Friday, July 29, 2005

GroupWise PDA Sync with Windows Smartphone

Thanks to Joe from EDAW in Denver for the following:

Novell has released a Service Pack to the 1.0 version of GroupWise PDA Connect. Based on some initial tests, this version seems to work well for synchronizing the new Windows Smartphone devices with GroupWise.

I should clarify that Microsoft has two different versions of their mobile OS. The version that runs on Pocket PC devices (i.e. like the new hp iPaq phones) is supported by GW PDA Connect. The version that runs on non-PDA cell phones is not supported (i.e. like the Motorola MPx 200 series).

One slight curve ball comes during installation. You get an option which mobile OS to select (Palm OS, Pocket PC, and Pocket PC 2003). Even though the iPaq runs the 2003 version, when I chose this option, the software did not install correctly on the handheld. When I tried just Pocket PC, it worked fine.

GW PDA Connect is a free download from Novell and works far better than any of the third party GW sync solutions that I've tried (Intellisync and Nexis).

The latest Hotsync Manager for Palm devices and ActiveSync for Pocket PC devices must be installed on the host computer to provide the conduits to the PDA before installing GW PDA Sync.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Urgent - eDir has been withdrawn

eDirectory or edir8736.exe has been withdrawn from the download site due to an issue that could lead to a loss of data in the eDirectory Database.

If you have not upgraded to IR6, Novell currently recommends that you wait for eDirectory 8.7.3 SP7. That patch will have a fix for this problem. Contact me if you're interested in the Field Test Patch before it goes public.

Related TID's:

More details:
There's a defect that could potentially lead to database corruption. I want to stress that NO customers have experienced corruption to date. In order to experience corruption, a customer would have to meet the following conditions:

1. They would need to have ten thousand or move values on an entry. Moreover, the problem is only with certain attributes. The attributes are the following:

Inherited ACL
Facsimile Telephone Number
EMail Address
Postal Address
Telephone Number
Network Address
Transitive Vector

2. The customer would have to run a database repair and disable the "Database Structure Check'.

Is there a way to test for the high values on an entry? Yes there are two ways.

1. Use LDAP - see TID 10098331

2. Use DSBROWSE -CV See TID 10081054

The possibility of entries being incorrectly removed was the reason that eDirectory 8.7.3 IR6 was removed from the public download site.

If you have eDirectory 8.7.3 IR6 installed and entries that meet the error condition, it's possible that a DS Repair could incorrectly remove these problematic entries. If you have IR6 installed, you should take the following precautions:

  • Do not disable the "Database Structure Check" option. If you have problematic entries and leave this enabled, you'll get -150 errors in DS Repair. The entries will not be removed.
  • Make sure to enable the option to use a "Temporary NDS Database" during the repair. If you see messages in the log about entries being purged, do not save the change
  • Test for high values on an entry using LDAP or DSBROWSE -CV9000
- Bucky

Urgent - Java (JCE) will expire on July 28

Novell has identified two products which will be affected by this certificate expiration and recommend that you follow the instructions in the TID's below to avoid interruptions to your business.

DirXML 1.x: (Only Java drivers using SSL and running in a Remote Loader configuration will be affected) - See TID 10098323

ZEN for Servers: (Only encrypted distributions running on any version of ZenWorks Server Management are affected) TID 10098334

Java base driver running within remote loader will not start when configured to use SSL.

On July 28th, 2005, the JCE 1.2.1 will no longer work with the DirXML 1.1a framework. Specifically when running a Java-based driver within the remote loader and have SSL enabled. The solution provided by Sun is to upgrade the 1.2.1 JCE to 1.2.2. To reiterate, this is only a problem with Java base driver shims run within remote loader using SSL to the engine. All other shim are unaffected (including the eDirectory driver).

This is a quote from the SUN Website .

"The Java Cryptography Extension (JCE) 1.2.1 is an optional package for J2SE 1.2.x and 1.3.x that provides a framework and implementations for encryption, key generation, key agreement, and Message Authentication Code (MAC) algorithms."

In ZENworks Server Management we employ the JCE to encrypt Distributions. Expiration will render these types of distributions unusable on July 27, 2005. For more information from Sun see Sunalert

- Bucky

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Use iMonitor instead for eDirectory Health Checks

iMonitor is the preferred tool to check the health of eDirectory. iMonitor is a browser based utility that has it's own http stack on the server. Since eDirectory runs on many platforms, it is in our best interest to become familiar with this valuable tool.

Yes, I still use DSREPAIR to do a quick check on Synchronization, but what if I need a check on Linux?

To access iMonitor, perform the following steps:

  1. First ensure that the iMonitor executable is running on the eDirectory server. (NDSIMON.NLM on NetWare, ndsimonitor on Linux)
  2. Open your Web browser.
  3. In the address (URL) field, enter:


For example:

Useful Documents on running iMonitor:
  1. iMonitor Basics
  2. More iMonitor Basics
  3. Using iMonitor for eDirectory Health Checks
  4. Using iMonitor for Advanced Troubleshooting
  5. iMonitor in-depth
  6. iMonitor on Linux with eDirectory
- Bucky

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

How often should I run DSREPAIR?

