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Old 05-13-2005, 08:15 PM   #1
Frost
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Moving out of SCO Unix any distros??


We are looking at replacing an older SCO Unix server at work. We need to have file system capabilities and at presetn the Unix box runs FS file server. We have 3 cash registers in the tasting room that connect to the Unix server for the main program. We also use the programs on the Unix server for other applications within our windows XP machines. We access the Unix programs by way of a Unix emulator that resides on our Windows machines called ICE.TEN / TCP.IP This program came from J River Software and also works on Linux distros.

We need the capabilities for it to emulate or interpret NTFS on our machines, and wondered which distro would be best for that?

I have a copy of Mandrake 10.0 on my Lab2 computer at work at the winery, that I can multiboot into for tests. The nice thing about that distro, as I have it at home as well, is that it can recognize SATA drives off a SATA controller on the mohterboard.

I am thinking of when building the Linux machine of using a MB that has SATA capabilities and perhaps using a PCI card that has SATA II or NCQ abilities. With the newere Hard drives like Maxtor Diamond Max 10 that have NCQ and a huge 16 mb buffer, it would certainly be a speed increas over what we are now using. I belive our hard drive for the SCO Unix is a 4 GB SCSI drive and not sure what the processor is, but the main server box dates back to 1997.

Personally I like the Mandrake as it has always been faithfull to install and boot up with no problems. The latest version I have not tried.

Vern
 
Old 05-13-2005, 09:20 PM   #2
jschiwal
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You might want to look on the web, or go to the book store and pick up a couple titles on Samba 3. "The Official Samba-3 HOWTO and Reference Guide" and "Samba-3 by Example". They are both published by Prentice Hall. The samba web site also has a number of sample setups from small to 500 users.
I don't know that much about Sata drives, but it is my prejudice that SCSI raid 5 is the way to go for a corporate server. I think that SCSI will give you the speed and reliability you need even if the server is busy. I use them at work on vary old pentium video servers. Also being able to hot swap a drive is very desirable. ( I wish they were cheaper, I'd use them on my home computer )
 
Old 05-13-2005, 09:21 PM   #3
Jaxn
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I don't know mutch about your set up (I don't understand that much of your setup).

But I would use Debian, becouse it is so easy to upgrade (that works).

Then again, becouse you are happy with mandrake, and it's you(?) who would administrate that machine, your choise is that matters. It's realy not THAT big different between different distributions.
So, if you are happy with Mandrake, use it. If not, try Debian. It's great for building stable servers and still be able to do upgrades (for security) that doesn't make your machine crash under you and make you do a 24h hack to make it work again.

NTFS is a big problem. Could you not be able to use somthing else? Therre are a couple of file systems in Linux that is same or better than NTFS.
Most distributions can read NTFS-file system without problems, but no one that I know about can write to a NTFS-disk without risking to destroy the file system and los data. Try to make Microsoft release how it works, and you will get a stable use of NTFS. But until then, use it ONLY to read from.

With that few clients, you don't need that kind of disk server. But you need CPU-speed, RAM and a good Ethernet card.
Put up some SCSI (low TBF) and form a soft RAID. You get redundansy and speed. And you will have a much less risk of two or more disk crash on you the same time (with lost data). There is known cases that an software RAID with IDE-disks that had two IDE-disks crash at the same time, with lost data. SCSI-disks is known to work ok. IDE is not. I should wait with new harware until it been tested some more. But it's your shot.
 
Old 05-13-2005, 09:30 PM   #4
Kdr Kane
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Frost,

When you are coming at it from a business perspective, it's all about support. That's the only reason you had SCO Unix in the first place. For the support and now that's gone for the most part.

You really only have two choices, RedHat or Novell.
 
Old 05-14-2005, 02:14 PM   #5
Frost
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Red Hat and Novell are 2 good choices. that is for sure. I have had Red Hat before here at home and could not get it to load correctly, and that was why I have gone to Mandrake. With Mandrake 9.5 I could not load it after I switched entierly to SATA drives as it was not configured in the kernel. With Mandrake 10.0 It works very well.

