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ALERT! The community will be read-only starting on April 19, 8am Pacific as the migration begins.Read more for important details.

On Contract in Nottingham!

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I am currently working on contract in Nottingham. I am involved in a number of projects, the most interesting of which recently was implementing Novell Storage Manager. It’s one of those Niche products that you may not have heard of, but it’s absolutely excellent at what it does. Novell Storage Manager is a policy based, event driven, storage management system primarily focused on the automatic provision of user home directories. According to the policies defined NSM can create directories, set trustee rights, set quotas, apply templates and queue directory deletion all according to the settings within the associated policy. A central NSM Action Engine receives details of relevant events from NSM Event Monitors and where an associated NSM policy applies the NSM Engine issues the work to be done to NSM Sentinels. Novell Storage Manager is actually developed by the Condrey Corporation who are also the authors of AuditLogin, a utility that as the name suggests monitors and logs login activity. A new version of Storage Manager is due out anytime now which promises to have much greater support for Linux. Two things that we learned the hard way - DO NOT do partition merges involving partitions with user/group objects linked to your NSM policies without first unloading the NSM event monitors and remember to allow time for these changes to finish synchronsing - my advice is to either switch off the processing of events so they are queues in the engine where you can vet them or start the engine up with the -noprocess command line switch. Another useful switch, this time for the sentinels is -maxcopydir <1-99> which allows you to increase the throughput if you are doing a lot of home directory migrations. I had to create over 300 individual NSM policies in this project! Yes, I’ve learned a thing or two about Storage Manager!

Increasingly I am involved in migrating services off NetWare onto OES Linux. The next big project will involve migrating a NetWare file server cluster to OES Linux by introducing Linux nodes then migrating the NSS volumes across with zero downtime. Although the plan in the long run is to phase out the Novell Client initially NCP services will be used alongside CIFS to facilitate a staged phase out. Implementing CIFS on NetWare is a far simpler process than on OES Linux I have discovered.

I recently implementing NetStorage also, this involves for the un-initiated simplifying the logic and syntax in login scripts and using a reduced command set. NetStorage also cannot handle enormous login scripts so you may find as I did that you need to break it down further. The solution I used was to create a set of profile objects across the various OU’s and break up the large login script into smaller NetStorage versions. Watch out for NetStorage’s strict interpretation of command syntax that you may have got away with in regular login scripts. I then modified the container login scripts so that they used the appropriate script depending upon whether you were logging into NetStorage or not, using the IF =”1″ THEN… condition to detect NetStorage access. I like NetStorage it is now a pretty hardened and robust product. I did hit one major issue though which I am told will be resolved by moving over to running it on OES Linux and that is that is to do with Storage Location Objects. If you create an SLO that points to a CIFS share rather than an NCP location it doesn’t work, I have been assured that this functionality works as designed on OES Linux.

Recent experience running eDirectory and iDentity Manager on SUSE Linux has only served to reinforce what a stable and fast platform SUSE Linux is. Also on the cards is an upgrade from eDirectory 8.7.3.x to 8.8.2. We got our fingers burnt by the eDirectory 8.7.3 sp10 support pack which introduced ghostly intermittant -608 errors, Novell rushed out a fix called 10a but that has now also been withdrawn and we are left in limbo a bit. Just waiting to hear whether the best cause of action will be to roll forward to 8.8.2 or back-rev to

Recently been introduced to the benefits of JRB Utils and NDS Magic which I have added links for to the resources page on my website.

I’m looking for a new challenge to move onto now that my work here in Systems & Security at the University of Nottingham is coming to a close. I’ve enjoyed working with the team here, but I’m also looking forward to the next challenge. I’m ready to re-locate anywhere for the right opportunity. For more about me, my skills and experience please visit my main website and if my skills are of interest please feel free to get in touch.
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