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NetWare replication options

This advice details options for replication in a Novell NetWare environment.

I am currently running Novell NetWare 5.1 and I need to replicate the data real time to a Windows Storage Server 2003 and then replicate, using NSI DoubleTake, to an identical server at an offsite location. Please let me know if you have any recommendations on replicating from the Netware box to the Windows box -- currently I am using CA for backups.
The answer to this actually starts with a question: Is there a requirement or business case to first replicate from NetWare to Windows 2003? Novell has a software product called Novell Replication Service which enables remote data replication between NetWare servers. That said, NRS does not have synchronous replication capabilities; replication can be scheduled as often as every minute. There are a number of replication products which support Novell NetWare. Caminosoft offers real-time mirroring over a high-speed link and StorageTek's MirrorStore and FalconStor's IPStor are replication appliances.

It is assumed here that your approach implies replicating a NetWare volume from a Windows 2003 server. While there is nothing technically wrong with that approach, it can cause a significant increase in network traffic. The changed files are copied from the Novell server to the local Windows server and once more between the local and remote Windows servers. Unless your local and remote network links are segmented, that's twice the traffic. There is also the constant threat of an upgrade (on either platform) affecting file level permission and security, which can unnecessarily add to the management burden.

Finally, there's the question of recovery to consider; your approach implies that you need/want the production data to reside on the Novell server. This means that in the event of a total loss of your main site, it would potentially require a two-step restore unless you have a high-speed link allowing files to be copied back from the remote Windows server to the local Novell server.

If you have no immediate plans to migrate from Novell Netware, I would recommend opting for a NetWare to NetWare replication setup. On the other hand, if a migration to another platform is on the radar screen, I would suggest migrating first.

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