Test Center Rx: Waking NetWare PCs

SAN MATEO (03/13/2000) - I need to get Novell Inc.'s ZENworks to turn PCs on and off at a predetermined hour so we can run automated maintenance on them.

But I don't know how to enable ZENworks to do that. Most of the NICs (network interface cards) support Wake On LAN and so do the motherboards. What else do I need, please?

Fernando Galvan

Lori: To take advantage of the Wake On LAN features of your NICs and motherboards, the management program you use must support it. But it does not look as though ZENworks supports Wake On LAN.

There are many management solutions, but I believe the only one to support Wake On LAN is Intel's LANDesk (www.intel.com).

According to information on Novell's Web site (www.novell.com), you can run application distribution whether or not a user is logged on by using Workstation Association, a new feature found in ZENworks 2.0. However, there is no mention of actually waking up a client. Thus, you would have to have your users leave their machines on but not logged in for your automated maintenance to occur. Assuming you are a Novell shop, then you probably want to stick with ZENworks because it integrates so well with NetWare. I would suggest you contact Novell directly to find a work-around.

Brooks: LANDesk may be the only product to support Wake On LAN, but there are third-party products for other system management solutions. For instance, 1e.com (www.1e.com) has an add-in module for Microsoft's Systems Management Server. This module costs between $2.50 and $20 per user, depending on the number of users.

One option is to use a separate program to wake the computers, and then use ZENworks to administer them. If you're familiar with Perl, you can use the Net-Wake package to do this. It can be found at theoryx5.uwinnipeg.ca/mod_perl/cpan-search?dist=Net-Wake-0.01.

If you'd rather not work in Perl, it shouldn't be too hard to toss together a little program that does the same thing. Basically, Wake On LAN uses a specially formed packet to tell the network card to wake the PC. More information, including the technical details of the special packet, can be found at www.pc.ibm.com/us/infobrf/iblan.html.

Supposedly, the next release of ZENworks will support Wake On LAN. If you want to keep things simple, it sounds like you're out of luck until then. In the meantime, you might want to inventory the systems you manage and make sure that they're really ready for Wake On LAN.

Beyond the system management issue, you need to be sure that your client hardware is configured to support Wake On LAN. Most brand-name equipment comes configured to support it, but in some cases you may need to enable it in the system's BIOS or the network card's configuration.

If you're using clone-type boxes, you need to be sure that the network card and motherboard both support Wake On LAN, and that their cables are connected between the network card and the motherboard.

I'm also told that some boxes don't work with Wake On LAN when Windows 98 is installed and its "Fast Shutdown" option is enabled. I haven't experienced this firsthand, but if you're having trouble with Windows 98 machines and Wake On LAN, try disabling this setting.

Brooks Talley is senior business and technology architect for InfoWorld.com.

Lori Mitchell is a senior analyst in the Test Center. Send your questions for them to testcenter_rx@infoworld.com.

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