I looked at the comparison on Mandrake to Debian and one of the things Mandrake was lacking was wizzard for setting up a FS file system. Not that it could not do that, but it was kind of vague, where Debian was more "friendly" toward that.

Doug does not want a RAID system, but want's 2 drives and will use cron as he does not to backup one server to another drive on a schedule, as it is done now. At the present we back up a whole server from one comptuer to another computer as a safety measure.

We have 2 Unix servers. Running earlier version of SCO Unix. This verison of Unix is not very hardware friendly.. in other words, it only accepts certain drives, certain cards, etc etc.

I am leaning toward 2 Serial A.T.A. drives that have NCQ enabled in the drives. That allows for the Native Command Quering to occur and at 150mb/s speed is probaly 5 times faster than what we have now in our old servers HD. They are getting so full that Doug has to continually delete files to make space for them to work.

We store Windows files on our server. It is know in our computers as a shared network drive as U:/SHARE It shows up on our comptuers as NTFS In it are things like subdirecories for Excell, Word, our Peach Tree accounting, Adobe Page Maker and Adobe Illustrator files, etc etc.. it has become a repository of many DOS or Windows applications data for storage. Let's say I open Peach Tree acounting on my computer. I access the data at the server,(UNIX) which has all the info on latest invoices, or Purchase Orders, when I created them from my lab2 computer or or cellermaster did from his "lab" computer. We all have Peachtree Accounting software (Windows) on our computers, but the data resides on the "U" drive which is in the Unix box.
Same way as Adobe programs, be it Illustrator, PageMaker, or other. The actuall program may reside on each computer that starts Pagemaker, but where it looks for files and saves them is in the "U" drive which is on Unix. We do the same for Excell and for Word and basically all our shared infomation files. This way, if someone creates a PageMaker document it does not reside on their own computer, but is found in a folder in the U drive. You do not have to go to their computer to get or see the new PageMaker document, or Word Document or Excell spread sheet, you can find them from your computer in the shared "U" drive or by running the appropriate Windows program.

Back to Unix... There are some programs that are stictly Unix in nature.. our Lab calcualtions, Tank Book records, wine movements, spary orders, Spray chemical inventories, the Rolodex and so on. These are programs we all can access from our computers while in Windows XP because there is an icon on the destop that takes us there. For example: I want to look up wine brokers on our unix rolodex program. I click on the Icon on my desktop that is ROLODEX. A program we have called DejavuNT creates an interpretation between our Windows computers and the Unix software and we have a pop up screen on our Windows comptuer that is actually a menu program created by Doug. in this instance it asks for a seacrch key and you put in the appropriate response. Then you get a list of what is finds in the ROLODEX program. They are not that user friendly, and kinf of reminds me of the days of DOS 4.2 when you had menu programs that could take you to other programs. Also "tab" does not work, and there is no backing up in your endeavours. But, it does work.

So we have the UNIX box becomming a repository of Excell, Word, Adobe, PeachTree, text, and anything else from our Windows comptuers, along with the unique programs that Doug wrote for doing things like spray orders for the vineyard, customer mailing lists, lab calucations, and so on. I really think these things could be replicated in a databse even outside of Unix or Linux.

Now there is no chance..NONE..ZIP... ZERO that we would abondon the Windows OS and the Window programs that we have now.That is set in stone.. so we have a sort of hybrid system of Unix/Windows and the only reason he likes all the data to reside on the Unix, is that it gets backed up every night and in case someones hard drive crashed they woould not loose all of their data. Also it is "common grounds" for looking for anything that is created.

After writing all this, it makes me reflect back and wonder if we really should not discount looking at Windows Server 2003 as an alternative to Unix. 90 percent of what we do is windows based. It is the occasional use of the rolodex, the chemical sprays program, the cash registers up front.. (yes they are on terminal emulation as well).. where we actually use the Unix system.

