Site diagnoses NetWare server failures

Managers of NetWare networks now have a way to diagnose why a server has crashed and can bring the server back online faster.

Novell Inc. is testing software on its World Wide Web site that determines why a NetWare 4 or 5 server fails, or abends (abnormal end).

At the NetWare ABEND Analysis System beta site (abend.provo.novell.com), network managers can upload a log file (ABEND.LOG) to be analyzed by a Novell database of known causes of abends. The user gets answer within seconds. Each new abend incident is added to the database to help future customers with their abend situations.

Fixing abends is a haphazard process, riddled with complex problems a network manager is not typically trained to handle, said Dirk Smith, president of server-recovery company Alexander LAN in Nashua, N.H.

Even if network managers did have the skill to diagnose abends properly, it would take several hours — mostly while the server is down. Calling Novell's technical support to seek an answer might take days or even weeks.

"The last time I had an abend, I called technical support and ended up e-mailing a file to them," said Chip DiComo, network manager for Hellmann Worldwide Logistics, a shipping company in Miami. "It would have been really easy to upload a file and get an automatic response."

Amy Lewis, a systems administrator at the University of Michigan, used the Novell system to solve her abend problem. When she uploaded her abend log, she received a report recommending that she use a certain patch to fix the server. "I haven't had any abends in about a week," she said.

Novell declined to say if there would be a charge for the ABEND Analysis System, which will be available as part of a support package by the end of October.

— For more information about enterprise networking, go to Network World Fusion at www.nwfusion.com. Story copyright 2000 Network World Inc. All rights reserved.

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