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Does this documnet have merit Netware OES vs. Windows 2003 ?

Posted on 2004-09-16
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Items to consider in determining what server upgrade strategy to use at the Oak Lawn Public Library Facility
09/15/2004


Don Hocutt - Network Manager

Since 1994 I have been a Novell Netware Certified Engineer. I have worked with the 3.x, 4.x and 5.x versions of Novell Netware. In most all cases the Netware server functioned as a file server. That is a storage location for data files. The exception was some Netware 4.x servers that hosted an application called Paradigm, which ran on top of Pervasive SQL 7. Paradigm included DOS accounting modules which would run only on Netware servers at the time. In this unique situation Windows NT was NOT an option. In this case the decision to use Netware was application driven.

I am also currently a Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator. I am certified to administer Windows 2000 servers. I have worked with Windows NT servers, Windows 2000 Servers and recently have received MCSE training on the Windows 2003 server products.

When comparing Novell and Microsoft please realize there are two aspects of each vendor’s product to be aware of: The server operating system (OS) and the directory service. Currently Novell offers Netware 6.5 as its server operating system and e-directory as its directory service. Microsoft offers Windows 2003 as its server operating system and Active Directory as its directory service. You can think of the directory service as the software that has control over users, printers, groups, organizational units and all the resources in the Novell tree or Microsoft domain. Often either the server OS or the Directory Service is really the topic when referring to Microsoft or Novell. Also there can be different flavors such as standard and enterprise editions of the product.

During the last few years I have observed the steady decline of market share devoted to Novell Netware products. My involvement with Novell Netware has been diminished.
A large percentage of the customer base has switched to Microsoft NT, Microsoft 2000 and most recently to Microsoft Windows 2003 server systems.  In 1995 Netware’s market share was about 53% versus Microsoft’s 7%. In 2001 Netware had dropped to 12% and
Microsoft had rose above 50%. At one time Novell Netware enjoyed an 80% market share.

The lost of market share by Novell has little to do with the technical aspects of its operating systems which are superior in some specific environments. However, superior marketing and easy integration with the dominant workstation platforms such as Windows 98, Windows 2000, and Windows XP has given Microsoft Windows servers a big advantage in small, medium and even very large sized businesses. Many consulting companies have been hired to recommend corporate wide networking strategies and have selected Microsoft Windows servers and Microsoft Active Directory to host file storage and business applications. They ask the question - Why buy two operating systems? Netware server and Microsoft workstations some times are at odds and don’t work well together, although most of the technical issues have been resolved. This often requires the staff to be trained in two distinctly different systems which offer no real advantages to the corporate mission. Programmers that develop applications find it more economical to develop for only one operating system. Often a company buys or converts to one homogeneous server/client system, and thus Microsoft has gained huge popularity. Never the less, some businesses and municipalities did convert to Novell Netware because of frustration with Windows NT which used a flat directory service design. Setting up multiple domains in large organizations with Windows NT was ridiculously complex. The new Windows 2000/2003 Active Directory has come a long way in closing the advantage Novell had in large systems. The Oak Lawn Library has little, if zero need for multiple trees or domains so the question of who supports very large environments better is somewhat moot.

I want to point out that the current Novell Netware upgrade is 6.5. This will be the last operating system customers can purchase under that brand name. However, by late December, 2004 Novell 7.0, called Open Enterprise Server (OES) an entirely new operating system based on the Netware or Linux kernel will be released. Netware will not be sold in 2005. This will be a radical departure from the Netware that has been an industry staple for 20 plus years. Novell’s strategy is to compete with Microsoft at the server level as well as the workstation level by supporting both Microsoft and Linux based workstations. Novell’s latest move to embrace Linux will hopefully in Novell’s view help increase the chances that customers will transition toward the company’s Linux products rather than jump ship to Microsoft. Linux is growing in popularity. The question is will Novell succeed in its new strategy? Industry experts will say that is an open question. Using judgments and comparisons done with previous versions of Novell and Microsoft operating systems does not necessarily prepare one for predicting which operating system will be the right choice for the future.

Let’s look at what services the Oak Lawn Public Library needs from its servers and directory services.


OLPL Current Configuration

Our legacy servers are two Novell Netware 5.1 mini tower servers. They provide most of the file storage for our staff. They also provide the directory service called NDS. OLPL users login and are authenticated as valid users by the Novell Netware tree. The servers do little else than provide authentication, file security and file storage. They do NOT host any applications at this time. The second Novell Netware server prior to my arrival had been relegated to providing only a few print queues that aren’t being used any longer. I had it down for a week and no one noticed.

The hosting of the three vital library applications are left to two Microsoft Windows 2000 rack mounted servers. The IMAIL (e-mail) server and the WEB server are hosted by a Microsoft Windows 2000 server and the SAM server is also hosted by a Microsoft Windows 2000 server. These servers are considered stand-alone for they are not members of a Windows domain.

