GroupWise Maintenance Best Practices
Software Installation and Patching
Patching in a Timely Manner
In situations where GroupWise is not functioning properly, it is important to determine if the latest software patches have been applied. When dealing with Novell Technical Services, one of the first orders of business will be to make sure that all clients and agents have been updated to the latest release. Patches are available from the Novell download site
Fixes that are included in each patch can be found in the download readme.
Software Distribution Directories
Use the following steps when dealing with software distribution directories (SDDs):
- Create a master SDD containing a fully patched and installable Novell GroupWise CD. No post offices should be assigned to use this SDD. This will allow the system administrator to update this directory without inadvertently triggering the Client Auto-Update procedure.
- Burn a copy of the master SDD to CD for backup purposes. A fully patched and installable GroupWise CD may prove to be extremely handy, whether for restoring SDDs or for creating new ones at remote sites.
- Place SDDs on application servers rather than mail servers. This will simplify server licensing, backup procedures, and application delivery. Be sure to grant users sufficient access (read and file scan) to the client subdirectory, allowing them to run setup at will.
Applying the Service Packs
Beginning with GroupWise 6, most Support Packs are complete installation sets for GroupWise, and no longer require that you "apply" the patch to an existing SDD. It is highly recommended that you do NOT copy a GroupWise Support Pack over your existing SDD, rather that you replace the entire SDD with the new files. The easiest way to do this is:
- Extract the Support Pack into a directory parallel to your existing SDD. For example, your SDD might be VOL1:/GWSDD, and you could make the new directory VOL1:/GWSDD2
- Rename the existing SDD - for example, rename VOL1:/GWSDD to VOL1:/GWSDD.OLD
- Rename the SP directory to be the name of the original SDD (i.e., from VOL1:/GWSDD2 to VOL1:/GWSDD
Apply administration upgrades and patches to every workstation where Novell GroupWise administration is run. This ensures that only the latest GroupWise Administrator ConsoleOne snap-ins are used. Once applied lock out older snap-ins at the system level to ensure that old management tools are not applied.
Use these steps for server upgrades:
- Test new agent software on a lab server that is configured exactly like your production servers. A good test system is invaluable. Novell tests software thoroughly before shipping it, but all possible configurations cannot be tested. Your test system offers you an added layer of defense against defects or incompatibilities.
- Pilot new agent software on one domain and post office for at least a week. This will allow you to continue your testing without committing to the new software on all servers. It will provide you with an accurate idea of how the new software will work on the rest of your production system.
Version upgrades, ie 7.x -> 8.x
To upgrade from previous versions of GroupWise to 8.x, you run setup.exe and select "Install Groupwise System", then "Update an existing system"
Minor Upgrades, ie 8.0.1 -> 8.0.2
To upgrade from say 8.0.1 to GroupWise to 8.0.2, you run setup.exe and select "Install Groupwise System", then "Install individual components". Then select agents and/or gwia as required. At the page "Installation path" you check "Install the software files but do not configure the agents".
Distribution GroupWise Client Updates
ZENworks (and NAL) are the best tools to distribute the Novell GroupWise Client (as well as any other software).
ZENworks for Desktops is a far more powerful tool for software distribution than the auto-update tools included with GroupWise for updating the client software. For example, the GW Auto-update forces everyone on an entire post office to upgrade, whereas you can be much more granular with an application object associated with a group of users or container. When you create application objects for GroupWise, you may choose to include customized registry entries with the address of the ngwnameserver POA.
Beginning with GW6 SP1 there is often a set of pre-configured .AOT files for distribution via ZENworks for Desktops. It is located in the <name of GWSDD>\client\ZEN folder.
Use ZENworks for Desktops to distribute GroupWise Client updates to all LAN users.
AutoUpdate and SetupIP
You may also consider using the GroupWise AutoUpdate feature. AutoUpdate notifies users of the availability of new client software that may then be downloaded and installed using either a mapped drive or an IP connection to the SDD.
If you choose to use the AutoUpdate feature of GroupWise, Novell recommends doing so over an IP connection.
Please refer to the Novell GroupWise SetupIP Client Installation Guide.
GroupWise Client Code
Always keep the Novell GroupWise Client code up-to-date. Many performance and stability issues are patched in both the client and the POA engine libraries. Old versions of the GroupWise client may defeat the purpose of a current POA patch. Some features available in GroupWise require that both the client and agents run the same code level.
Advance Notice of Updates
Notify end-users in advance of any GroupWise Client updates. This is common courtesy.
Please refer to the following GroupWise documentation:
NWAdmin should not be used to administer GroupWise version 6 or newer.