SATA is recognized by Mandrake 10.0 by the way, so I would assume that Mandriva would also be configured for it as well. 2 SATA drives of 250GB each should be more than enough room for running and backing up one drive to another. And the 16MB cache and NCQ ability makes them faster than a 10,000 rpm SCSI drive.. (found that in some test reports) and they are not that pricey.. around 170.00 each.

Just food for thought..
 
Old 05-14-2005, 10:34 PM   #6
jschiwal
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Another reason to choose either Red Hat or SuSE is that both companies run certification programs. A certified technician you might hire would be trained in your distribution.
 
Old 05-14-2005, 10:59 PM   #7
Kdr Kane
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Windows Server is fine. You're just going to have to pay for new server versions of all your applications such as backup. And you're going to be limited to a new scripting language or perl. Plus, Microsoft charges for support where you've already bought support from Novell or Redhat when you purchase their product.
 
Old 05-15-2005, 07:39 PM   #8
Jaxn
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Fros: I don't thick you full understandig of how Unix and MS Windows hang together. You are probably running samba on unix that distributes some of its disk to ms windows systems. It doesn't matter what filesystem the unix machine uses.

So you do not need to bother about file system on your file server, as long as it servs it to your window machines in right format.

I still don't know what "FS file system" is.

A good backup isn't stored in the same physical place as the server. If it starts a fire, both server and back up will be destroyed.

If you run samba on your server, it shows up as an ordinary MS Windows file server on your MS Windows clients. An each user could have there own file area, like the U disk you are talking about (just configure samaba right).

It looks like you do not need extream fast disks, but rather large one. And still, SCSI has traditionally much better quallity than IDE. I don't know about SATA, but I would guess that it isn't better than SCSI. If you use modern SCSI, it will be fast enough, no problem with that. And if you REALY need speeds, use xfs and RAID. And you get what you pay for (usually). RAID can give you security AND speed.

I don't heard about DejavuNT. What protocoll does it use? Don't think it should be any problems. It could be a problem with porting the application. You should check that out first.

I
read a short swedish report (and calculation) that companies in size of 10000 workplaces would lower there cost with about $10 000 000 (ten milion dollars) in a 5 year period if using support from Novell instead of Microsofts support. If running it themself, the cost would be $20 000 000 lower compared to continue using Microsoft support. And in this calculation support and staff training was included. But not the work and cost cleaning computers from spyware and viruses.

Just food for thought..
 
Old 05-20-2005, 10:49 PM   #9
Frost
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Jaxan wrote "I still don't know what "FS file system" is."

Here is a link to Tarantella website that has VisionFS Vision File System.. I notice when our Unix machine boot up it says Vision FS fully enabled.

Also Doug does not know anything about Samba, so doubt that we are even using it.

DejavuNT is found at this site: http://www.icetcp.com/ J.River software sell an interpreter of sorts that bridges Windows PC to Unix or Linux machines.
 
Old 05-23-2005, 02:00 PM   #10
Jaxn
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If I would be serving MS Windows machines with file areas and printer servers, I would REALY use SAMBA and CUPS, look at
<http://www.samba.org/> and <http://www.cups.org/>.
Samba gives better performance whith same hardware than MS servers will do. And you only configure it with a simple text file. Realy simple and easy to have an overview of it.

I didn't get the link to tarantella.

The link to J.River is a terminal emulator for MS Windows that talks ovet network (TCP/IP) to a Unix machine. Works with lots of other terminal servers. They should support SSH-protocol version 2 for secure transfer between machines. If they use telnet protocol, someone that has access to some net between the two talking machines can read the passwords in clear and insert characters in your session. SSH crypts all trafic, which is good.

So it's not an interpreter, is an terminal emulator that talks telnet or SSH to other machines. It's like you would have the unix machine in front of you.
 