The prior network manager tried to upgrade the Novell Netware server hardware by purchasing two new DELL rack mounted servers. However, the Dell servers were designed to operate only with Novell Netware 6.5 and later software or Windows 2000/2003. So here we’re faced with two issues. Novell Netware 5.1 is going to be obsolete in the future and we have two new DELL servers we can’t load Netware 5.1 on anyway. As a practical matter the two Dell servers in question are currently running Windows 2003 server software in a test status. We are running a Microsoft Active Directory (oaklawnlib.local) domain and have verified the two newer DELL servers are in excellent operating condition. One Dell server is a RAID 5 configuration and the other Dell server is a RAID 1 configuration.

In my estimation we are basically a Microsoft Windows shop with one Novell Netware File server. One might ask the question:  Do we convert to a Novell/Linux open source environment or do we upgrade to Windows 2003?

New Microsoft licensing requirements have angered many Microsoft customers and encouraged them to look for alternatives. However, as an academic institution, the up grade is very reasonable. A study by The Yankee Group shows the cost of migrating from Windows to Linux is three to four times as much as upgrading from one Windows version to another.



What is the next step?
 
Do we purchase the most recent Novell OES server software and user license or do we purchase the most recent Microsoft Windows server software and user license?

Of course, Unix is an available option but at this time it is not being considered for a number of reasons.


Of course one might say “figure out the technical merits of each and pick the best one”.
That is easier said than done. Go to any technical web site and ask that question and it makes the recent political conventions look tame in comparison. Both systems work and work well. However, it comes down to cost, corporate culture, training, and what legacy systems and applications are currently being used to determine what system is selected.
 

Let’s examine these factors at the Oak Lawn Public Library


Network Operating System Performance and Stability:

Yes we are using Netware for file storage. But that can be done just as easily and efficiently with Windows. Why? Because we do NOT put high performance, heavy stress loads on our file storage system. So no matter what technical performance measurements one vendor might argue for their system the point is moot in our environment. Besides the heavier loads incurred at the library are already running on Microsoft based servers. It is my judgment that both Novell and Microsoft can well support the file server functionality required at the library.


Stability and Reliability:

Novell Netware has a great reputation for never having to fiddle with its servers. They are always up and continue to run. This was a disadvantage for Microsoft in the Windows NT days. However with Windows 2000 and Windows 2003 that issue is not a concern.
Our most vital servers are already running Windows with reliable results.

Both Novell and Microsoft directory services have redundant server capability in the operating system and directory services design. If one server fails the other server is available to authenticate users and provide services. This is done thru replication where objects are copied to the other servers automatically.


Security:

Security has been in the news and Microsoft has been hit hard. One might argue that Novell is more secure by far. However, our most vulnerable servers, the ones the public have access to (in a limited fashion) are already running on Microsoft servers. If our routers and firewalls are configured properly, anti-virus, anti-spy ware is installed and Microsoft upgrades are applied this issue is mitigated greatly.

User Login Interface:

Currently each work station has a Novell Client loaded on the Microsoft based workstation to allow the user to find and authenticate to the Novell tree. In a Microsoft domain this client is a native Microsoft client and presumably would offer a more reliable connection. The user would log in to a Microsoft domain much the same way they log in to a Novell tree. The user login interface change is extremely minimal.
 

Directory Service:

The Novell Netware 6.5 or Novell OES uses, like Microsoft 2003, an X.500 LDAP based directory service. Novell Netware engineers would argue that Netware has the superior directory service and Microsoft Windows engineers would argue the new Windows Active Directory has leaped beyond Netware. Early on when Microsoft was making inroads to the dominance of Netware, Windows NT the new guy on the block had some neat features that Netware did not have. It also lacked several important features that a more mature Netware had incorporated into its design. In its next release Netware added improved features similar to Microsoft and Microsoft in its next release added improved features similar to Netware. A never ending battle of one-up-man ship, however, for what the library needs in its environment the question is of little importance, both directories easily provide what is required now and in the foreseeable future.

Scalability:

One of the touted advantages with Netware 6.5 and above it its e-directory. When used in a very large infrastructure it promises to be superior to Windows Active Directory. Even if that is in fact the case we do not have a large infrastructure environment.

Advantages of open source:

Novell OES has moved decisively in this direction. It helps the system be more flexible and works easier with other systems. Novell is counting on the open source, Linux strategy for its very survival. Recently I went to a major book store in Orland Park, Illinois to purchase a Novell Netware book. While there seemingly was every computer book under the sun there, no Novell Netware books were on the shelf. I believe Linux and open source are emerging as the major challengers to Microsoft dominance.


Microsoft Software for the most part runs only on Microsoft systems.


