how much you were up on Novell's products. Often, M$ geeks will pooh-pooh the differences, so I often find it necessary to make the differences clear.

If its a single-server environment, then its not partitioned at all, and the single server is going to hold the Master replica of the [Root] partition, and that's the only partition. If such is the case, then you've got several options on how to proceed. All these options *assume* that the lab environment is totally separate (i.e. no network communication) from the production environment, and that the lab machine is substantively similar to the production machine. One advantage is that this is fairly hardware-independent.

1) Quick, dirty and brutal

Install the new server into the existing tree. Put an R/W replica of the [Root] partition on it. Allow to sync (use DSTRACE to determine when replica is stable). Shut down lab server. Use procedures in Novell TID #10010922 ( to remove lab server from production tree and return production tree to single-server state with Master of [Root] on production server (just like it was before you started). Bring lab server up in lab environment, use same TID to remove production server from lab environment's tree and promote Read/Write replica to Master. Best attempted when you have several clean backups of the production environment. Do not attempt unless both servers are fully patched and are running identical versions of NDS (I want to say v6.22, but I'm not sure, its been too long).

2) Quick, dirty, not quite as brutal, more hardware-dependent than #1

Install second disk subsystem in production server and mirror the environment (remember that NetWare mirrors partitions, not Volumes, and you'll need to manually copy the DOS partition). Then shutdown, remove the second disk subsystem, restart and kill the mirroring. Take mirrored subsystem and install in lab server. Bring up and kill mirroring.

3) Nicer but tedious and more hardware-dependent than #1

Prepare for server migration using DSMAINT on production server (see Novell TID #10027322 at Copy NDS database to removable media, then reverse DSMAINT procedure on production server, unlocking and restoring its NDS database. Take media containing NDS database to lab machine which already has NetWare v4.11 installed and follow the restoration procedure from that TID. See also Novell TID #10052928 ( and #2946962 (

4) Kindler, gentler

Perform full backup of production NetWare server using SMS-compliant, NDS-aware backup tool (I think BE will suffice). Restore that backup onto the lab machine. Assumes the lab machine is fairly close to production one. See Novell TID #10022911 (
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Author Comment

ID: 11680537
This is excellent information.

What about licensing? If they only have one server, they'll only have one license disk. Can I use the same disk on the lab server? Do I need to use a license disk to get the lab server working?
LVL 34

Expert Comment

ID: 11680663
Mind you, its been YEARS since I touched NetWare v4.11. You need the licensing disk for crypto keys (NICI), not really to license the server, since you have a license object (RECMAN-based, as I recall) already in the tree. The licensing disk is not needed in the lab environment as long as you don't mind the 2-user limit (at one point, if you collected v4.11 sample CDs, you could install the trial license from each one and get 2 X N (where N was the number of unique CDs you had) licenses.

As long as there is no network communication between the production and lab environments, you should have absolutely no problem using the license diskette in the lab environment. Actually, it isn't so much licensing you worry about with network communication, its have two trees with identical names on the same network.

Expert Comment

ID: 11681252
It's very likely there is no NICI on a 4.11 server and he won't need a license disk at all. I think NICI came in as a requirement with NetWare 5, although it was a choice with the later services packs for 4.11/4.2.

You can bring up a 4.11 server without installing a license. You get three grace user licenses for administrative purposes. Novell even recommended this, at least unofficially, at one time as a way to keep NDS backed up on single-server LANs.
LVL 34

Expert Comment

ID: 11681265
Yeah, you're right about NICI. NetWare v5 and later. Its been so long since I touched v4.x things get muddled.

You can bring up ANY NetWare (v4.x and later) server without installing a license. That's a good tip on how to provide NDS redundancy in a single-server environment.

Author Comment

ID: 11796833
Thanks PsiCop. We were able to successfully get a copy of the NDS tree into the lab this week using Method #1.


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