Old 05-24-2005, 05:22 PM   #11
thorn168
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Frost,

I have been reading this thread about your need to migrate your server...I would strongly suggest that you consider Novell since you are using Win XP clients to do the production work.
Novell does networking well. (Hey that rhymes!) Althought Suse server is kind of pricey.

While I understand that you like Mandrake...Mandrake costs $20 more then Suse and Novell has a better reputation for service.

Now for something completely different..

Have you considered purchasing a snap server? The reason I ask is because you seem to be using your server a storage server rather then a file server. If that is the case then it would be much cheaper and easier to use a snapserver. I even think that the snap server will handle network printing too.

Lower the TCO at your business and you may get a raise.

Just something to think about.

Thorn
 
Old 05-28-2005, 10:06 PM   #12
Frost
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thorn168, I think you have a grasp on our system at the winery. We have 7 PC machines running XP Home. We had 2 servers (one is now down at the newest tasting room store running a terminal cash register there) The Server is SCO Unix with Vision FS and also runs Unix Ware... not sure of the version..but fairly old.

Point to note here guys, is that the old Unix is very picky about hardware.. Only certain SCSI drives and cards and Motherboards and processors does it like (sounds like Yoda! ) You build a new computer, even one with AMD processors and SATA drives, AGP and all, and it doesn't know what to do. If you buy the new updated SCO Unix, you get to PAY through the nose for the software.. thousands! and it will then recognize newer hardware.. Except.. it's like buying a sick horse and not sure if it will ever race again, or just upchuck and die.

We don't use Samba.. we don't use CUPS printer server. There is one printer directly attached to the Unix box, and it is an Okidata dot matrix printer wide print head. When we use Unix via the ICE.TCP from J.River as an Emulator, Jaxan is right.. it looks just like you are in front of the Unix screen, but it's on your windows desktop. When we want to print something from the Unix program, it prints only to the Unix attached Epson line printer. only. Our other 2 printers, a Xerox multi station Print/Copy/Fax is attached to teh Lab computer (windows XP Home) via a USB cable. The other printer a Okidata Color laser printer is also attached to the lab computer. There is another laser printer but it is connected to the tasting room computer (Windows XP Home).

All Windows programs are not served to our Windows PC machines from the Unix box. Rather, we store, or use the Unix for common file location of our windows programs. eg. Pecachtree data files resided on Unix/fv/peach folder. If anyone uses Peachtree on any of the 7 coputers, the data is brought from the Unix box and the new updates are written to the folder in the Unix box. So, in all essences, we are not using the Unix for a file server for ANY Windows programs, just a common ground of stored data files.

Unix has unique programs such as the Unix rolodex, the mailing list, the lab calculations the cash register point of sale workings, the spray orders for the farm, the tankbook records.. etc etc.. that are purely Unix, and written by the owner in C. All things consdered, the Unix programs and files and data would have to be re-compiled to work on a Linux system.

I saw in Barnes & Nobel this evening a couple of books. One was Mandrake 10.1 with accompanying DVD distribution on it in the back of the book. Cost of the book was around 69.00. Another book was SuSE Linux 9.3 for dummies.. (I think) and it also had a full distro in the back of it. So the distros are easily found. But the implementation is not so easily solved.
 
Old 05-29-2005, 08:00 PM   #13
Jaxn
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Quote:
Originally posted by Frost
thorn168, I think you have a grasp on our system at the winery. We have 7 PC machines running XP Home. We had 2 servers (one is now down at the newest tasting room store running a terminal cash register there) The Server is SCO Unix with Vision FS and also runs Unix Ware... not sure of the version..but fairly old.

