Changes are coming

Due to technical reasons I'll be getting to in a moment, this blog will be moving off of WWU's servers in the next few weeks. I have high confidence that the redirects I'll be putting in place will work and keep any existing links to the existing content still ultimately pointing at their formal home. In fact, those of you reading by way of the RSS or Atom feeds won't even notice. Images I link in will probably load a bit slower(+), and that's about it.

And now for the technical reasons. I've been keeping it under my hat since it has politics written all over it and I so don't go there on this blog. But WWU has decided (as of last September actually) that they're dropping the Novell contract and going full Microsoft to save money. And really, I've seen the financials. Much as it pains this red heart, the dollars speak volumes. It really is cheaper to go Microsoft, to the tune of around $83,000. In this era of budget deficits, that's most of an FTE. Speaking as the FTE most likely to get cut in this department, that makes it kind of personal.

Microsoft? The cheap option?

Yes, go fig. But that's how the pricing is laid out. We were deep enough into the blue beast already (Exchange, MS-SQL, SharePoint is embryonic but present and going to grow, there is Office on every Windows desktop) that going deeper wasn't much of an extra cost per year. To put it even more bluntly, "Novell did not provide enough value for the cost."

The question of what's happening to our SLES servers is still up for debate. We could get those support certificates from Microsoft directly. Or buy them retail from Novell. I don't know what we're doing there.

Which means that we're doing a migration project to replace the WUF 6-node NetWare cluster with something on Windows that does the same things. NetStorage is the hardest thing to replace (I know I'm going to miss it), but the file-serving and printing are challenging but certainly manageable. The "myweb" service will continue, and be served by a LAMP server with the home directories Samba-mounted to it, so it will continue as Apache. It could have been done with IIS, but it was an ugly hack.

As soon as we get hardware (7/1 is when the money becomes available) we'll be hitting the fast phase of the project. We hope to have it all in place by fall quarter. We'll still maintain the eDirectory replica servers for the rest of the Novell stuff on campus that is not supported (directly) by me. But for all intents and purposes, Technical Services will be out of the NetWare/OES business by October.


No, no. That's not the reason I'm moving this blog. Unfortunately for this blog, there was exactly one regular user of the SFTP service we provided(*). Me. So that's one service we're not migrating. It could be done with cygwin's SSH server and some cunning scripting to synchronize the password database in cygwin with AD, if I really wanted to. But... it's just me. Therefore, I need to find an alternate method for Blogger to push data at the blog.

Couple that with some discrete hints from some fellow employees that just maybe, perhaps, a blog like mine really shouldn't be run from Western's servers, and you have another reason. Freedom of information and publish-or-perish academia not withstanding, I am staff not tenured faculty. Even with that disclaimer at the top of the blog page (that you RSS readers haven't seen since you subscribed) that says I don't speak for Western, what I say unavoidably reflects on the management of this University. I've kept this in mind from the start, which is why I don't talk about contentious issues the University is facing on any term other than how they directly affect me. And also why this is the first time I've mentioned the dropping of the Novell contract until it is effectively written in stone.

So. It's time to move off of Western's servers. The migration will probably happen close to the time we cut-over MyWeb to the new servers. Which is fitting, really, as this was the first web-page on MyWeb. This'll also mean that this blog will no longer be served to you by a NetWare 6.5 server. Yep, for those that didn't know this blog's web-server is Apache2 running on NetWare 6.5.

(+) Moving from a server with an effective load-average of 0.25 to one closer to 3.00 (multi-core, though) does make a difference. Also, our pipes are pretty clean relatively speaking.

(*) Largely because when we introduced this service, NetWare's openssh server relied on a function in libc that liked to get stuck and render the service unusable until a reboot. MyWeb was also affected by that. That was back in 2004-06. The service instability drove users away, I'm sure. NetStorage is more web-like anyway, which users like better.


Sad to hear of the migration, however when it comes to cost.... I guess you can't refute the facts.As they say "Sorry about your loss."

good luck buddyMS is NOT cheaperOpen Office is freetoo bad so sadblog removed from favorites

Yeah. I knew I was going to lose readership when this got announced. No worries. I don't agree with the move, but I couldn't come up with enough convincing counter-arguments to stop it. I am far from the only NetWare sysadmin to have been here.

It's a shame it came to that. I know you can't speak about it, but I wonder if Novell even tried to retain WWU as a customer. Hopefully they didn't do the ol' head up the arse routine they are stereotyped as doing often.I feel like they need to sustain their user base, even if it's a wash on the balance sheet. Part of the Microsoft snow ball effect is because..."everyone uses Microsoft so..."I'll still keep reading. This is one of the better tech blogs out there, even if the NetWare part is falling off.

A) I can't believe someone is dropping you because you're moving away from Novell + Microsoft into JUST Microsoft, and the reason they're claiming is (apparently?) open source? weird. B) I'm really interested in how you're going to do redirects. Can you Expound (get it? Hah! I kill me!) on that a little more?

Novell is long past it's hayday.However you mention the need to support AFP for the macshow are you going to handle this with windows? I ask because there are not real great solutions this this problemOn linux you have netatalk but development on it has slowed to a practical haltOn windows you have MacSeverIP and ExtemezIP however both these soulutions are extremely expensive on the scale you need.It is also noteable that the big NAS manufactures are not including AFp in their devices.Macs talking to windows file sever of CIFS can be done but the results ain't pretty

You had very interesting posts, sorry to delete you from my Novell favorites folder.