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Andy's NetWare best practices

Drive layouts and setups:

Make sure you have a RAID controller (or more) even if you just need one drive worth of space.
You have the server usually there for a reason and rebuilding it is always a pain even if your backups are current.
For small setups hardware mirroring (RAID1) is the easiest to setup and maintain.
While NetWare has a very effective software mirroring capability built in,
the cheapest RAID controller on an original
Pentium system still beats out any software mirroring on a Pentium IV.

Make your DOS partition 2GB.
Drives are cheap and big now days and the space might just be needed for a memory dump if you encounter a difficult problem.
The version of DOS you use can also have an impact as I've seen MS-DOS 7 (from Win9x) cause problems with NW 4.11 and 5.0 so I avoid that DOS like the plague. The DOS that comes with NW6.5 (still to check 6.0) has all you really need and is also the most legal. Other DOS's that work very well though you will have to licence them are IBM's PC-DOS 7 & 2000, and Microsoft's MS-DOS 6.x.

If you do chose software Mirroring (including Duplexing), do make sure that both drives can be booted off of and that you build the right procedures to make sure any changes(patches, startup.ncf, etc…) to C: get copied to D:
The trick to getting that D: properly setup is that you will need to make it the primary drive long enough to have FDISK it to be a primary DOS partion. If you havn't done this, you just won't be able to start your server after the loss of the C:

In your Config.sys, make sure Files= and Buffers= are at least 99 on NetWare 5.1 and higher. Min 50/60 in NetWare 4.11+.


Start with these(insert link) settings and optimize(insert link) from there.
Remember that optimization is an ongoing thing that should be looked at once a year in a very stable environment, and monthly on a very dynamic system.

Scheduled activities:

List out all the scheduled activities running on your server and make sure they don't all happen at once.

Backups are usually done nightly and typically take the longest to run.
AntiVirus scans would typically run on the weekend. By default compression starts at midnight and runs till its done or hits 6am, but I usually set it to start at 5 or 6 and set for only one hour.
GroupWise PO scheduled events .
Data sync processes such as ZEN for Servers' TED, rsync, DBcopy.

Server slow?:

Make sure the Hamster in the server has been feed and then check out my optimization tips

Server Volume(s) running out of space:

Delete all "*.tmp" and "~*.*" files older than the current day (Start, Search, Files or Folders, once complete sort by time)

Search for "*.mp*" to make sure nobody is keeping their audio(MP3 or MP2) or video (MPG) collections on the server that shouldn't be up there. (most of my MP3 collection is from cleaning up server volumes.)

Check your WebServer logs as they have a habit of growing until you run out of space. Apache, Apache2, Novonyx are all directories to check on SYS for execess size with greater than 200MB being the point where you probably have to control those logs. Apache2 Log management.

If you are still low on space once you are sure everything should be there, start by getting the ball rolling on purchasing more drive space for the server because that can sometimes take a while and the next steps will only give you breathing room.

If you have followed my settings or something similar, you can gradually reduce the "Days Untouched Before Compression" and "Minimum Compression Percentage Gain"
to free up more space but don't go below 7 days and 5% or your server will get VERY busy when your users are accessing files.

Use the inventory function of NetWare Remote Manager on NetWare 6.x and OES to get a good handle on what is on each volume. Lauch in a web browser put in yourserverIP:8008, login in with your Operator level or higher credentials. Select; Manage Server, Volumes, pick a volume, Inventory, wait a little bit, read through all the data.

From a Windows client, point Total Commander to the volume root and Alt-Shift-Enter, and it will calculate the totals for each of the directories. Drill in the ones that look too big and repeat until you've found where the space has gone. There are other tools that does this in other ways as well such as Disk Space Fan. Or from a Linux box that can mount the volume, cd to the mount point and use the command 'du -hx --max-depth=1' to get a list of subdirectories with their totals.

Regular Maintenance

Annually or when making siginificant changes, rename the various log files so that we aren't keeping too much history in operational one. Change just the extension to a number starting with .000 and incrimenting them as they collect. These files are in SYS:System\ sys$log.err DSrepair.log, ABEND.log, DSTrace.dbg I'll list others as I find them but you can proactively look for application specific ones by sorting SYS:System, SYS:public, & SYS:etc but date and checking out the most recently updated files to see what are behaving like log files. Note that conlog normally is self limiting and doesn't require effort here.

check you log files at least monthly to make sure you know what your server is up to. very often the first sign of trouble will be in those logs so if you get used to what is normal and then start seeing errors, then you can plan proactive fixes before your users are impacted.

Make sure that NDS/eDirectory is healthy

as a starting point checkout NetWare/Novell Connection's "10 Tips for TroubleShooting NDS" and the official Novell document TID 3564075.
Basically check each server for Timesync, replica syncronization, and for stuck obituaries.

Make sure you keep a R/W replica that holds the NetWare licenses on a NetWare box and that NLSLSP.nlm can see it, otherwise you will have licensing problems preventing users from connecting to the servers. Symptoms include: not being able to attach to the server, even with NoRM, the licensing object reporting "you don't have rights to read the ACLs of this object" when you try to look at its details in ConsoleOne even if logged in as the user that created those license objects. I have found that the newer iManager and ConsoleOne don't have any ability to manage the licenses and that you need to go back to NWAdmin32.exe (which did work for me on WinXP) to manage them, including seeing who created them.


Last updated 2015-10-05 Copyright © 1996-2022 Andy Konecny andyweb @