GroupWise 18.3 Quick Build Sheet (SLES 15)

Here's a quick reference sheet for how I typically build a GroupWise server on Linux. My preference is to use SLES 15, and that is what I outline in this document.

If you'd like to read my discussion regarding the various supported operating systems, click on my "GroupWise 18.3 Discussion and Best Practices" article.

VMware Server Configuration

Adapt as needed to hypervisor platforms. My preference is VMWare ESXi and anything other than VMWare is out of the scope of this document.

  • Server OS Selection:


    Your version of vCenter or VMware ESXi host may not offer an option for SLES 15. If not, that's okay, just choose SLES 12 instead.  There's a VMware knowledgebase article somewhere, look it up if you want to read the same thing I just told you.

  • Boot Options / Firmware

    • BIOS

    In VMware, under the VM Options --> Boot Options, there is an option called Firmware.  You can choose either "BIOS" or "EFI".   My personal preference is to use BIOS.  I suppose you could argue either way, and I've used both. I have found from personal experience that the toolsets on Linux that support EFI are extremely limited compared to what's available with a standard BIOS. For example, if you ever need to resize a partition, the tools are not available using EFI. So I feel that the BIOS option is the best and most straightforward option.

    Also please note that the partitioning I outline in this document depends on the BIOS option. If you happen to use EFI instead, you'll need to modify the disk partitioning accordingly.

  • Processors

    • Select 2 Processors/CPU's

    Don't go crazy on the processors. Two (2) is usually adequate. There are volumes of web articles discouraging you from assigning excessive numbers of processors as it may have an opposite effect on performance.

  • Memory / RAM

    • For smaller systems, 8GB is likely adequate.
    • Scale up for larger systems. It is not unusual to have 16-32GB RAM on a large production server.

    It's not critical to get this right, just make your best guess.  You can monitor and adjust as needed.  If you're accustomed to running GroupWise on NetWare or an older SLES 11 server, what you'll soon find out is that SLES 15 and GroupWise 18 consume quite a bit more memory than before. I don't care what the documentation makes you believe, you're not going to be running GroupWise on 4GB RAM. Accept this and just deal with it.

  • Disk Controller:

    • Disk Controller 1:  Paravirtual
    • Disk Controller 2:  Paravirtual

    Using separate controllers isolates the OS disk activity from GroupWise, improving performance. Paravirtual is the best option for performance because it is working much closer to the hardware than other options.

    ** Do not install SLES using a different controller, then change it to Paravirtual. This will likely render the server unbootable and the disk partitions may not be read the same. **

  • Disk Configuration

    • Disk 1: 100GB / Thin Partition.  Assign to the first controller (Disk 0:1)
    • Disk 2: Allocate enough space for GroupWise data plus 25-30% for growth.
      • Assign to the second controller (Disk 1:1).
      • Choose the partitioning type:
        • Thin partitioning is adequate in many cases, especially small to medium systems.
        • Thick-provisioned eager-zeroed disk partitioning is better for systems with larger user bases and heavier demands.
      • If you have different tiers of storage (fast, slow, near, far, SSD, spinny disks, whatever), put the VMDK file in a Datastore that features the fastest storage available.

    If you have a larger and heavily utilized system, and squeezing every last bit of performance out of the drive is critical to a happy user base, consider the following:

    • A thick-provisioned eager-zeroing disk will write data faster than a thin-provisioned disk.
    • A thin-provisioned disk exhibits the same performance as a lazy-zeroed thick-provisioned disk.  Because of overprovisioning, thin provisioning will cause problems when users approach their maximum storage capacity.
  • Network Adapter:

    • Choose the VMNETX Network Adapter (This is the default)
    • Select the correct VM Network that your server should be connected to. 

    You may have a more complicated network setup than this. However, most setups that involve dedicated ISCSI SAN's for storage or multi-pathing for redundancy are done at the VMWare host level, not the individual VM. So generally speaking, the above settings are suitable for the majority of configurations.

Initial Server OS Build

This process is generally completed using a remote console window in the vSphere vCenter web client. You attach the SLES 15 SP2 DVD Image file (.ISO) as removable media and boot from it, invoking the Installation option at the first screen that presents itself.

  • Server OS:

  • Disk 1 (Boot/OS Disk):  XFS File System.

    The size of the disk is 100GB if you followed the hardware configuration guide as outlined above. I create the following 4 partitions:

    • This disk is usually identified as "sda".
    • 500 MB XFS Partition mounted to /boot
    • 4GB SWAP Partition
    • 4GB XFS  Partition mounted to /root
    • Remaining Disk Space formatted with XFS File System mounted to /
  • Disk 2 (GroupWise Data): XFS Partition Type

    The disk size was defined in the hardware configuration and should be sized according to your GroupWise size requirements with 25-30% room to grow.

    • This disk is usually identified as "sdb"
    • Partition should be formatted with XFS filesystem
    • Partition should be mounted to /grpwise
  • Time sync parameters:

    • Disable Hardware Clock Synchronization.
    • Configure to NTP Time source, either an internal local time source or trusted external time source such as
    • Ensure your perimeter firewall allows NTP to pass through if you're using an external source.
  • Network Settings:

    The system defaults to DHCP. You should change this to "manual" network settings.

    • Static IP Address / subnet mask / host name bound to network interface. Do not use DHCP.
    • Define static default gateway address to local router.
    • Define DNS parameters to local internal DNS servers.
    • Define Hostname and domain suffixes to meet your organizational needs.
  • Server Registration

    Registering the server is required in order to access the required modules and extensions required to run GroupWise. It also allows you to download and install patches from the SLES channel. When you register the server during the installation, it will automatically download and install all available patches during the install, resulting in a fully patched server when you're finished.

    You should register the server using SLES registration codes obtained from SUSE.COM. If you have any entitlements through Micro Focus and your existing GroupWise licensing, you may need to discuss with with tech support to get the codes synced to your customer account.

  • Modules and Extensions:

    The following modules and extensions should be installed. The dialog is extremely cumbersome and it jumps around every time you select something. Try not to punch your monitor and just work through the pain as you select these options:

    • Basesystem
    • Desktop Applications
    • Legacy
    • Server Applications
    • Web & Scripting (for WebAccess, CalPub, Monitor, and CalServer)
  • User Account Creation (Linux)

    Create an account with strong credentials for typical administrative access, such as 'gwadmin' or 'tech' or 'Marvin'. You will use this account for primary ssh access to the server and to do most tasks via SUDO.

  • root User Account Credentials (Linux)

    Set a strong password for the root user. It will yell at you if you try to use something that's weak.

  • Miscellaneous Settings / Summary.

    These settings are all available on the summary page once you have entered all the system details and before you've proceeded with the install.

    • Ensure that the Firewall remains enabled.
    • Ensure that ssh is enabled.
    • Enable the ssh port through the firewall.

Post Installation Tasks and Configurations