Novell Open Audio had a podcast last week about Open Enterprise Server 2 (it's official, that's the name). It was quite long, and full of nice information. Probably the best bit was about Shadow Volumes, which I've mentioned before. That just keeps getting better and better! I highly recommend listening to the pod-cast.

I've known for a while that it allows policy based migration of data to older/slower/cheaper media. Unlike traditional HSM technologies, Shadow Volumes are based on the last-modified date rather than the last-accessed date. Also, policies can include file types as well, so you can migrate your large multi-media files to media that handles long contiguous reads better. Or just migrate files larger than 50MB to that faster media. Whatever.

One scenario mentioned in the pod-cast was about data migrations of extremely large data. One Novell cluster mentioned in the pod-cast had 420TB of data in it. Ooo! Migrating THAT to a new SAN would take weeks. How it works is this:
  1. Set up the new server
  2. Configure the volume on the new server to use the old SAN as the migrate (i.e. slow) media
  3. Do the server migration itself
  4. As users modify data on the old SAN, it gets tagged for migration to the new SAN. In a week/month/whatever most of the active data is on the new SAN, and the older SAN gets less and less data.
  5. When the time comes to decomission the old SAN (assuming that's what you want to do) the total data migration is a lot easier.
Freaking cool.

Unfortunately, this is an OES2-Linux product only. It can use NetWare volumes as migration targets, but NetWare won't do the policy based decisions. Darn.

Also mentioned is that OES2 will include SP7 for NetWare 6.5, which will introduce Xen paravirtualization to NetWare. IMHO, this is spiffy if your hardware vendor has stopped significant NetWare support (*cough*dell*cough*) and you still need to use it. For us we'll probably stick with 'bare metal' installs for the time being, at least until we get proof that running a Xen-virtualized NetWare instance on a 64-bit server runs faster than the same NetWare running bare-metal on a 64-bit server (in 32-bit emulation mode).

It also sounds like they've spend serious time getting NSS and NCP faster. This is very needed, as I showed earlier. As file I/O is much more CPU bound on Linux than on NetWare, any improvements they can make will be appreciated.

Also, they hope (but are not promising) to give out a public beta of OES2 to all BrainShare attendees. I predict another round of benchmarking come early April.

OES2 is currently slated for relase in the late-May early-June timeframe. This is nifty, as that's the start of Summer for us. Though, we're not migrating right away unless we are blown away by the differences.


I'm very much looking forward to OES2. We're a Dell customer, and when I went to buy a 2u rack mount this summer, I realized that their new line of rack servers would not be supporting NetWare. So I actually bought an older model at the horror of my sales rep. I've signed up to the beta program on Novell's website. I'll have to wait and see if I get contacted about it. But I'm very much looking forward to trying it out, seeing as there's a very good chance I'll be running it full time down the road. I do hope, however, that they clean up the server based install/management bits from OES SP2 on Linux. It's still has a bit of the wild west feel to me compared to NetWare.

Glad the show was of such use to you! Thanks for the extensive review.