“At one time, NetWare was the network operating system for the PC world. In particular, there are still companies that depend upon its bread and butter networking on lovingly maintained NetWare 3.1x and 4.x set-ups. And why shouldn’t they? It’s been long acknowledged that for fundamental print and file services along with rock-solid stability, you couldn’t beat NetWare.” Read the rest of the article here.
The Next NetWare: Not Your Dad’s NetWare
2004-05-04 Novell and Ximian 18 Comments
In all seriousness, is it known to have serious performance problems and dropping print queues?
I ask because my only experience with NetWare is at school, and it is unbearably slow (logging in/loading services) and the system frequently drops print jobs.
In short, is this an unusual situation with NetWare?
Every Novell installation I’ve been exposed to has been unberably slow. Well, that’s not 100% true. DOS machines with Novel used to be Ok.
We’ve been running NetWare where I work since April of 1988. Never had any problems with print jobs. The NetWare box is the only machine in the entire company that never gives us any trouble.
I never had too many problems with 4.x but it was slow, even on a decent server. (at the time)
I moved to Active Directory for about 300 employees, and it worked flawlessly for what we did.
Thoughts on Novell Networking…..
SPX (Novell’s TCP) – Has a window of 1. This severely reduces any real chance of getting reasonable throughput. I can understand the initial reasoning, but the TCP sliding window is much better.
SAP’s – Doesn’t scale to constantly flood SAP’s around all the time. In a large environment, this was a MAJOR scaling issue.
Type-20 – Flooding broadcasts throughout the network, this was a horrible idea, it truely sucks, and has been the cause of alot of network problems.
IPX RIP – RIP…need I say more? Doesn’t scale….flood every 30-60 seconds, or whatever it was, way to chatty..
NLSP – This started out as a good idea, link state protocol for Novell. Think of it as OSPF for IPX (well IS-IS for IPX would be much more correct). Except, they took IS-IS and put it over IPX. If they had just added a couple TLV’s to support IPX prefixes into IS-IS, this would have worked beautifully. But they didn’t, and ended up w/ a bit of a hacked up mess. Oh yeah, SAP’s come back to haunt you again here, as it doesn’t really fit into the link state model.
Oh well…..the addressing structure was good….
I have a netware server running 24- 7 365 days a year. it doesn’t have a UPS, never crashes, The only printing errors are due to the dot matrix printers that are probally older than you and are running at full speed still. The netware box even has and old monchrome monitor on a serial port.
No one pays any attention to the machine because like all good computers It Just works. No having to upgrade, no security probelms daily, no viruses to deal with. Then again this truely is a security through obsolence setup. our machines are so old the newer viruses can’t run on them.
I don’t know what happened, but after years of slow unreliable file and print services on my university, they somehow gave it a big boost this year. Same Netware, whole different experience. I guess you can make configuration mistakes easily with netware.
Novell is not slow. My experience with NetWare (version 4.1, 5, and 5.1)- which I used to administer as my job – was fantastic. NetWare is a better NOS than anything else out there, including Linux and Windows. Why? Because of their administration tools. NetWare Admin is a powerful app. NDS is a nice database with rich access controls and very powerful group-in-group security. It was doing what Active Directory tries to do now ages ago.
NDPS is a sweet printing system. I will say the NDPS print queues get jammed up more frequently than they should, but no more than my Windows print queues get a job stuck that require the spooler service to be stopped and restarted.
Netware, starting with version 5, could be run in a completely IP environment.
In short – NetWare is an incredible package, and if they can run their tools on top of Linux, it will be even more incredible.
…and yes, speed too. Microsoft finally got faster and Linux bested both of them. Just the same, IIRC, the common benchmarks at the time, only showed Linux/SAMBA to be something within 5% of Microsoft, or so, and Microsoft to be within 10%, or so, of Netware. I doubt you’d actually notice the difference in the real world. Since then, Microsoft has gotten slower and Linux has gotten tons (especially the Linux kernel but SAMBA too) faster. So, Netware on Linux should make for a nice, fast, robust solution for multiple envionrments.