Use only the latest version of ConsoleOne and the GroupWise snapins. To ensure that only ConsoleOne is to be used for administration, disable NWAdmin GroupWise Administration on upgraded systems.
ConsoleOne should be used for all administration, with the following exceptions:
- Async Gateway
- API Gateway
- Exchange Gateway
- Notes Gateway
Use this list of steps for scheduled maintenance:
- Check and fix the structure of the information store nightly. Create an event (and enable it on each POA) that checks the structure of User, Message, and Document databases each evening during the week. Schedule this operation to run before the nightly backup.
- Check and fix the contents of the information store weekly. Create an event (and enable it on each POA) that checks the structure and contents of User, Message, and Document databases over the weekend. Schedule this operation to run following the Friday night backup. Review the log files Monday morning to determine the health of your message stores.
- Run Expire and Reduce to enforce the retention policy. Run Expire/Reduce on the message store at least weekly to enforce mailbox retention policies.
- Run Reduce Only to manage database sizes. Run Reduce Only on the information store at least weekly to manage the sizes of the GroupWise information store databases. Note: It is unnecessary to perform a Reduce Only if expire/reduce is run. After expiring, the reduce is automatically run.
- Leave "Nightly User Upkeep" enabled and set to occur early morning, after midnight. Leave the Nightly User Upkeep option on the POA enabled so uncompleted tasks are pushed forward to the next date on the calendar, deleted items are purged from the Trash folder according to the "Empty Trash / Automatic after" setting, and Personal Address Book entries are synchronized with the corresponding System Address Book entries (in case users are moved).
- Leave Quickfinder Indexing enabled. Leave Quickfinder Indexing enabled so Find activities are returned more quickly and less demand is made on the POA for each Find.
- Lock Cleanup Options to "Manual Delete and Archive." This will force users to choose which items they wish to store in their GroupWise Archives, preventing unnecessary expansion of archive directories. Cleanup should be performed via scheduled maintenance and should be done in accordance with your e-mail policy.
- Lock the archive path to the network "USERS" volume. Lock the path to a drive letter that is map-rooted to the user's home directory so that the setting will correctly apply to all users. You may also choose to place space restrictions on users to discourage abuse of the archive. With archives on the network, the administrator has the ability to back up user archives and can run maintenance on them without visiting user workstations. Do not store GroupWise archives on the mail volume.
- Set mailbox size limits. Locking the size of user's mailboxes allows you to control the size of the information store; users can see the space utilization of their mailbox from the GroupWise 6 client under Tools | Check Mailbox Size.
- Set message size limits. GroupWise 6 and above allows you to set a limit for the size for both internal (within the GroupWise system) and external (i.e., Internet mail) messages. Again, establishing this policy allows for greater control of the size of the information store as well as messaging traffic.
- Set the disk check event to operate at a value equivalent to 20 times the size of the largest USR or MSG database. Protect the datastore by stopping processing at 8 times that database size.
Use these guidelines for backup:
- Back up the Novell GroupWise Information Store nightly. The information store is everything under the post office directory. This includes the OFUSER, OFMSG, OFFILES, OFWORK and GWDMS directory structures. Whatever backup strategy you currently use, consider that many GroupWise database files remain open continuously and may even be in use (written to) during your backup. Your strategy should allow for the capture of these open files.
- Provide fault tolerance for the primary domain. Run Reduce Only on the information store at least weekly to manage the sizes of the GroupWise. Again, there is no need to do this if expire/reduce is running.
- Back up each domain database nightly. Domain databases are part of the administration system, and if they are damaged, they can be rebuilt from the primary domain database. If, however, changes made to a domain database have not been replicated to the primary yet, a simple rebuild may result in the loss of those administrative records (user objects, distribution lists, etc.) Having a recent backup to synchronize these records will make the rebuild more complete.
- Manually back up the primary domain database prior to and immediately following any major system changes. If you are merging systems, adding large numbers of users, or making other dramatic changes, use the DBCopy tool to capture the domain database before and after the changes have been made. This will make it possible for you to back out if necessary.
Use the following guidelines for restoration:
- One or more servers should be on standby to receive restored backup tapes. This will allow for restoration of data without requiring the live system to be overwritten. This is especially useful if old e-mail is subpoenaed. Since Novell GroupWise 6 and above allows for per-mailbox restoration, a GroupWise client would access this server to restore the mailbox. The entire post office would need to be restored to this server.
- Backup tapes should be restored periodically. This will serve as a spot-check of tape viability and will help the administration team establish time frames and procedures for disaster recovery plans.
TODO: Add common issue and resolution for tomcat running out of memory
- GroupWise Import/Export Utility This utility is an add-on to ConsoleOne that enables you to transfer GroupWise information into and out of eDirectory.