Active Directory Running on Novell Network


I have an interesting situation here...  Our company runs on a closed network with IP's automatically assigned to workstations (our satellite offices in different locations are also piped into our main network and those computers also obtain IP addresses automatically from one central server at our main office).  The problem is that everything is Windows NT with Novell NetWare login...

Recently, one of our satellite locations has decided that everything there is getting upgraded to windows xp and they also want to utilize active directory.  As such, the plan would be to locate the active directory server at the main office along with the DHCP server.  The problem is that the IT staff at the main office is scared to death that if we put any server with AD on the network, AD will automatically take over as the dominate controller and Novell NetWare computers will no longer be able to log onto the novell NetWare authentication server.  

That said, I could be wrong, but we are not touching anything that has anything to do with Novell, just creating a new domain with AD on our existing network that will run side by side, but independent of Novell.  Theoretically, I believe this should work; has anyone done anything similar, have any thoughts or suggestions / seen any interesting articles regarding such a situation?


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Theoretically yes. It looks like you are using TCP/IP for Netware not IPX/SPX.

There are few things that you should plan; one is that DHCP will be shared by both clients. You have to provide certain information to AD clients like DNS and domain controller information. Without it, there will be problems. Check these two topics, which should give you some information.

Again, it is possible to run both side by side, but carefull planning must be done in advance, as AD very much depends on DNS which will in turn be distributed via DHCP.

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Use XP, go for it... but as you have a perfectly good directory service already implemented, why change that unless you have a genuine business reason? Just install the Novell Client on the XP workstations.

eDirectory (Novell's equivilent of AD) is years ahead, after all, even Microsoft can't make up a 10 year head start overnight. Nice modern desktops are always good, and very little hassle to implement, but a smooth directory platform migration isn't a small deal! That being said, an AD server on the network will not stop Novell clients logging in to Netware.
Yes it will run, but here are the caveats:

1: You must use the Novell client 32 on the XP boxes. Do not use the client services for NW that comes with XP.It is a train wreck.

2. The DHCP server from M$, can hand out only one SLP DA address unless you play with the settings.
So if you have redundant DA's you will have to play with the M$ box to get things right.

3. If you have NW 6.5 or above, you get a FREE DIRXML connector for AD. So you can sync users and passwords between the 2 directories by only using one admin tool.

Using the Novell DNS/DHCP services will not break AD.(actually anybodies will work).M$ tends to downplay that fact,if not out right deny it.
In our old setup we had a clunky netware netwok for students and two different microsoft domains for the staff network. All seemed to work in harmony with the DHCP been hadnled at first by a novell box and then as we phased out novel a server 2k3 box

As it has already been stated- use the official novel client not the one provided by mircosoft  - there are also various tricks to ensure that you dont need to log into windows as well as novel which we found appeared on the xp workstations.

We can prevent the windows login by making some registry changes but didnt always work, creating identical accounts on the machines would also solve the trick but by far the best method is to enable "dynamic local user" within console 1 (within policies) and when novel users log in they will have an identical account created on the machine and when they log out it should be deleted.

hope this helps

regards chris
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