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Migrate your network from NetWare to NT, or from NT to NetWare.

NetWare to NT:

For complex historical reasons, the H&A main office had a Novell NetWare network since 1993, while the other (much smaller) offices initially implemented Windows NT several years afterward. For years, H&A maintained both network types, handling the challenges and issues of interoperation as they arose.

In late 2000, the company decided that it would prefer to standardise on a single network operating system, and chose NT. It was my task to perform the migration. Two offices were affected, both in Boston. One was the lab, with only about 10 staff; the other was the company's main office, with about 250 staff.

NT provides some migration tools, but they only handle the basic skeleton of the network--user IDs, file and directory rights, group memberships. The real question was, what hardware, software, or processes did we have in place that depended on NetWare, directly or indirectly? The answer turned out to be, quite a few of all three. So, the migration really was mostly a process of preparing, by identifying each of these dependencies and addressing them as appropriate.

Because the lab is a much smaller office, it was convenient to migrate them first, thereby encountering all the issues we'd expect in the Boston upgrade, but with very few users inconvenienced if it turned out I'd overlooked anything. In the actual event, the upgrade went smoothly. Boston's upgrade, a multistage process, took place in early 2001, by which time I was already living in England and really did perform the migration remotely! Essentially, we migrated each NetWare-dependent service separately, verifying that each one was successfully operating from NT before moving on to the next. Last to go were the data files, after which all but one NetWare server was shut down.

I'm pleased to be able to report that the users were hardly able to tell that anything had changed.

The need for caution, research, and careful preparation made the migration much like an upgrade.

NT to NetWare:

At InterVoice, the corporate network is primarily NetWare. The former Brite offices, however, grew up as NT offices. There was almost no interoperation, which meant that staff in former Brite offices couldn't be granted rights on NetWare file servers and couldn't access resources on them. There was a continual problem with sharing files. The company therefore decided to implement NetWare in the former Brite offices, giving each user a NetWare account. I was hired to carry out this objective.

Users now all have NetWare accounts, and have the NetWare client on their workstations. We now have a single, company-wide network wherein any user can be granted access to resources anywhere. The US Help Desk no longer faces a black hole in the former Brite offices.

Copyright © 2002 Lisa Nelson. Last Modified: 3 March 2004 Back to Top