Support and Training of Staff:

Here Windows has a huge advantage. Technical support staff must know a great deal about Windows systems. There is a much easier learning curve to gain knowledge about the latest Microsoft Windows servers and directory services. On the other hand, the local community college does not offer any current Novell Netware training. The only training available for Novell is via expensive private firms or a few junior colleges at great distance. A few Linux classes are being offered and are growing in popularity.

Training for OES might be delayed until spring of 2005. If OES is selected I will most definitely need OES training on the newer Novell directory services. In contrast, Moraine Valley Community College currently offers an extensive Microsoft Windows 2003 training series that last for 22 weeks at approximately $4,000 per student. I have only 6 weeks to go in that series which has already been paid for. My two colleagues, Joe Voves and Jill DeRobertis have both mention they would select Microsoft if given a vote since they have much more experience with the Windows environment.

The upgrade:

If we moved to a Windows Active Directory each staff work station would be reconfigured to use the Microsoft client instead of the Novell client. The change would be mostly in appearance to the user. Since a plan is in the works to change all workstations to DHCP (automatic) IP addressing this change could be done at the same time.

Included with any upgrade would be comprehensive review of user logins, groups, folders, files, and rights and permissions to those files. Right now file security is not exactly where we would want it. That work is still on-going.

The cross over to Active Directory can be achieved without any significant library trauma. The upgrade to Netware OES might be more problematic in that we don’t quite know the steps we would have to take at this time. Please rest assured we would do our up most to make it painless as possible in either case.



Licensing Cost:

The purchase of 100 user licensing and for Netware 6.5 or (OES) server is: approximately $4,700.00 for non-profit entities.

The purchase of 100 user licensing and for Windows 2003 server is: $7.00 per user cal or approximately $800.00 for academic institutions.
9/15/2004

Staff Bias:

Admittedly I am more comfortable working with Windows 2003 Active Directory. I am not trained or familiar with Novell Netware 6.5 or Open Enterprise Server (OES). However as a computer technology professional I welcome the opportunity to be trained in Novell’s new server OS and what changes have been made from NDS to e-directory.
I hope my evaluation of the merits of choosing one system over the other was not bias one way or the other. In fact a comprehensive study by an outside organization might be warranted if we were a large multi-domain, multi-tree enterprise. However we are not and the most graceful path to follow is to incorporate our current Windows 2000 production servers with our Windows 2003 test servers and function as a Windows Active Directory shop.

To select Novell’s OES is not simply a server upgrade but a completely new direction to move in. Perhaps it offers more open sourced technology innovation but at greater cost, effort, and peril to the library. Do we want to be on the cutting edge of Novell’s new open source strategy? I do not think there is a compelling argument to do so right now. Perhaps in the future with more training and new Library requirements to meet we might be moved to take another look at a more mature Novell OES system.




 
















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Question by:dorgunr
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by:ShineOn
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There are several things I wondered at but they make sense coming from a pro-Microsoft perspective.  You worry about seeming biased, and I think rightly so.

A few points:  

First, I think you have misstated the cost of the products. You now have two NetWare 5.1 licenses, with a number of users each. Since you mentioned 100 users, using that as the target, you should use upgrade pricing, and based on your other comments, I would assume you should use academic pricing.  You would not have to upgrade both sets of user licensing, just one, because the license model changes to per-user-object.  You also do not have to buy another NetWare server license after you get the first one, because the license covers an unlimited number of servers.  That difference in licensing between Windows servers/CALs and NetWare eDirectoru user should be mentioned for fairness - if you want to add more servers, it won't cost anything more than the hardware, unlike Windows.

Second, an ALA e-license at CDW (promo) for 100 users upgrade is a whoppin'  $635 us.  A media set  goes for $11.48.  That's quite a bit less than the $4700 you quoted, which is pricing for charitable organizations.  Since you quoted academic pricing for Windows, you should compare apples-to-apples, unless for some reason the definition differs between the two companies.-

Third, I wonder what type of Windows user CAL you quoted - per seat or per server?  What is the cost of the server license, besides the user CALs - last I checked, Microsoft charges folx for each server they install...

Fourtn, you are now running a NetWare network, not a Windows network.  Your workstations are Windows, but authenticate to NDS, and your production servers are not domain members, so you don't have a Windows network.

Fifth, you have definitely skewed the report towards the preference of the other 2 support folx, and presumably, yourself.  One thing that should be mentioned is that, although it does take more training to support more OSes,  a mixed environment based on NetWare has a lower admin-to-user ratio than does a pure Windows environment, and once the NetWare back-end is set up, most of the time an admin spends is chasing down Windows problems.

