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One reader’s solution to a back-up problem

Jun 24, 20043 mins
Backup and RecoveryEnterprise Applications

* Backing up to a temporary workstation prior to a NetWare hardware upgrade

Last week I told you a tale of woe about a network manager who, in attempting to upgrade his hardware managed to cause himself huge problems with NDS. Of course, the easiest way to preserve NDS during a hardware upgrade is to remove it entirely from the server to be upgraded and then push out a new replica from the master once the upgrade is completed. But when your network only has one server (as does the one in question), you can’t do that. Or can you?

Astute reader Paula Griffith wrote in, saying:

“Maybe I am spoiled because we have an MLA [Master License Agreement] contract here.  Why not just temporarily use a workstation as a server?  It doesn’t take too long (or too much hardware) to throw up a temp server to hold the master replica.  Sure, make the backups and all, but if you can down the real server and login to the temp, you know the directory is all good.  Less things to go wrong too.  Move the master back and delete the temp server when done (or leave it, never hurts to have a r/w copy of the partition).”

Now this method won’t work for everyone. Prior to NetWare 6 every server on the net, even temporary ones, needed their own paid-for license else there be minute-by-minute error messages proclaiming the fact that there was a copyright violation and someone should call the cops. (OK, “calling the cops” wasn’t mentioned but the message could scare the righteous among us.) But beginning with NetWare 6.0, you purchase the network license and you can throw up servers as often as you’d like. Essentially, it’s the users that are licensed.

Most of us have an unused or under-utilized PC sitting around, one with at least the minimum resources to install NetWare server software: Pentium II or AMD K7 processor, 512M bytes of RAM, Super VGA display adapter, DOS partition of at least 200M bytes and 200M bytes available space, 2G bytes of available unpartitioned disk space outside the DOS partition for the sys: volume, one network board, and a CD drive.

Anyone whose network currently only has one server should immediately plan to put up a second, if only to hold a replica of NDS for disaster recovery. But even those with two servers should be thinking of running up a third one. Novell recommends (and so do I) at least three copies of every directory partition. And you can’t do that with only two servers. Everybody knows that. I hope.