Novell 5.1 Server Clock losing time

I have 1 Novell 5.1 server that is not connected to the Internet that a few workstations get their time from.  As there is no connectivity to the outside, the time that the workstations are syncing to is the servers internal clock.  The problem is this clock gets increasing out of time (on the slow side).  This is a brand new server with an ASUS motherboard - it sounds like a CMOS battery problem, but feel that might be unlikely as it is only months old.  Thought I'd check in and make sure there's no chance it's a Novell 5.1 software issue before scheduling the downtime.

Ideas?
brainsneezeAsked:
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ShineOnConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I say, use the print server.  When you set it up, consider using NDPS instead of traditional queue-based, that way you don't have to worry about whether or not the Hawking print server can act as a NetWare Print Server using NDS.  I don't know, 'cause I've never used that brand, but I'd wager a guess that it is most likely to be able to act as an LPD host, which works great using the Novell LPR gateway in NDPS.

One thing we didn't discuss yet is what SP is on the Netware server.  If it is not patched to the last SP for NW5.1, it should be.  There were time slip issues that were fixed in some of the SP's, related to FILESYS.NLM, IIRC. (which is actually part of SERVER.EXE which requires SERVER.EXE to be updated, which IIRC can be touchy as far as licensing is concerned if you don't do it right.)
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BudDurlandCommented:
Do you have a printer attached directly to the server? Traditionally, they were guilty of stealing time slices (by way of IRQ's) that would cause the internal clock (timer) of the computer to lose time until a reboot forced a re-read of the CMOS clock.

What type of time server is TimeSync configured to be?

Check out this setting;
LOAD MONITOR | SERVER PARAMETERS | TIME | TIMESYNC HARDWARE CLOCK

Are there any Linux boxes in-house that could be used as a time source?
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brainsneezeAuthor Commented:
Hi Bud,

There is a laserjet5 attached directly to the server.  There are no linux boxes available.  Also, this is an upgraded server - there was a 3.11 server in the same config that did not have this problem (if that's relevant).

It is set up as a single time server...

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PsiCopCommented:
<pet peeve>
"Novell" is a company. "NetWare" is a product. You have a "NetWare 5.1 Server".
</pet peeve>

As Bud has suggested, in the Single server configuration, NetWare is dependent on the hardware clock to keep time. In a multi-server environment, the servers can compare clock values and use NDS to create an accurate clocking environment even if the hardware clock drifts.

Do you have access to a JetDirect card you could use to put the LaserJet 5 on your LAN and disconnect it from the server's parallel port?

I don't think the fact that this is an upgraded server is of much concern, beyond the obvious concern that if the machine was running an ancient version of NetWare (v3.11) when it was upgraded, how old is the hardware and is the CMOS battery still good?
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BudDurlandCommented:
If i remember correctly, for printers that are directly connected to the server, you can configure the handshaking for IRQ or POLLING (hope I'm remembering the terminology correctly).   Anyway, on some systems using IRQ (the default, I think) can cause the problem you are seeing.  The downside to polling is that some slower printers may produce bad output.  Still, it might be worth a try.
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PsiCopCommented:
Polling instead of IRQ? Hmmm...yanno, I think you're right, Bud. Gads, its been such a long time, but I hazily remember something about that.
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ShineOnCommented:
NetWare 5.x was notorious for its clock slipping, IIRC.

I would recommend that if time is important to you, and steady, reliable printing is also important to you, remove the LaserJet from the server and use a JetDirect, like PsiCop says.  I have a couple of MIO JetDirects laying around, 'cause I can't bring myself to toss 'em out just because the printer finally died (come in handy as a spare, if another MIO ever dies, like that's gonna happen) and I'll bet they're pretty cheap on eBay, since newer LaserJets use EIO's.  Or is it EIEIO's? ;)
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ShineOnCommented:
Another, reverse-Polish-logic workaround kludgy way to fix this would be to set up a Windoze PC that has Internet access as a time source.  I'm pretty sure they have an NTP-compatible time service on Win2K/XP.  Don't do this if the Windoze PC can't be synced to a second-tier NTP server local to your area, though, 'cause Windoze clocks aren't all that great by themselves, either.
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PsiCopCommented:
Ummm...since NetWare uses NTP, why not simply point the NetWare server at the Internet time source? Why bother introducing an OS that can't reliably stay up more than  47 days into the equation?
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ShineOnCommented:
I quote: "Another, reverse-Polish-logic workaround kludgy way..."