Sixth, the study comparing migrating windows to linux vs upgrading windows - how does that have any bearing on anything?  You don't have to migrate squat to Linux.  NetWare has always been and will continue to be the best at multiplatform support, including Windows, and that won't change with OES.  If you WANT to migrate your desktops to Linux, it will be easier if your network remains a NetWare network.

Seventh, as far as I know, the only radical departure from the past in OES, besides the name, is that it will be available on either the NetWare kernel or the Linux kernel.  It will still use eDirectory, it will still have superior filesystem security, it will still be more compatible with any platform you want to use on the desktop, the management tools will be consistent with what has been in use with NetWare 6.5.

Eighth, NetWare training has always been available primarily through the Novell Training partners.  That's not any different than before.  What's new is that you can go to Microsoft training classes at a lot of public institutions.  The number of books on a shelf at a particular bookstore doesn't seem to me to be that valid a measure for choosing continuity over change.  Remember, one of the first Microsoft books to be popular was Windows for Dummies...

I will post more if I have time.  Back to work...

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"Since 1994 I have been a Novell Netware Certified Engineer."

Technically, this was a "Novell Certified NetWare Engineer"

"When comparing Novell and Microsoft please realize there are two aspects of each vendor’s product to be aware of: The server operating system (OS) and the directory service."

I DISagree with that statement. With Novell's products, the NOS platform (NetWare) and the Directory Service (eDirectory) are not linked in the same was as M$ W2K and AD. AD is ONLY available on the W2K/W2K3 platform. eDirectory is available on a multiplicity of platforms, *including* NetWare, W2K/W2K3, Linux (2 flavors), Solaris, AIX, HP-UX, et. al. This is, IMO, an important difference, in that using AD *locks* you into the M$ OS platform. Choosing eDirectory does not lock you into a platform; therefore, you retain flexability to respond to situations and needs down the road, ones you don't know about and can't predict right now.

"....Active Directory as its directory service."

While it is true that AD is *marketed* as a Directory Service, objectively its just the same old tired NT4 Domains. All they added was an extensible schema and transitive-trust relationships (but its still NT4 trust relationships). It is a 2-D namespace, just a 3-D view (kinda like drawing interlocking squares on a piece of paper to simulate a cube). In contrast, eDirectory is an actual Directory Service, from the ground up, with an actual 3-D database and far more data integrity mechanisms than you find in AD ("tombstones" are just plain lame, I can't think of a better word to describe them). AD lacks partitioning, timesync, backlinks, and on-the-fly repair.

"A large percentage of the [Novell] customer base has switched to Microsoft NT, Microsoft 2000 and most recently to Microsoft Windows 2003 server systems."

And a large percentage of them have come to regret the decision, and even reverse it. R.W. Bennett in the UK. Central Michigan Hospitals in the US. Heritage Oaks Bank in California. And those are just three I can think of. Read Linda Musthaler's column expressing her reflection that it was a poor move to make (http://www.nwfusion.com/columnists/2002/0715musthaler.html). Ask Anheuser-Busch if they'd do their migration over again. Check out Gartner Group's WestCorp Financial case study. If 53% of people jump off a bridge, that makes it a good idea? At one time, IIS hosted 50% of the 'Net's websites - its less then 25% now. What does that tell you?

"Many consulting companies have been hired to recommend corporate wide networking strategies and have selected Microsoft Windows...."

Yeah, they did, because they knew they were practically GUARANTEED a steady stream of callbacks, with the attendant billable hours (and that's the name of the game in consulting: billable hours), to constantly fix, repair, re-install and troubleshoot the environment. You think they recommended that because it was best for the customer? Check out the NWFusion Forum following their moronic "King of the NOS Hill" article - you'll see people in the consulting field quietly admit that they recommended Redmond's dubious warez because they knew it would result in higher hardware sales and more billable hours (http://www.nwfusion.com/cgi-bin/WebX.cgi?230@@.ee6de2a). You want to base your decision on THAT?

"Why buy two operating systems?"

Because a software monoculture is dangerous. Just ask all the companies that had their entire corporate network brought to its knees by a 16-year-old twerp in Germany. Slammer, anyone? Netsky? Phatbot? The litany goes on and on, and they all leveraged the porous, joking nature of Windoze "security" (an oxymoron, like "military intelligence").

And the assertion that "Windoze is most-hacked because its most prevalent" is a fallacy. If that were the case, then Apache webserver, which runs 2/3rds of the websites in the world (Source: Netcraft) would be the most-hacked webserver. But almost all the webserver hacks are on IIS. My Apache logs are littered with IIS hack attempts.

"The [NetWare v5.1] servers do little else than provide authentication, file security and file storage. They do NOT host any applications at this time."

Hardly an OS limitation. The could easily have hosted an E-Mail system (e.g. NetMail, GroupWise) and a webserver (Netscape Enterprise). There's NOTHING running on the Windoze servers that could not be running on the NetWare servers, in terms of services.

