Journal For Week of July 17, 2000

Last Update: Sunday, July 23, 2000 08:23 PM


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Monday July 17, 2000 

I have an all day orientation session at work today, so it is not likely that anything of interest will happen today.

My friendly neighbourhood owl returned again last night. It sat on the light post out side my window, and hooted up a storm again. I had to make an effort to block out the sound of the hooting so I could get to sleep.

Well off to work a few minutes early so I can take a look at the backup tapes before heading into the orientation session.

Update: I am now one step father along to fixing the backup problem at work. I came in early so I could check to see if the Friday night backup ran on the primary server, which I had problems with all last week. It had failed and still says that it is a media problem. Between orientation sessions I checked the Arcserve help files and manual to verify that our setup of two DLT tape drives running off one server is supported. It was like pulling teeth to find the information I needed, but I was able to confirm that the configuration is valid. My next best guess was that Arcserve wants to see the tape drives ID numbers in order on the SCSI chain, so that the lowest ID is the first in the chain and the highest being the last in the chain, and the chain being terminated at the last device. So I turned off the drives, and re-cabled them so that the they were in order according to ID. I then fired the drives up again and setup two test backups, one for each drive. Bingo! both backups ran. Now to see if both normally scheduled backups run tonight and tomorrow morning.

Got started on my NetWare 4.11 install at home tonight. Made up a boot disk so I can logon to my NetWare 5 server from the soon to be NetWare 4.11 box. Mapped a drive to the CD Rom which I have mounted as a volume. Started having problems with drivers, plus running out of time so I have left the partial install to be worked on tomorrow.


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Tuesday July 18, 2000

First thing I did when I got into the office this morning was to load Arcserve manager on my PC to check the status of the evening backup. It ran successfully, so I am definitely on track to getting the backup regiment straightened out and running reliably. It sure is nice not to see a red status indicator by last nights job.

Looks like backups really are my baby now. My boss has asked me to take care of the off site copies, and reconfigure the tape rotation. So I have now modified my backup log to include a schedule including reminders about the fire copies.

Spent half the morning labeling DLT and DAT tapes for the new tape rotation. I now have tapes Monday thru Thursday for each of the five servers which will get reused every week. Then there are tapes Friday 1, 2, 3, 4 which get rotated every week, which will give me the ability to go back up to a month if need be.

Found out at the end of day that I had missed one server. I forgot about the Unix server since I physically don't have any dealings with it in a day to day basis. The Unix server is what all the wireless barcode readers communicate with. All the info on the Unix server is batch processed every few minutes and sent to an NT server to be processed into the inventory control Oracle database. 

Found out that a new server that has been talked about has now been ordered. The new server is to run NetWare 5.0, and we/I are going to move all the print services off an existing server and onto the new server. Now I need to research running a mixed NetWare environment. The only issue I believe is that I have to upgrade the version of NDS running on the two existing NetWare 4.11 servers before adding the NetWare 5.0 server into the mix.


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Wednesday July 19, 2000

I inherited a ton of reference material when I moved in my workspace. I am starting to collect my own reference material and need space to store it. So I went through all the stuff on my desk and only ended up putting one sales brochure in the garbage. I did though manage to shuffle things around enough to free up a few inches of storage space. A good start but a long ways to go.

I was hoping that in the course of going through everything on my desk that I would find documentation on the Cheyenne Client Agent for Unix. I need this to get the Unix backup running. Finally found the whole Client Agent package in the software locker. The documentation is sparse, but good enough. Now if I could just put together a test SCO Unix box to fiddle with before working on the production unit.

Had to do some clean up on the SYS volume on the development server today. Arcserve runs on this server and when it tries to write it's log files it nearly fills the volume to capacity, causing NetWare to broadcast messages about the volume running out of space. So there was documentation and Support Pack source files that are not required, so I deleted them to free up some storage space.

Lots of time spent to find and document the cleaning intervals for the DAT and DLT tape drives.The DLT drives are intelligent and indicate when they need to be cleaned. The DAT drives on the other had do not, and the documentation from HP say that based on my using one tape per day that the drive should be cleaned weekly. I think that is excessive and need to look else where for information. I have ran into this once before where the cleaning interval was too frequent and the tape heads were worn to the point of being non serviceable in a rather short time. Ah! check the documentation further and cleaning once every 8 weeks is recommended. Much more reasonable, I would rather though have a recommendation of cleaning per hours of use.

On the home front I finally got NetWare 4.11 installed. The problem turned out to be that the SCSI adapter and the NetGear PCI NIC were conflicting. This caused the SCSI adapter driver in Netware to hang up. I swapped out the NIC for an old tried and true 3Com ISA NIC, and after a fresh install of NetWare the server runs fine. Now later this week I want to install the same Support Packs as the servers at work are running. I want to do this as I think that the work servers are missing some utilities, and I want verify if the utilities should or should not be there.


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Thursday July 20, 2000

Kind of a slow day at work today. Went through and cleaned up some documentation, then hit the web to find some good NetWare 4.11 support pages. Found that the forums on the Novell site offer some good info. For instance I found out that last week that a new support pack for NW4.11 had been released. I wanted to see if there are any issues with it. So I went into the NetWare 4 forum and found no details on issues, but that the other people answering support pack questions mostly seem to agree that SP7 is stable and should be used. The forums also pointed me to some third party FTP servers which have some of the older support packs which are hard to find on the Novell site. 