At some onsite visits I have seen NetWare Administrators use CRON jobs to run unattended DSREPAIR's. This is not good! I love this quote, "you don't check your oil level by draining it all out, you use the dipstick."

If you are going to do a repair, you shouldn't use the Unattended option unless you have a really good reason, and those essentially don't exist anymore. If you need to fix something try to fix that one thing instead of throwing your entire database through the DSRepair blender. Usually, things will be okay if you run the repair but some rare situations could cause pain and suffering you will not want to deal with. Don't hammer nails with shotguns ... find problems and troubleshoot them specifically if at all possible. Learn to use iMonitor effectively.

DSRepair is not a maintainence tool, it's a fix tool. Using it properly requires that you understand the problem first - don't use it for a shotgun approach to troubleshooting, as you will nearly always get yourself in deeper by doing that.

Check out these two very good articles on DSREPAIR
  1. Using DSREPAIR Appropriately
  2. More about DSREPAIR
- Bucky

Monday, July 18, 2005

Synthetic Time on Non-NetWare Platforms

The previous article mentioned that NetWare servers will display a warning message on the console when synthetic time is being used. But how about other platforms that eDirectory runs on, such as Windows and Linux? Since eDirectory runs as a service on these platforms there is no console for it to use. There are two ways in which you can determine if synthetic time is being used: health check option in iMonitor or via SNMP reporting.

Article by Peter Kuo

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Treating Synthetic Time with Respect

Many of us have encountered the infamous "Synthetic time is being issues on partition XYZ". Synthetic time occurs when the modification timestamp (MTS) on at least one object in the partition is set to a time that is in the future. We know the general fix is to declare a new time epoch -- even DSRepair tells you that in its log file when it detects objects with future MTSs. However, what is less commonly known is the side-effect of such an action.

Peter Kuo shares a couple of nifty ways to address synthetic time problems, depending on how far in the future the Modification Time Stamp is (years versus hours).

Check out this Novell Cool Solution

Friday, July 08, 2005

News from Premium Service July 2005

There are two Newsletters every month on this blog. This is the second newsletter for the month of July.

News from Premium Service

- Bucky

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Novell GroupWise 7.0 Public Beta

The Novell GroupWise 7.0 Public Beta has started. Whether you are testing GroupWise in your environment for the first time, or have been using it for years, we welcome you and your comments on our latest version, GroupWise 7.

Download the GroupWise 7.0 Beta now!

Novell GroupWise Sequoia includes several new and exciting features to help increase user productivity and server scalability, as well as new APIs for developers to create more powerful add-on products.

- The user experience provides a fresh look, more powerful features and minimal retraining for users switching between the various clients, or upgrading from GroupWise 6.5.

- A new, colorful calendar interface and navigation highlight the Win32 client.

- The Linux and Mac clients now include rules, a spell checker and junk mail handling.

- Agent scalability has been increased with the addition of IP connections between agents and gateways and improved multi-processor support.

- A new SOAP interface allows server side access of data for partners writing applications.
All of this comes with the same leading security and reliability that GroupWise is known for.

Preview of the Novell GroupWise 7 Client

Preview of Novell GroupWise 7 WebAccess

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Goodbye Microsoft and Red Hat, Hello Novell and ROI

If you're a county goverment tasked with providing services for half a million citizens—and you have a very finite number of taxpayer dollars to do it—you're going to want to make the most of your limited IT budget. It's not surprising then that Jefferson County, Colorado was looking at Linux and open source applications to serve its 3,500 employees in 46 locations in the Denver metro area.

Jefferson County was already running quite a bit of Linux (mostly Red Hat) and the Novell team in Denver saw an opportunity. Lead by Dan Webster, Named Account Executive, and Mike Friesenegger, Network & Systems Specialist, the team worked with the county to create a major win, both for the citizens of Colorado and for Novell.

Jefferson County will run many of its core applications on Novell SUSE LINUX Enterprise Server 9, including its Electronic Data Management System, Remedy and Oracle applications. The county selected Novell GroupWise over Microsoft Exchange for collaboration and is running the GroupWise Linux client on SUSE LINUX Enterprise Server. Moving to Linux has helped Jefferson County reduce its hardware costs by 50 percent, by replacing large UNIX servers with Intel hardware. The county also reduced its software costs nearly 30 percent with open source products.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Newsletter July 2005

This newsletter is a collection of information from Novell. It is provided to give you insight on how Novell can help.

What is the benefit to you? The biggest benefit is it provides links into Novell's website that can provide you with more information. Information that will help you pro-actively plan and manage your network environment; links where you can find tools, answers and solutions.

See the July 2005 Newsletter for details


VIRUS Warnings

Technical Information Documents


Cool Solutions

Advanced Technical Training

Support Life Cycle

Novell In The News