posted by Ian Carder on Tue 12th Apr 2005 04:10 UTC
IconWith some free time and some spare equipment lying around, I decided to give Novell's Open Enterprise Server an install. I work in a Netware environment, but given recent trends, I decided to try and drop OES on a fresh SuSE Enterprise install. This isn't a comprehensive review; rather it's just some comments while I was just playing around. It might give people a better idea what OES actually is.

Here is the hardware setup. For no particularly good reason aside from the availability of a SCSI HP SureStore tape drive, I went with an old Dell Power Edge, because of its built in SCSI bus. It's got one PII CPU breaking the sound barrier at 333mhz. I managed to dig up 512mb of RAM which actually fit in the machine. Two SCSI hard drives, one 8GB, another a 17GB drive. Two 3c90x 3com NICs rounded out the impressive test machine.

With the half dozen CDs burned and ready to go, I started the install. I actually ended up installing SUSE twice, after a bit of a mistake partitioning the drives which sent various OES services into oblivion. The second time around, I installed SuSE Enterprise 9, along with the OES services onto the 8GB drive. I took all the rest of the defaults for installing seeing as it was just a server. So no OpenOffice, Gaim, Firefox, or anything you'd really want for a desktop. I opted to configure Novell's OES services during install. eDirectory was the first thing to get installed. It simply asked me for the first Organization, along with what I wanted to call the admin user. In earlier versions of Netware(4/5) it doesn't give you the option to name your admin user. A few more settings along the way, and the speed demon of a machine went chugging along trying to fire up eDirectory. After that, I was asked to configure a few more of the Novell services, including iManager. iManager is a bit like a web based version of ConsoleOne. You can perform a whole host of eDirectory tasks such as creating users, creating volumes, setting up printing services and so on. After the install, I was dropped to the standard SuSE login screen. I logged in, and went right to YaST. Checking in the network services section, I was met by some lovely Novell icons.

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After I got over that excitement, I made sure NSS was fired up. NSS is necessary to create volumes for eDirectory, just like you would in a pure Netware environment. Once I knew NSS was running, I turned my attention to the 17GB drive in the server. I fired up iManager and proceeded to create a new storage pool. After that was done, I created a new volume(data). iManager took care of finding the free drive, and even setting the mount points for the volume locally on the server.

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With the data volume created, I went ahead and created a users directory, from where home directories could be mounted. I then jumped onto Novell's website, and downloaded ConsoleOne, and dropped it onto the data volume under a tools directory. Since I'm already in a Netware environment, I already have client32 loaded on my Windows workstation. I pulled the login screen up, changed the server/context/tree to the OES box, and logged in through eDirectory as 'admin'. From there I was able to fire up ConsoleOne from the server, and create a new user. I created the user 'me', and went ahead and put a few basic strings into the login script.

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I then went ahead and tried logging in with the new user.

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While all this might not seem impressive, I'm extremely pleased with what I've seen in my limited amount of playtime with OES. We're still off from putting it into a critical production environment, but not as far off as I thought before I had a chance to give OES a test drive. I can see Novell is on the right track, and that the underlying kernel is really going to become a non issue for running Novell's services. We'll see how the iPrint, Virtual Office, NetStorage, and maybe even GroupWise work next time around. For now, I should do some real work!

About the Author:
Service and Support for an educational organization. Been in one Novell environment(school and work) or another since 1996.


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