Do you still have an old NetWare server hanging around? Perhaps it’s sitting in a corner somewhere just doing its thing year after year. Maybe your philosophy has been to leave well enough alone even though you know you’ll have to do something with it eventually. You may even have a valid reason for not upgrading to OES. But what about the hardware?
Many NetWare 6.x systems are still running on their original hardware. Are you one of those admins who’s afraid to turn off the server in case it doesn’t start up again? Many of us have been there. What you are in desperate need of is new hardware to run your existing system or, better yet, a virtual machine.
Here’s a procedure I’ve used that is both quick and easy. I used it to virtualize a NetWare 6.5 SP8 server and create a VMware vSphere virtual machine. Best of all, no changes are made to your existing server so you can always fall back to it if need be.
Here’s what you need:
Here’s how you do it:
Make sure ssh is enabled on your Linux server and that you can login as root.
dd if=/dev/sda bs=5M | ssh root@<Linux VM IP addr> “dd of=/dev/sdx bs=5M”
Create a new virtual machine to run your NetWare server assigning sufficient resources, as needed.
Just as you can pull a hard drive out of one system and insert it into another, in a virtual environment you can accomplish the same thing if you take the storage (a file, LUN, LV, disk, etc.) associated with a disk in one VM and reassign it to a disk in another VM. When you setup a disk for your NetWare VM, do the following:
Power on your NetWare virtual machine. It will begin to boot but is unlikely to get very far because of the new hardware platform. It’s quite likely you will not be able to access the SYS volume.
The Linux “live” OS that is booted up on your NetWare server has to be able to “see” your NetWare boot disk as a single disk, just as NetWare does. If your server uses an on-board RAID controller that may use a software (or fake) RAID, Linux may not recognise it and see right through it to the physical disks. If you happen to have configured RAID 1, you may still be able to make a clone from one of the disks.
On some very old hardware you may find that Linux fails to boot. If that happens, you may still be able to boot a different distribution or version. If you are unable to boot any version of Linux and happen to have installed NetWare on a non-redundant drive or happened to have setup a RAID 1 array, you may be able to remove a drive and temporarily install it into an external dock or another system to complete the cloning.
Due to the variety of hardware and various configurations, I can pretty much guarantee this procedure won’t work for everyone. If the Linux “live” OS boots and “sees” your NetWare drive, your chances of success are quite high.
While the disk is being cloned, you probably want some reassurance that everything is progressing as expected. The dd command doesn’t display any progress unless you ask it to. Here’s how:
ps aux | grep dd
kill -USR1 <numeric process-id from the ps command>
The cloning process goes quite quickly. When I did it, data was transferred at full wire speed: 120 MB/sec across a gigabit link.
Your new virtual machine will likely have different network interface cards. If that is the case, you will have to install drivers and likely setup the new interfaces.
It should take 1-2 hours to get a working VM.
This Cool Solution is not meant to account for every contingency. It can, and has, quickly virtualised NetWare servers. You are expected to deal with anomalies. If you would like more information or would like to discuss any of the ideas presented here, feel free to stop by the Open Enterprise Server – OES NetWare Install-Upgrade forum. We’d love to chat with you.