"....the Dell servers were designed to operate only with Novell Netware 6.5 and later ...."

Completely irrelevant to the fact that they could run v5.1 just fine. Unlike Windoze, NetWare is fairly indifferent to the hardware it runs on - it just runs.

"....study by The Yankee Group shows the cost of migrating from Windows to Linux is three to four times as much as upgrading from one Windows version to another."

1) Find out who FUNDED that study. Dollars to doughnuts the M$ marketing folx had a hand. That has been the ONLY way they have gotten any significant favorable studies.

2) All you're looking at is INITIAL cost, not Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). And TCO study after TCO study (Gartner Group, Burton Group) - the actual independent ones, not funded by M$ (or Novell) - have consistently shown that Windoze is the highest TCO environment. It consistently consumes more hardware (more capital outlay), has more downtime, and takes more effort to administer. If something costs $1,000 less to buy, but then costs you $5000 more to own, have you saved any money, or have you cost yourself $4000? Like any good crack dealer, Redmond makes their initial, up-front costs low. When they have you hooked, then you pay.

"Yes we are using Netware for file storage. But that can be done just as easily and efficiently with Windows."

Wanna bet? In Windoze, try hiding the existence of a sub-directory from a user who has any access to the parent directory. That is, if you have \\SERVER1\DATA\STUFF and everyone has, say, Read access in that directory, create \\SERVER1\DATA\STUFF\PRIVATE and then try to hide the existence of that directory. Can't do it, because the Windoze filesystem permissions are a crude subset of those in the NetWare environment. Try making the filesystem available to Mac or *NIX clients. Sure, you might not want to do so now, but what about in 2 or 3 years? You can do it with stock NetWare (NFAP). Can't with stock Windoze. Try granting filesystem rights by leveraging your Directory Service structure (for example, in AD, try to grant filesystem rights to \\SERVER1\DATA\STUFF using an OU...or any object other than a User or Group). The only people who think filesystem management is just a easy and efficient in Windoze as it is in NetWare have a static environment that never changes or grows.

"Both Novell and Microsoft directory services have redundant server capability in the operating system and directory services design."

Yeah, right. Try accessing your Windoze user profile when the server its stored on is down. Can't do it - Windoze stores its user profiles in files on a server. Using ZENworks, desktop profiles are stored in NDS, and are available as long as the Directory Service is available.

"Security"

You overlook the obvious scenario of a staffer bringing an infected computer inside your firewall and infecting your entire network with the latest Windoze virus that isn't stopped by your scanners yet; or Little Johnny, who has the time to keep up with all the latest Windoze hacks, rootkitting your Windoze servers from his iPaq. M$ has admitted than Windoze is not going to be secure before 2011. How many apps, apps you probably run today, require the user to be logged in as an "Administrator" equivalent to run?

"User Login Interface"

Your discussion completely ignores Native File Access Protocols, which allows the NetWare server to appear as a CIFS server. You also completely ignore the differences in functionality and manageability.

"The Novell Netware 6.5 or Novell OES uses, like Microsoft 2003, an X.500 LDAP based directory service."

That's not true - in EITHER case. First, LDAP is a directory ACCESS protocol, a standardized way to get at information in the directory. It has nothing to do with the structure or implementation of the actual directory service. They are both proprietary databases - altho I continue to say that AD is a "Directory Service" in marketing only. It is true that both environments offer LDAP interfaces.

Anyone who claims any technological superiourity of AD over eDirectory is either a paid M$ shill or has no understanding of the technical issues. AD is nothing but the same old NT4 Domains.

"Scalability"

You ignore the fact that Windoze, no matter the enviroment size, *consistently* takes 2x to 3x as much hardware/time/effort to accomplish the same tasks as an equivalent NetWare environment. Don't believe me? Look at the Gartner Group Westcorp Financial case study. Their Windoze servers cost an average of 2x what the NetWare ones cost, and the cost of managing, servicing and maintaining those Windoze servers averaged almost 3 times as much, annually. You think you'll magically avoid that reality?

"Support and Training of Staff....Here Windows has a huge advantage."

Yes, they do. They have a seemingly endless supply of suckers willing to shell out big bucks for an environment they tout as being so easy and cheap to manage. Well, if its so easy and cheap, why do you need 22 weeks of extensive W2K3 training?

This is possibly the WORST reason to move to W2K3.

"If we moved to a Windows Active Directory each staff work station would be reconfigured to use the Microsoft client instead of the Novell client."

That can already happen, as I pointed out with NFAP.

"Right now file security is not exactly where we would want it."

And you're fooling yourself if you think it'll get better with a switch to W2K3. File security is a crude subset of what you have in NetWare. And you are reduced to Users and Groups as your only security principals - forget leveraging your Directory Service to make your security administration easier.