Point to note here guys, is that the old Unix is very picky about hardware.. Only certain SCSI drives and cards and Motherboards and processors does it like (sounds like Yoda! ) You build a new computer, even one with AMD processors and SATA drives, AGP and all, and it doesn't know what to do. If you buy the new updated SCO Unix, you get to PAY through the nose for the software.. thousands! and it will then recognize newer hardware.. Except.. it's like buying a sick horse and not sure if it will ever race again, or just upchuck and die.
Thats why you should change servers to a (any) Linux distribution or some *BSD. You get a Unix computer (sort of Unix, you shouldn't see any difference), and one that isn't that picky about hardware. And as someone wrote, Novell has god support, but you have to pay for it. Not as mutch as for Microsoft (I guess), but experts need money to serv you on site with your problems. We in this or other forums don't cost you mutch, but we aren't garantied there to help you when somthing needs to be done.

Here in sweden someone did a calculus about cost with MS and Linux support. At a site with 10 000 people that came to about $10 000 000 saved in 5 years period with Novell support, and $20 000 000 dollars save in same period on your own, compared with continue with Microsoft, same period.
Quote:
We don't use Samba.. we don't use CUPS printer server. There is one printer directly attached to the Unix box, and it is an Okidata dot matrix printer wide print head. When we use Unix via the ICE.TCP from J.River as an Emulator, Jaxan is right.. it looks just like you are in front of the Unix screen, but it's on your windows desktop. When we want to print something from the Unix program, it prints only to the Unix attached Epson line printer. only. Our other 2 printers, a Xerox multi station Print/Copy/Fax is attached to teh Lab computer (windows XP Home) via a USB cable. The other printer a Okidata Color laser printer is also attached to the lab computer. There is another laser printer but it is connected to the tasting room computer (Windows XP Home).
If you have Samba, you get files served like now. This program emulates a ordinary MS file server, like your SCO Unix does. And with SAMBA added, you can share all your printers with all you users, MS Windows-users like Unix-users.

You should realy take a look at those (don't be scared ). You get a system that garantied isn't worse that your SCO box, prob much better, but for mutch less money than the SCO Unix OS.
Quote:
All Windows programs are not served to our Windows PC machines from the Unix box. Rather, we store, or use the Unix for common file location of our windows programs. eg. Pecachtree data files resided on Unix/fv/peach folder. If anyone uses Peachtree on any of the 7 coputers, the data is brought from the Unix box and the new updates are written to the folder in the Unix box. So, in all essences, we are not using the Unix for a file server for ANY Windows programs, just a common ground of stored data files.
Like running Samba on a Unix/Linux box. Samba will do what Vision FS does now (I guess from what you written).
Quote:
Unix has unique programs such as the Unix rolodex, the mailing list, the lab calculations the cash register point of sale workings, the spray orders for the farm, the tankbook records.. etc etc.. that are purely Unix, and written by the owner in C. All things consdered, the Unix programs and files and data would have to be re-compiled to work on a Linux system.
Those programs should compile with no problems on any Unix and Unixlike (as Linux and NetBSD) if you got the source and they are ordinary programs without special use of some old special library of SCO Unix. Could probobly be converted without big problems. Don't think you have to do anything with your data though. It should work without problems if you have same machines (An Intel x86 CPU or some CPU from AMD). But if you would change from a x86 to a PPC (that is, from a IBM-compatible to a Apple-machine), I would have to say that I need to have a look at those programs before I could say this (If saved in binary format, It wouldn't work, in ASCII data format, it would).
Quote:
I saw in Barnes & Nobel this evening a couple of books. One was Mandrake 10.1 with accompanying DVD distribution on it in the back of the book. Cost of the book was around 69.00. Another book was SuSE Linux 9.3 for dummies.. (I think) and it also had a full distro in the back of it. So the distros are easily found. But the implementation is not so easily solved.
If you check out Umbutu web site, they will send you two CD's. One that boots without writing tou your hard disk. And one thet let you install on your hard disk. Umbutu is a distribution based on Debian. So you don't need to by a book, if you don't. But you prob. should buy one any way .

