Thoughts on Migrating GroupWise from NetWare to Linux



A Forum reader recently asked:

"I am starting with OES (NetWare) SP7, GroupWise 7 SP2a, 2 POA's, 1 Domain, 1 GWIA, and 1 Webaccess agents. I want to port all of this over to OES Linux SP2.

I have heard all kinds of advice on how to partition, what sizes to use, what file system to use, etc, and really do not know who to believe. I have heard "Just do a single / and you'll be fine". I have also been given the 15 partition list. I tried the migration about 2 years ago and found it VERY painful.

I heard something and it appears to good to be true. I heard that I can just pick up my NSS volume and plunk it into a NSS volume, using EVMS in Linux to create another NSS volume, and then be able to use all of the same great NSS stuff I am use to. I might be able to even use Portlock to move the volume off the server to another server, no? And then what about the POA, MTA, and all the other GroupWise stuff?"

And here is the response from Danita Zanre ...


Here are the basic steps to follow:

1. Pick up an existing NSS volume.

2. Migrate it to Linux.

3. Run some kind of a change-case program on it.

4. Do a GWCheck with the "storelowercase" command (it's dbcopy that has the -m switch).

That way you won't have to "move" data. I've done this with a couple of NSS drives (one on my own server when I replaced a NetWare 6 server with OES Linux).

Tim Heywood and I have worked extensively trying to sort out the possibilities for each file system, and recently Tim wrote up all of our findings in a CoolSolutions tip - "GroupWise 7 and OES2/SLES10 File Systems" (

We've pretty much decided that if you're running OES you should stick to NSS, and if you are running SLES10 you should go Reiser. The important part is that the only way we feel absolutely "safe" running ConsoleOne from a
Windows PC to manage the system is if you are presenting the data via NCP to Windows, so of course that means OES.

If you are running SLES (and there are reasons to do so), you can use Reiser, but you want to run ConsoleOne right on the Linux box and manage it there. You CAN use Samba, but you need to be very careful because there are still some file locking issues with Samba and GW, and I would absolutely NEVER run a stand-alone GWCHECK from a Windows box using a Samba share - that's NEVER

You are going to get a lot of opinions as to how many partitions you need. Think of "/" as your "sys" volume and go from there. A lot of applications get put into /usr (ConsoleOne) and /opt (GroupWise). Logs build up in /var, and you often put downloads and other sundries in /root,
etc. You have to gauge basically how much you want in "sys" to use a NetWare comparison. If you want to make sure that logs stay out of there, put /var somewhere else. If you want to isolate your apps, at least put /opt somewhere else. As much as I've heard Linuxheads argue about it , I've come to the conclusion that there is no real "right" way, but a number of "wrong" ways

For me, I'd have a "/" partition that is a minimum of 20GB, and then whatever you would want to add for the possibility of temp files, etc. (unless you also put /tmp somewhere else!). From there, you decide how many of the other "directories" you want to truly be "partitions". Note that you will also have a /media/nss/DATA partition, of course, if you just bring that over from your current server.

The migration utility has come a long ways in the past few years, and there will even be an update to the migration utility for GW7 SP3. That said, I still just do it manually. I know what I'm doing, and I don't have any "surprises" if I just do it manually.

If I were you, I'd make sure I had a good backup of your DATA volume, and use that partition in the new server (assuming hardware matches, you can move the drive, etc.). Run some kind of a change-case utility, run gwcheck with the storelowercase option, install your agents, and be up and running "quickly".

Joe Marton adds:

It's probably good to note here that you can only create an NCP volume from a Linux file system (Reiser, ext3, etc.) on OES2 and not plain SLES10.

Also, I believe that's fully supported, since all that really matters is the underlying file system. If you decide to "expose" the file system to NCP clients, that really shouldn't have any bearing on how GW works. This is how I have GroupWise configured at home. I have /opt/groupwise, which is an ext3 partition but is also exposed as an NCP volume. Underneath that is where I store my domain & post office directories.


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