"The cross over to Active Directory can be achieved without any significant library trauma."

Right. Wait until you need to do your first directory repair, and you have to REBOOT the server into its special "directory repair" mode. In the NDS world, you can do it on the fly, with NO impact the logged-in users.

"The upgrade to Netware OES might be more problematic in that we don’t quite know the steps we would have to take at this time."

Utterly brilliant... "We don't know what we're talking about, but since we've already made up our minds we're not going to bother with research. Facts just get in the way, and are overrated."

"Licensing Cost"

You overlook the fact that you need a SERVER license for each W2K3 server, ON TOP OF each CAL. And then there are the ongoing licensing costs of M$ Licensing 6.0.  You also seem to be looking at the wrong price sheet. Seems to me, if you are an "academic instritution" like you are claiming for the M$ licensing, you should be looking at http://www.novell.com/customers/education/edsales/purchase.html - you can get NetWare/OES, GroupWise and ZENworks ALL for $2/user.

"Staff Bias"

That's an understatement.

"To select Novell’s OES is not simply a server upgrade but a completely new direction to move in."

WRONG. First, there's NetWare v6.5 out TODAY, and which would be a painless upgrade. Next, OES will offer you a CHOICE (something you're never going to get from Redmond) of using a Linux kernel (the "new direction") ORr a NetWare kernel (the same basic technology you're already using). You are grossly inaccurate to cast that choice as a "completely new direction". If you stayed with the NetWare kernel, then all OES will do is change the product name and add the new features.

"....open sourced technology innovation but at greater cost, effort, and peril to the library."

Cripes, what FUD. The Windoze virus of the week is not a "peril"? The higher hardware purchase (capital outlay), maintenance (ongoing costs) and administration (staff time = money) costs of Windoze are not a "greater cost"? The "critical patch of the day" doesn't require a greater "effort"? Seems to me you're VERY selective about your concerns.

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by:PsiCop
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And as for the availability of NetWare-specific books, YOU ARE A LIBRARY!!!!!!!
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by:PsiCop
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(feeling like Woody talking to Buzz Lightyear)
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by:ShineOn
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"Paradigm included DOS accounting modules which would run only on Netware servers at the time."

Not possible.  No DOS module of any sort runs on NetWare.  Perhaps the DOS-based accounting modules (that presumably ran on a Microsoft-OS client PC) would only speak to a Pervasive database housed on a NetWare box using SPX calls.

Therefore, this tidbit is also not germane to the decision to change your infrastructure from a NetWare/NDS network to a Windows network, and also seems biased because it implies that the NetWare platform in general is somehow outdated because the accounting software used DOS modules.
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by:DSPoole
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"Netware will not be sold in 2005"

Not true.  NetWare 7 is a component of Open Enterprise Server.  As Novell has repeated, NetWare is NOT dead.  I heard that at BrainShare the DAY AFTER they announced OES.

If you think Microsoft has a long life ahead of them, you should have heard what IBM told us at BrainShare 2004:  Windows is dead as far as ANY IBM customer is concerned - they have already migrated 2 MILLION servers off Windows to SuSE Linux and are migrating another 6 million next year.  In addition, ALL IBM customers are being migrated OFF Exchange and on to... wait for it... GroupWise.

"Right. Wait until you need to do your first directory repair, and you have to REBOOT the server into its special "directory repair" mode. In the NDS world, you can do it on the fly, with NO impact the logged-in users."

Actually, with eDirectory 8.x and above, you can do directory repairs on a NetWare system without locking the database, thus not even affecting NON-logged in users who are attempting to log into the network during the repair.

""Paradigm included DOS accounting modules which would run only on Netware servers at the time."

That's bull.  I've got a DOS-based system as well (AMSI) that will work under NetWare 5.1 as well as 4.11 - it's because the Pervasive SQL engine can be made to be backwards compatible with the BTrieve database.  The ONLY underlying factor is the transport protocol.  I've never tried it on pure IP (something Windows 2003 STILL lacks due to the fact it encapsulates NetBIOS in IP still) but I know that it works with IPX.  I'll let you know later this year if I can get an old 1998 database written for BTrieve on a NetWare 4.11 server to work with NetWare 6.5 in pure IP.  I'm betting I can do it.

Other than that - I fully agree with PsiCops assessments.  He especially hit the AD pretty good but missed a few points:

Security Equivilances in AD:  In eDirectory, you can use an OU for handling security (everyone in the .OU=Accounting can use the accounting printer).  In AD, this is not possible, you have to rely on Groups still.  Furthermore, what does this supervisor in this AD Domain have access to:

      .O=ACME
           |
           +.OU=Accounting
           |
           +.OU=Marketing
                    |
                    +.CN=Supervisor

Does he have supervisor rights to just the Marketing OU?