Asker made a point of saying NetWare server was NOT on the Internet.  Did not say why not, so there lies the answer to your question...  brainsneeze - why not?
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PsiCopCommented:
Damn, ShineOn, I hate it when yer right. :-) Yep, no outside connectivity. Altho if he can put a Windoze box in with Internet access, seems to me he could give it to the NetWare server as well.
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ShineOnCommented:
Me too.
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brainsneezeAuthor Commented:
No Internet cause that is their wish - I can't talk them into it - they see it as a problemand distraction hthey do not need.  Can't be the CMOS battery cause I later remembered that the battery doesn't mean a thing when the server is always on...

polling vs. irq - worth a try?  how is that done?

thanks...
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BudDurlandCommented:
Polling vs IRQ is changed in the printer object setup, where you configured the printer as connected to the LPT port of the server, in NWADMIN (or, I presume, Console1)
 
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waybadmojoCommented:
I bought an NTP time clock for one of my client's stand-alone servers thathad to reside in a lead case due to electromagnetic interference. The digital clock had an ethernet port specifically designed to serve as a time source for a network.. I'm crunching my brain for the manufacturer gain.. gimme a day to track it down for you..

Once I had the clock, it was just a matter of pointing the NW server to the clock as an NTP time source and all of the customer's problems were solved.

-Mojo
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ShineOnCommented:
The standalone time source clock Mojo mentions could be the best fix for this customer. I remember having problems with NetWare 5.1 and time slipping, and I never had a printer direct-attached to 5.x or newer (NetPorts and JetDirects were just SUCH a better option.  Although switching from Interrupt to Polled may help, I must warn that it may not entirely solve the problem.

If switching to polled fixes it, then cool.  If it doesn't entirely, then the standalone time source device Mojo is looking up for you should be on your short-list of "next things to try."  I've heard of them too, but couldn't tell you a brand/mfr if my life depended on it...
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PsiCopCommented:
Timex?


:-)
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waybadmojoCommented:
Thank Chase for online credit card transaction lookups!

http://www.timetools.co.uk/time-server.htm

I used the 1U radio version and had absolutely no problems with it. Plug it in, set the network information and then set my NetWare server to use it as an NTP time source. (TIME SOURCE = ###.###.###.###:123).

Hope this helps you out!
-Mojo
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brainsneezeAuthor Commented:
OK,

I'm due to work on the server this evening - I've pruchased a hawking print server which leaves the question - which is preferred, to set the printer up as polling, or to use the print server.  If it is to use the print server - any special configuration requirements?  BTW - the server is now two hours off in just one week - does that jive with what you all have in mind?

Many thanks.
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brainsneezeAuthor Commented:
Was just checking the knowledgebase - says polled mode is the default mode, which means that my printer is probably configured that way -

I bet that I don't have the latest sp on there.  How do I check what service packs are installed?  I'd have to update locally as there is no connectivity -

It is set up a queue based as there is some way old proprietary software that is looking for it - I can probably give it a try though as all I need to do is specify the lpt ports I think, but if it is a sp issue - all this printer talk may be a red herring anyway...

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ShineOnCommented:
You can service legacy queues with an NDPS printer, so if the print server can't do NDS legacy-mode printing, you're not stuck with a useless print server...

To check for the service pack, you can type "version" at the console prompt - that will give you some stuff.  You then go into NWCONFIG, Product Options, View/Configure/Remove installed products and it should show you the version/revision of everything installed on the server.  Look for SPACK.  That line tells you what support pack is installed.

If you think you have to go that route, I hope you have time to download and burn to CD the 5.1 support pack.  When you burn it, just to be sure of compatibility, set your burning software to ISO9660 level 2 or UDF.  Make sure you expand it before you burn it to CD.
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PsiCopConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Typing VERSION at the NetWare console prompt is the fastest way to tell the SP level in v5.0 and later.

Latest SP for NetWare v5.1 is SP 7, available from here --> http://support.novell.com/cgi-bin/search/searchtid.cgi?/2968040.htm

You probably also want to get the following post-SP 7 patches: TCP update (http://support.novell.com/cgi-bin/search/searchtid.cgi?/2969021.htm), SLP update (http://support.novell.com/cgi-bin/search/searchtid.cgi?/2969827.htm), and if you use NetWare for DNS and/or DHCP, the DNS/DHCP update (http://support.novell.com/cgi-bin/search/searchtid.cgi?/2969896.htm).

Other tools that may be of interest to you: Server Configuration Information tool - very handy (http://support.novell.com/cgi-bin/search/searchtid.cgi?/2956502.htm), NDPS Printer Agent Conversion Utility (http://support.novell.com/cgi-bin/search/searchtid.cgi?/2965194.htm), NetWare Server Tools - extremely handy! (http://support.novell.com/cgi-bin/search/searchtid.cgi?/2958910.htm) and the Printer Agent Generator Tool (http://support.novell.com/cgi-bin/search/searchtid.cgi?/2969540.htm).

Like ShineOn says, make sure you use a compatible CD-ROM format, CLOSE the disk, and expand the archives before burning them to the CD.
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brainsneezeAuthor Commented:
Hi there,

Just wanted to post what fixed the problem - It was a SP problem - Once I installed the latest Service Pack everything has been working great since.  Thanks for all of your help.
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PsiCopCommented:
Glad its working.
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