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Novell to AD migration

Making the Move - Help!

As I mentioned earlier, migrations will not be a pretty, whether it be from Netware to Linux or Netware to Microsoft Windows 2003.

However, with Novell's change in strategy, and issues such as end of hardware warranty and server consolidation, together with the need to reduce disparate server operating systems, somewhere along the line you will be forced to do it.

Microsoft, Novell and many other companies have a range of tools to make your migration smoother and to reduce downtime.

Microsoft has a freely downloadable one hundred page paper (don't worry much of it includes step by step screenshots) on how to plan your migration strategy.

The tools covered in the paper include the Microsoft Directory Synchronisation Services (MSDSS) for synchronising your Microsoft Windows 2003 Active Directory service with the Novell Directory service and their File Migration Utility (FMU).

However, you are likely to be better off using tools from Quest ( (opens in new tab)) or Altiris ( (opens in new tab)) who also have white papers on migrating from Novell Netware to Microsoft Active Directory.

Tips from the Field

From personal experience I'd like to offer a few extra tips when planning any migration, whether it is from Novell Netware to Microsoft Windows 2003 or any other operating system.

  1. Plan the migration.
    I know this sounds obvious but depending on the size of your company your migration may take a week, or a year, and you will need to know at any point where in the migration you are. Microsoft, Novell, Quest and Altiris all have a list of project plans that you can use as a template to help lay out a roadmap for your company's migration.
  2. Spend a lot of time piloting and testing.
    You will be surprised at the number of non-standard applications that suddenly appear and there may even be a few that will not migrate over, so you will need to check with vendors for upgrades or perhaps use some of Microsoft tools from the Microsoft Compatibility toolkit (opens in new tab)
  3. Manage users and management's expectations.
    Actually, if you have the available budget, you would be better off having a whole marketing campaign, advising users of the expected changes and benefits but also informing them of periods where they may not be able to work on a specific system.
  4. Plan for risk.
    What happens if an unforeseen circumstance was to occur? Worst possible case scenario? Always have one or two back-up plans.
  5. There is no such thing as 24x7 in a migration.
    Many companies have critical processes that have to be running all the time. However, somewhere along the way during a migration, you will need to stop these processes or have a strategy for double entry.

    For example, even in a 24x7 environment, you may have to prevent access to a certain database because you are switching all users over to the one on the migrated server. If you continue to allow users access to the old database, they are likely to changeadddelete information. This will instantly make the migrated database out of date compared to the old one.

In summary

If you are in a Netware environment you will need to think seriously at what moving to a platform such as Linux compared to Microsoft Windows 2003 is likely to entail. Below are a number of resources that you should read before you make your decision.

Windows Services for Netware download (opens in new tab)

Benefits of migrating from Novell to Windows (opens in new tab)

Windows Datasheet (opens in new tab)

Microsoft's Overall Netware Migration Site

Why Linux is a Better Choice than Windows (opens in new tab)

Ten Reasons to Migrate from Microsoft Windows NT to Linux

Ben Chai is a founder member of ITproPortal and the director of a business which helps with the migration, troubleshooting, security and management of network services.