I had recently setup a development environment to verify the potential of migrating the existing age servers which running with Netware 6.5 from physical to virtual. The reason of doing this is purely due to the expiration of our server life cycle, and potential to reduce the capex requirement for replacing with new servers. As we know that the Novell Netware 6.5 will not able to utilize the quad cores processing power which is consider a common servers resources today.

I had tried to setup the VM for Netware 6.5 on VMware ESX 3.5, VMware Server 2.0 and VMware Workstation 6.5, and it was surprised myself that the workstation edition, I can easily provide 2 Vcpu for a single VM which run the Netware 6.5, which ESX 3.5 and VMware Server 2.0 is refused by default. I went for some google search and technical research, it show that the Netware will not require to have 2 Vcpu in most cases, even if you need to do so, you have to know the back door to overcome this.

To force 2 Vcpu per VM, you will require to log in through the web console on the ESX host, and power off the VM. Edit the Vcpu numbers from 1 to 2 or 4. My test result, 2 might be the better option on ESX. Power up your VM now, you should able to see the 2 Vcpu on Netware 6.5 which run on ESX 3.5. Weird thing happen now, you will notice that the CPU utilization is very high and consistently over 50% even with fresh install Netware 6.5. When you do a monitor command from netware, you will only see the 5% utilization from the CPU. I am sure there is bugs from VMware regarding this.

Now we go to VMware Server 2.0, you need to export the image from ESX 3.5 to VMware Server, and power it up. Please do not modify the number of cpu per vm on the webconsole, as it is not allow to be run more than 1Vcpu for Netware 6.5 on vmware server by default. In this case, the CPU utilization on VMware server is much more acceptable which only 30% utilize.

Due to a low demand on Netware today, I believe it is the reason of VMware is not investing too much time of fixing the netware issues. But again, I believe it  is sufficient to host the netware server on VMware as it will not require the extra resources as we normally have on any server today.