Nope - he's got supervisor rights in the ENTIRE Domain - from .O=ACME all the way down.  So much for setting up local office "admins" that you don't want to have rights up the tree.

Patitioning in AD:  You can, in fact, partition AD, as long as you break up your forest into individual AD Domains.  Meaning that you can't have one Domain and partition it from there based on the OU's within the Domain, you have to create separate Domains - then the old Trust Relationships nightmare is back to haunt you.  Granted, AD creates automatic trusts between parent and child Domains but it does not create trusts between sibling Domains automatically.

Static Inheritance in AD:  Security is still token-based.  Rights are static inherited.  Any changes causes massive replication across the network.  Change those rights and the user has to LOG OUT and then back in to see them.  Not so with eDirectory.

WAN Replication:  Traffic in AD is about 10 times that of eDirectory.  Get's nasty when you have hundreds or thousands of replications happening (such as students logging into the network at a school with multiple campuses across town).

Database Size:  AD database size is about 10 times that of eDirectory - for the SAME INFORMATION.  Increase your hard drive space.

Repair:  a new version of AD is supposed to allow online repair without reboot.  It's not in Win2K3 yet.  Supposedly, however, this version of AD is not compatible with the current version of AD.  This means upgrading AD across the board.

Vulnerabilities:  Firewalls withstanding, many hacks can be made against a Windows server via HTTP (port 80).  That'll pretty much bypass the firewall.

AD LDAP Responses:  WHEN AD responds to LDAP queries (it's pretty damn slow compared to eDirectory) it's usually wrong about 70% of the time.

AD Requirements:  There are 5 MAJOR components to AD, services that MUST be available at all times in order for AD to function properly.  Lose ONE of those services and regardless of whatever other servers you have running, AD is no longer functional.

AD Scalability:  AD can scale to millions of objects.  Big deal.  eDirectory has scaled to over 1.6 BILLION objects in a single tree.  This means that eDirectory is going to have the better performance even in smaller environments.  eDirectory 8.8 will remove the 1.6 billion limitation.

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by:PsiCop
ID: 12078402
I don't recall that 1.6 billion objects was a hard limit - that's just where they gave up trying to break it. And in any case, that's far larger than dorgunr's environment.
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by:DSPoole
ID: 12078680
1.6 billion was a hard limit for eDirectory 8.x (early version that shipped with NetWare 6.0) if I remember correctly...

either way, it's enough to put everyone in China in a single tree.
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by:PsiCop
ID: 12078988
OK, I believe you. Still more scalability than dorgunr needs.

But its the TCO he should be paying attention to.
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by:ShineOn
ID: 12079518
More on the X.500 LDAP directory service thing:

eDirectory IS X.500 based, has been from day one (over 10 years ago), and IS compliant with LDAP v.3.  Natively.

Active Directory is NOT X.500 based.  It is legacy Microsoft Domain based, with some conformance with X.500 spec solely because of the heirarchy of DNS, which was kludged on top of the old domain model to make it seem X.500-based.  It is not LDAP v.3 compliant, hence the wonderful track record of 70% failure rate in LDAP lookups DSPoole mentioned.
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by:PsiCop
ID: 12079734
Wel, yeah, its architecture IS patterned after X.500, but its not chained to DNS like AD. It favors X.500 strongly, yes - I'd hesitate to say its "X.500-compliant"

And I agree that because AD is essentially NT Domains, its nowhere near X.500.
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Highfive Gives IT Their Time Back

Highfive is so simple that setting up every meeting room takes just minutes and every employee will be able to start or join a call from any room with ease. Never be called into a meeting just to get it started again. This is how video conferencing should work!

 
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by:ShineOn
ID: 12079989
I said  "X.500 based."  I didn't say compliant.  There is no enterprise directory service that fits the X.500 spec exactly, and X.500 is a very, very old spec.
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by:PsiCop
ID: 12080796
True enuf, very old, and there is no one on the market actually in full compliance with the spec. For that matter, I want to say there's never actually been ANY product in full compliance with the spec.
0
 

Author Comment

by:dorgunr
ID: 12085265
I tried to split points and was denied..my cc expired etc. ???
0
 
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by:PsiCop
ID: 12085310
Hmmm...dunno. Seems to be that you would be able to award escrowed points and your CC status would not matter.

I got a split. Thanks.
0
 

Author Comment

by:dorgunr
ID: 12085336
maybe it did go thru..I see accepted and assisted in green

You guys are great and I learned alot about all of it !!!
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by:PsiCop
ID: 12085504
Glad we were able to help.

Ultimately, you're the one who has to live with the decision. My goal here has been to make sure you had some facts and were not relying on the FUD spewed out by the M$ Marketing Machine. And they put out a lot of FUD.