Had a sort chat with my boss on policy in regards to support packs. We seem to be on the same page in that we don't want to be early implementers and have to deal with bugs.

Spent a little time with NDSmanager to see how the NDS partitions are setup and how the replication has been configured. Been way too long since I last visited NDS at this level. I need to dust off some some of the reference material at home and read up on NDS partitioning and replication.

Got to thinking tonight that if the PCI NIC I took out of the server yesterday was giving my SCSI adapter grief, could it also explain why my SCSI CD ROM would not work under DOS. So I booted the server with a DOS boot disk with SCSI CD support, and the drive worked. The old thing is that this server before I put it in storage worked with the PCI NIC. 

Back from my run and finally a cool breeze is coming in the windows. The last few nights have been very calm wind wise and warm. This makes may house rather stuffy, so the breeze is very welcome.


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Friday July 21, 2000

The project for the day has been to find out why Backup Exec kills Oracle when doing a backup. Well I confirmed that the Oracle Agent for Backup Exec has not been running. The agent is required to be able to do a proper backup while the database is in use. The Oracle Agent service was not running, and not set to start automatically when the NT Server is booted. Further the agent does not show up in Backup Exec Manager so I cannot select the data base for the agent to manage during backup. At the moment I think my two options are to 1) reboot the server 2) reinstall the Oracle Agent. Both options require stopping all access to the database, which I am sure will not go over well, I maybe back in the office in the middle of the night so I can get this work done.

Broke down and did a reinstall of the Oracle client for Backup Exec. No reboot required which was my biggest concern. Now able to reconfigure the backup to use the client to backup the Oracle database while it is in use. Not much happening the next few days in the way of batch processing in the evening so it will be a while before I can see if I have configured things correctly.

On Monday or Tuesday a consultant from the company which services our server hardware is coming in to work on the RAID Array on our big HP NT server. This I believe will be the third person they will be sending in to get the job done. The job is to replace our current hard drives in the RAID array with much larger capacity 32 GIG drives. The first two consultants were unable to get the job done. I am tempted to research the job and then watch to see how they do the job. I will be watch over the consultants shoulder any way as my boss has asked me to.

Had to help one of the shop equipment maintenance guys with the computer for a PVC  extrusion machine. The PC is a kind of laptop desktop hybrid which is mounted in a housing at eye level. The manufacturer refers to this a an industrial computer. The keyboard is build around the LCD screen and only has the function keys, number pad and cursor keys. He had to replace the LCD screen as the operator punched the screen and broke the clear plastic protective cover. This is not the first time this has happened, he has found screens with screw drivers stick in them, key pads cut up by operators who push keys with sharp chisels. An industrial plant floor is not a nice place to be a computer I guess.

I remember now how I had managed to get the NetGear PCI NIC to work in the server before. I was running NetWare 5 not 4.11 so different drivers would have been used. I probably never noticed the CD ROM problem because I never needed it as I upgraded the NIC once NetWare 5 was up and running, so I never would have had need to use the CD ROM drive in DOS.


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Saturday July 22, 2000

Ah the weekend! The sky is clear and the temperature is already up in the mid twenties at noon. 

Server rebuilding time started today. Started with my Netware 4.11 box which I just built. Took it down and changed some BIOS setting so that the PCI NIC will work ( thanks JHR for the reminder to check the BIOS settings ). 

This server has been renamed Pinky and it is a slow, scrawny machine. But I don't need it to be very powerful as it's purpose is to help me do some NDS work. I am planning when I rebuild my NetWare 5  server (Brain) to have it join the NDS tree I on Pinky.

I has taken me a hours, but I think I finally have found all of the information on what upgrades I need to make to Pinky, to get NDS to a version level where I can add a Netware 5 server to the Directory Services Tree on Pinky. 


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Sunday July 23, 2000

I have added a few new Novell links on my bookmarks page. The new links are for NetWare 4.11/5 documentation, and to the Support Connection Forums. 

Pinky with a fresh install of NetWare 4.11 and support Pack 7a installed has NDS version 5.73 installed. According to TID ( Technical Information Document ) 10015538 I need to have NDS version 6.02 installed on Pinky before I can add a NetWare 5 server to the NDS Tree. To accomplish this I downloaded the Directory Services Patch ds411q.

Following the instructions in the text file which came with the patch, I rename 6 NLM files which are going to be replaced. Out of curiosity I check the dates on the new verses the old files and find that the old files have either the same date or are newer. This has to be due to the Support Patch I applied. I decide to go forward with the process and use the files from the Directory Services Patch.

At the server console I enter the command set dstrace =*. to reload Directory Services. I dismount, then remount the sys volume to resolve any cache and connection problems. After all this I open NDSmanager and verify that the NDS version is now 6.02.

I checked the files that the Support Pack backed up and find that the 6 files I mentioned above are very old. If I had not applied SP7a I would have to apply ds411q to up the version of NDS to 6.02

I renamed the original NLM files, ran dstrace again, dismounted, remounted the sys volume which set the NDS version to 6.04. Now everything is set to rebuild my NetWare 5 server and join it to the NDS Tree on Pinky. So all I really needed to do after adding the Support Pack was run dstrace, the dismount and remount the sys volume. 

Copyright 1999, 2000 John Doucette. All Rights Reserved


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