Per-User, Per-Server Licensing Causes Extra Work

SAN MATEO (06/05/2000) - I have a Novell Inc. NetWare 4.11 network with two file servers. There are about 60 users with Windows 95 workstations running a variety of applications. All users have access to one of the servers (which I'll call Server1) through drive mappings, print captures, etc. No problem there. A small subset of these users -- about 10 of them -- has access to the second server, Server2. No problem there, either. However, there are several users who shouldn't have any access to Server2 who show up every day on Server2's File Server console. They are using up precious user licenses and are somehow authenticating access to Server2. Why is this happening, and how can I prevent it in the future?

Dan Schneider

Lori: My initial thought is that the users are using capture commands or mapping drives, but there could be more to it than that.

Here is some advice to help you troubleshoot your problem. First, check to see if there are any resources on that server that are being accessed. This can cause an authenticated connection to the server. Also check the version of the Virtual Loadable Module (VLM) and the Directory Services (DS). The version of DS for NetWare 4.11 should be 5.73.

Check to see that the home directory of each user is not on the server that the users shouldn't be accessing. If it is, they will get authenticated to that server. Another area for possible problems could be found in log-in scripts.

Keep a lookout for misused include statements as well as map and capture commands.

Finally, check each user's preferred server and tree. If these statements are used together, the preferred tree statement takes precedence; try setting just the preferred server.

There are also very detailed suggestions available from www.novell.com for unwanted connections, but they are too long to write in this column. For instance, one suggestion mentions unchecking the Enable Workstation Manager within the Novell Workstation Manager properties found in the Control Panel.

Brooks: If your problem is with the same workstation every time, I would suspect the preferred server setting, especially if you've migrated from a NetWare 3.x environment.

If these connections happen at random, with the same user only sometimes connecting to the wrong server, you probably have some application that's walking up the tree and hitting the wrong server first.

Novell has many documents on their site relating to this kind of problem; the most helpful is "How to troubleshoot unwanted connections" at support.novell.com/cgi-bin/search/tidfinder.cgi?10024928.

This is one of the perennial irritants with per-user, per-server licensing in the era of large networks. One of these days, I hope, IT people will be able to license server software based on global usage and not on how many stray users accidentally connect to one box.

More NACK attack

One reader offers us more regarding negative acknowledgements, known as NACKs (see www.infoworld.com/printlinks).

"In your earlier column," writes mtdautle, "a reader discussed a solution for a NACK being transmitted faster than an address, suggesting this as the cause to a network problem. Although his solution was correct, the reasoning to arrive there was not. When a DHCP [Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol] server gives an address to a client, the IP address of the DHCP server is also transmitted and is stored in the registry on Windows 95 and later machines and in an .ini file on Windows 3x clients. All subsequent traffic from that Windows client will be directed back to the IP address of the issuing server. Lease renewals and new lease requests from that client will be directed to the address of the server from which the client received its previous DHCP address. To fix this, you need to stop the DHCP service on the old DHCP server or shut down the server altogether. After the new DHCP server has fulfilled a lease request from all the clients, you could bring up the old server, including the DHCP service and deactivated scope, with no ill effect."

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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