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GroupWise Migration Complete

Thanks to a lot of hard work by Denys, and no thanks to Novell support, we’ve finished moving all our GroupWise users to our new GroupWise server architecture.

Our old system consisted of six post offices hosted on a two-node NetWare cluster using Novell Cluster Services. There were six post offices as part of a history that included corporate political influences that helped create a functional but sub-optimal technical design. We had an opportunity to upgrade to GroupWise 7, migrate to new hardware, and consolidate to an architecture that included one post office per server on three servers, all in one operation. We built new servers, consisting of three virtual machines running SLES9, hosting one post office each, but with the storage for those post offices held on a fourth server running Solaris, with the post office data on ZFS filesystems, and remote-mounted on the SLES boxes. The beauty of this is that we can do backups with about 10 seconds or less of downtime per post office per day, and we can do speculative changes with near-instant rollback if the changes do anything unexpected. ZFS is your friend.

Anyways, the thanks for Denys is for all the effort he put in to move more than 600 users, many resources and several distribution lists from the six old post offices to the three new ones, and dealing with the aftermath of broken passwords that ensued.

The no-thanks to Novell support is for the lack of help fixing a bug that causes mailbox caching passwords to break when you move a user from a NetWare-created GroupWise post office to a Linux-hosted GroupWise 7 post office. Despite us filing a Premium Support ticket, and Novell recognizing a bug (GroupWise defect 239947) and refunding our support ticket, they never fixed the bug, and after months of us waiting, they even stopped responding for our requests for a status update on the bug. GroupWise 7 SP2 came out without the bug fixed, and we had to proceed and fix 600 broken passwords manually. Hence the ensuing aftermath.

Anyways, we’re finally done with the migration, and our new architecture is much more scalable than the former one. I expect that by adding post office virtual machines on additional blades, plus adding storage management Solaris blades as required, we’ll be able to scale up to several thousand users, which should work for us for the foreseeable future.

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Categories: GroupWise, zfs
  1. 2007-06-19 at 18:51

    Hey Scott — glad to hear that ZFS has been treating you well. With a setup like yours, I imagine you’ll start thinking “I wish ZFS could do such-and-such” pretty soon. If so, or if you run into any trouble, please drop us a note over at zfs-discuss@opensolaris.org.

  2. Ian
    2007-06-21 at 13:28

    Ugh. Hopefully Novell gets this bug fixed by the time I start moving my post offices to SLES/OES.

  3. 2007-06-21 at 14:28

    Ian: Please note, the bug only occurs when you move users from one existing NetWare post office to a new Linux post office. It doesn’t seem to happen when you move a whole post office from a NetWare server to a Linux server, so if that is what you are planning to do you should be ok.

    Scott

  4. Ian
    2007-06-22 at 12:09

    Ah, that’s helpful. Thanks for the heads up.

  5. John
    2008-03-11 at 11:20

    Hey Scott,

    THis site is pretty nice seeing how I am still a Groupwise noob. THis is interesting about the password issue you are having. we are about to move from GW 6.5 to GW7 on SLES10 SP1.

    We have about the same amount of users, but only one POA. I am also having issues with deleting old email that is past the email policy. Cant seem to find any clear cut answers on the Novell site and I am sure you know that Novell EOL GW6.5 Think you could give some tips on the migration?

  1. 2008-08-01 at 13:03

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