Warning: NetWare Not Supported on VMware
We have a Novell Premium Support contract for our Novell NetWare file and print servers, Novell Identity Manager, ZenWorks and our GroupWise systems that includes 25 support incidents per year. We rarely ever invoke a support incident, because generally our Novell stuff is very reliable, and we have a lot of experience with it. We usually submit zero or one support requests per year.
We’ve been having a problem with one of our workgroup file servers, which happens to be a NetWare 6.5 server running on VMware. It has been crashing with ever-increasing frequency lately. Last night it crashed and corrupted itself to the point of not being able to start up anymore. Our on-staff CNE invoked a support ticket with Novell to look into the problem last night. After the initial questions were out of the way, when the support tech at Novell found out that the server runs on VMware in production, he told us they don’t support that, that they would refund our support incident, and that we were on our own. They didn’t even offer some basic assistance resolving our problem despite us paying for it and despite our support relationship with them being pretty much pure profit for Novell so far.
Novell trumpets to the world that the way forward for NetWare is to either convert to OES Linux or to run NetWare virtualized. I guess by virtualized, they mean only on their relatively new and not particularly well supported virtual infrastructure and not the industry leading enterprise-ready virtualization infrastructure of VMware.
Now we still have 25 support incidents left on our contract, and a broken NetWare server that we had to rebuild from scratch. We could have come up with that solution without Novell support. I think generally, with our Novell stuff, (which granted is very reliable) if something breaks and we can’t fix it ourselves, neither can Novell Technical Support. The same kind of thing happened to us previously with a GroupWise bug, which still isn’t fixed over a year later as far as I know, but which we’ve long since worked around on our own.