In short: You should not be afraid of trying to switch to some Open Source OS of Unix type (Linux or some *BSD type of Unix). It's prob. much easier than to change to MS Windows. It's a lot more trouble to change the programs to MS Windows.

Yours Anders Jackson
 
Old 05-30-2005, 10:53 PM   #14
Frost
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Yes Anders, it's probably a lot easier to move and convert the system using Linux than it is to use Windows 2003 Server.

I have proposed a sort of middle ground with them. One of our managment, the General Manager, is Death on Unix and want's in the utmost way to wean away from Unix and go strictly Microsoft.

Doug, the owner that started out with Unix and wrote some of the programs and knows a lot more about Unix/Linux than I do, like the Unix system 1. because he can go in there and "fix it" if it gets broke. Not so easy with MS. pros and cons, is sometimes you can mess things up royally trying to fix them and there is something to say about Microsoft for keeping little fingers out of the gear works

2. He does not like Bill Gates. This is kind of moot. I've never met him and whether he is a good man or not, the fact remains that there are so many advances in home computers because of Microsoft, and yes Linux is very good, but in the early days, without so much GUI, it would have been a tough sell to some of these folks (general popluataion) on Linux with the command prompts and so on. Microsoft is not cheap, but they are widely available, and there are a multitude of technicians that can work on MS software and systems in our area. MS Certified.

Now.. back to the proposal I told Jim let me build 2 comptuers with dual hard drives in each one. Let the Windows stuff reside on one and have it backed up from one drive to the other nightly. Only MS data reside there.. stuff for Adobe Illustartor, Peach Tree, Word, Excell, and so on. We would access it same as we always do, and all you do is re-configure on each machine where it looks for the data files and where it stores the data files. Second machine is Linux Mandrake or SuSE. Running on dual hard drives as well, NOT raid. Each night it would back up what it had. Cash registers, tank book records, lab calcualtions, etc.. ALL the Unix programs written in C would be served by this machine.

My other option is to put in a Linux box with Dual hard drives partitioned in Primary and extend, and on one make a partiton 2 FAT32 partitons and store the Windows stuff on there. It would be a simple storehouse of information but Doug could set up a cron job to back eventhing up at night onto another internal HD. NTFS and Linux do not like each other, so if the other partiion was Fat32, then at least Linux can read and/or write to that with no problems.

just food for thought. I am thinking of build the Linux computer with the Abit KV8-Pro mother board and using the AMD64bit 2800+ processor that has Newcastel built in. It is also able to do Hyperthreading and has a hyper transport on the MB of 1600 MHz and FSB of 1000MHz.. that might speed up things a bit. *S* BTW the Unix box has an Intel Pentium III at 600MHz in it, .. that is from Doug. *S*

Also forgot to mention that all our printers are shared anyway, whether it is the ones connected to "lab" or to "taste". So when we print we can set a "default" printer that we want to print to, or at the time of printing, change the printer we want to use. For instance, the Xerox is my default pritner, but if I want to print something in color, all I have to do is click the Okidata color laser printer when the I click on "print". and it will send the job to that printer ..that time only, instead.

Last edited by Frost; 05-30-2005 at 10:59 PM.
 
Old 06-01-2005, 04:27 PM   #15
thorn168
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Frost,

I still think you should consider the snap server for near line backups regardless of your company's choice for server software.

If your boss really wants to continue to use unix then you should download freebsd and use that.

Why...because it is unix and it is free!

If you are still interested in Linux then try a debian or a debianbased distro. I have had good experiences with debian based distros so far.

If you really really want a redhat based distro then look into getting CentOS or Whitebox since they are free, forked distributions of Redhat enterprise servers with the redhat branding removed.

Also look into installing ClamAV antivirus on your servers if you use Linux or FreeBSD because that should help guard against virus propagation via your server.

Also tell your windows "loving" coworker that you can administer the Linux/Unix server via Webmin instead of using the command line; should he have issues with using the command line interface for server administration.

Good luck,

Thorn
 
  


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