Personally, I would not be comfortable trusing my IT enterprise to a company like Bill's - they engage in predatory pricing, they don't hesitate to use their monopoly power to crush their competition (which ends up denying you alternatives to their products), and their licensing terms are rapacious and draconian. And I used to like and recommend their products - I wouldn't have used anyone else's C compiler, back when I was slinging code (and I cut my teeth on Borland's products). But the company I admired back then is not the company today - its changed, and not for the better.
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by:ShineOn
ID: 12086617
Yes, I've been working with PC's since the late 80's (2-floppy 8088 anyone?) and liked working with the various versions of DOS as it grew up, and had a bit of fun piddling with MS-Basic.  I liked Windows 3.1 when it first came out (and OS/2 2.0 also...) but started to lose respect for Microsoft when they started playing file format games and "hide the API" with their ISV partners (Lotus, WordPerfect, etc.) in order to push them out of the market..  My first "network" was Windows for Workgroups.

Everything would have been fine between me and Microsoft if it weren't for their FUD regarding NetWare and their "break the client" patches and fixes activity from the mid '90's to date.  They could have stuck with being a good client OS provider, but no, they had to take the worst possible option - turn their decent client OS into a "server" OS, which is the exact opposite of what happened with *nix and what's happening with Linux (which is taking a good, solid server OS and turning it into a client OS.)

I wasn't there for the rift with IBM over the direction of NT, but based on where IBM went with OS/2 I'd guess it had a lot to do with the built-in vulnerabilities because M$ wanted it to look and feel like Windows and be "easy to use" without regard for stability or security.  Even though OS/2 failed, it was not because of inferior technology, but again from the M$ marketing strategy and their "break whatever isn't ours" activity.

I, unlike those you were hearing from in the other TA, have continued to work with NetWare AND Windows, in a mixed environment.  My experience has not been with the huge companies that PsiCop and DSPoole work for, though - mine has been at companies with in the neighborhood of 100 users - give or take 20 to 50.  That's a bit closer to what you're talking about.  Speaking from experience relevant to your size situation (I work for a manufacturing company) this size company is NOT too small for NetWare and eDirectory, by any means.  We have, in addition to NetWare, NT, Win2K Server, Win2K3 Server, and RedHat Linux ES, with primarily Win2K Pro on the desktop.  And I am the only Network Administrator.  We have a Security guy that does the WAN and internet, and handles MS Exhange (he can have it!) but I do all the rest.  So much for the simplification argument.  I don't see how we'd be able to manage without adding to staff if we were to go all Microsoft all the time...

Good luck to you, and whatever your decision, come visit us again at EE.
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by:DSPoole
ID: 12090253
NetWare 4.2, NetWare 5.1, NetWare 6.0, NetWare 6.5, Windows NT Server 4.0, Windows Server 2000, Windows Advanced Server 2000, Citrix MetaFrame on Windows 2000 Terminal Services, OS/2 Warp 4, RedHat Linux.

We have 400+ users on the WAN, another 200 users off WAN but using networked services (and I'm about to ZENworks 6.5 the lot of them) and then over 750 additional accounts in eDirectory and GroupWise on top of the 650 corporate users.

I just built another Windows 2000 server today (to replace a Windows NT box) and a NetWare 6.5 box to replace a 5.1 box.

Scattered across the U.S. (I'm in San Diego today).  Moving to an all IP environment.

hey, I found VNC hosts for OS/2 Warp and NetWare, guess which remote control software I'm moving to?

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by:PsiCop
ID: 12102414
Server side: NetWare v6.0 and v6.5, NT v4, W2K, Solaris, AIX and some Linux (SUSE and RH FC)
Client side: Mostly W2K with some NT v4
Population: About 1,400 total client workstations and about 1,200 users scattered across about WAN-connected 20 locations (not counting telecommuters and "interstate offices" in other states operating out of people's homes with laptops)
Network: Pure IP, IPX was eliminated some years ago; NDPS-based printing for several hundred printers; ZENworks v4 moving to v6.5; switched Ethernet locally, a mix of F-R and xDSL across the WAN

Our biggest push right now is exploring Linux as a platform to migrate to from WINDOZE
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by:DSPoole
ID: 12123807
I still have 2 NetWare 4.2 boxes (soon to be one by the 15th) - I can't completely eliminate IPX yet.  At least on the client side of some offices.  To make matters WORSE, we have an application that runs off of BTrieve that is still in use here.  I am hoping to test the client in pure IP since the BTrieve requester on the server side can run in IP mode as well as IPX.  Workstations are all Win2K for the most part - I've found a BTrieve client that runs pure IP.  The question now is - will the application work?  Testing will tell.

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by:ShineOn
ID: 12124156
Geez, maybe you'll need to run compatibility-mode ;-)
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by:DSPoole
ID: 12124615
no.  never.  no way.  nyet.  nein.  nay.
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