Designing Mixed (OS) Networks
Now that you have a good base to work from, let's look at what it takes to design a mixed network. As you have learned, Novell and Windows are two different operating systems, each with its own strengths and weaknesses.
Networks made up of mixed Microsoft and Novell platforms can work well. Before implementation, you need a strong plan for how the network will operatethat is, what servers the users will be authenticated by and what servers will control resources. While NetWare does have a strong user security scheme, I tend to prefer mixed networks in which the primary authentication server is Windows NT/2000 based.
The Windows NT server acts as the master PDC, authenticating all network users. The NetWare servers, on the other hand, act as the resource controllers. They will govern access to user files and printers.
Novell is known for its handling of file and print services. Therefore, let all the files and printers be stored on the NetWare servers. Here the version of NetWare is irrelevant, but for the best results and the easiest installation, use version 5.
In all versions of NetWare before version 5, the default protocol was Novell's IPX/SPX. This is Novell's proprietary protocol. It works well, but IP works a lot better. If you wanted IP, chances are you had to buy an add-on that included IP support. This was rectified in version 5. Novell's NetWare 5 has default support for TCP/IP.
This model works a lot better if installed from scratch. This is the one time I suggest installing NetWare from scratch on a new network. Both operating systems will work a lot better together if they know about each other from the beginning. Install the operating systems from scratch together, and you should have a far better outcome.
There is a preferred order to installing a mixed network. I would start with the Windows NT PDC. This allows you to establish the domain.
Establishing the domain is an essential part of the whole process. The rest of the servers cannot be configured until this is done. On the Windows NT PDC, create all the users needed for the domain. Because this is a modified version of a master domain model, you want all of the users to log in to the Windows NT PDC. After installing the user database, you need to install a service to allow communication to the Novell servers.
The service that enables communication between the two operating systems is Gateway Services for NetWare (GSFN). Installing GSFN will enable users logging in to the Windows NT PDC to have access to the NetWare volumes and printers. For GSFN to work on Windows NT, you must install the NWLink protocol.
NWLink is Microsoft's adaptation of Novell's IPX/SPX proprietary protocol. Previously, NetWare 5 IPX/SPX was the default protocol installed on NetWare servers. (TCP/IP was a module that needed to be purchased separately.) NWLink should install automatically when you install Gateway Services for NetWare. If it does not install properly, you can add it through the Network applet in Control Panel. Installation is pretty straightforward. Configuration is the tricky part.