In most situations that I’ve seen people brag about AD speed compared to something else, it was normally attributed to people moving from a two, three or four year old computer running Netware to a very modern computer running win. In otherwords, normally the speed difference is from the hardware and not the software. Oddly enough, AD is toughted as being a slow, kludgy solution compared to Netware’s offerings. MS even agrees, which is why they’ve been working hard to fix many of the big performance issues assocated with AD.
We’ve been running Novell here since 3.1, we are curretly on 6.0. All I can say is that 6.0 has been rock solid and plenty fast as long as you turn off the “Offline Files” on XP. Our directory currently has over 15,000 users.
I used to administer Novell 3 and 4 based server and they were great. In my own practice many businesses still use it and won’t move. Now that Novell is working on a Linux based Novell NOS, I can finally move these machines from 3 and 4 to the newest version. Either that or migrate them totally to linux. Still a win-win for everyone.
> Thoughts on Novell Networking…..
>SPX (Novell’s TCP) – Has a window of 1. This severely >reduces any real chance of getting reasonable throughput. I >can understand the initial reasoning, but the TCP sliding >window is much better.
SPX *had* a window of 1 at some point, but that was changed in subsequent re-incarnations of IPX/SPX, quite a while ago.
ALso – keep in mind that internally Netware used NCP, entirely different protocol, highly tuned, runing directly over IPX. SPX was primarily for 3rd party developers.
In addition, over LAN window size 1 works just fine. (small RTT, no packet drops due to network congestion). This is WAN when IPX/SPX sucks big time. But hey – IPX/SPX was modeled from Xerox XNS protocol, which was never designed for WAN anyway.
>SAP’s – Doesn’t scale to constantly flood SAP’s around all >the time. In a large environment, this was a MAJOR scaling >issue.
Blows big time agreed. Spent some time putting SAP filters on router WAN’s links.
Of course RIP doesn’t scale for large networks and for WAN, that’s understood. NLSP never took off.
Moving to TCP/IP seems to be a reasonable decision. Not sure how they are changing NCP protocol, probably it can raw directly over IP, just like OSPF does.
Novell directory services are still better than active directory in 2k3.
If you are willing to put the time into learning and tweaking Novell its pretty damn snappy and it never crashes.
The most underrated feature though was being able to restore files deleted by network users. Sure running salvage every now and then sucked but it was nice to have that ability. I know people argue 2k3 has shadow copies built in but thats windows only and doesnt do anything for unix or mac clients.
And most important about NDS, it is that it is a multi-platform directory server. Don’t like OpenLDAP on Solaris, then use Novell eDirectory. Its multiplatform and having tweaked around with it, it would be something I would recommend to *any* client.
just so everyone understands, netware has been TCP/IP native since version 5. the need for IPX no longer exist. I have seen netware used since version 5 (about 4-5 years now), it has always been fast. The directory services are amazing, DirXML and eDirectory are amazing. The best part was NWAdmin/ConsoleOne and Zenworks. Zenworks desktop managment is, and has always been, the best desktop management on windows (and soon to be on linux).
Dont talk about ADS being a true Directory services. When ADS gets its act together and becomes completely LDAP Compliant, instead of just domains with a pretty interface, then it can be called a directory service. (a good test is to create two OUs, one called Marketing, one called Sales, add a John Smith account to both OUs. In eDirectory you can, in Active Directory you cannot, you need to have another domain)
I wish Apple would get Novell to make eDirectory for them! I agree with “network admin”. If you have experience with both its not an argument that eDirectory is better than ADS.
I work for a High School in Western Australia.
We have replaced most of our server and in the process upgraded to NetWare 6.5 from NetWare 5.1, and the results were excellent. I may not be well qualified NetWare administrator, but using Novell’s Migration Wizard, two servers (upto four or more depending on time) where done over a time period of two days. Easy and reliable. We do have some minor problems, but it is just learning new features. I have NetWare over Linux and Windows any day.
We run Netware 6 soon to be upgrading to 6.5. The best feature in Netware and why we will never change to ADS is it’s solid Netware OS. The Best OS around. If you know how to use it you never have crashes.
As well as e-Directory – a true scalable Directory Service.
ADS doesn’t even come close to reliably and quickly managing over 50,000 objects.