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