Admin Alert: How To Run NetServer from the Green Screen in 10 Minutes
June 9, 2010 Joe Hertvik
IBM i NetServer is a handy server. With very little configuration, it allows i/OS machines to provide file and print-sharing services for Windows-based PC clients. Unfortunately, NetServer has an image problem. Many people think they can only control NetServer through iSeries Navigator and that there isn’t a green-screen interface for NetServer. They are wrong. There are green-screen NetServer commands, and you may already have them installed on your machine.
Here’s a quick overview of what i5/OS NetServer is, and how you can start, stop, configure, and control it through 5250 green-screen commands.
What is IBM i NetServer?
Originally called iSeries Support for Windows Network Neighborhood, the server has also been variously known as AS/400 NetServer, iSeries NetServer, Power i NetServer, or simply NetServer. NetServer was first introduced in OS/400 V4R2 as a TCP/IP-based Simple Message Block (SMB) server that provided the following file and print services to Windows PC clients:
NetServer also supports the Common Internet Files System (CIFS) extensions to the SMB protocol. With NetServer, Windows PC clients can easily access i/OS files and printers using the same native support that they use to access files and printers on other systems in their Windows Domain.
For more information on setting up and configuring i NetServer, see the IBM i NetServer Web site. Also check out the other NetServer articles listed in the Related Stories section at the bottom of this article.
The Underpublicized Green Screen Fix
When NetServer was originally released, users were asked to use iSeries Navigator’s (OpsNav) graphical interface to configure and run NetServer. It seemed natural enough, since NetServer was a Windows-based function. Why bother creating a set of green-screen commands to support NetServer when IBM already had a graphical interface for server configuration?
The problem was that iSeries, System i, and Power i administrators wanted an easier (i.e., green-screen) way to work with the server so that they could perform the following functions through native commands.
There are a number of advantages to having green-screen commands for controlling NetServer. The most obvious is that you can schedule jobs to automatically start, stop, and configure your NetServer server directly from common i/OS job scheduling software, such as Help Systems Robot/SCHEDULE package. Having commands also allows you to perform NetServer functions in CL programs that can be called by anyone at any time. Although it sounds illogical, green-screen i NetServer commands provide i/OS and OS/400 administrators with a lot more flexibility in managing a NetServer environment.
Starting with i5/OS V5R2, IBM delivered green-screen capability, but there’s a catch. IBM didn’t automatically activate the new green-screen commands and menu in the OS/400 and i/OS operating systems. Instead, Big Blue delivered the control commands as user tools under option 7 of licensed program 5722SS1, Example Tools Library. This means that you can use the NetServer menu (GO NETS) and commands to control NetServer from the green screen, but you have to create the tools first. Fortunately, this is not difficult.
Creating Your Green Screen NetServer Tools
The NetServer installation package resides in the QUSRTOOL library, and you have to extract and create the tools from this package. I installed the tools recently on one of my i5/OS V5R4M5 partitions, and the entire process took about 10 minutes. IBM offers good instructions for extracting the NetServer tools at its i5/OS NetServer: QUSRTOOL: GO NETS Web site. The tools are installed in the NETSRVCMD library.
Once installed, you can use the tools by first adding NETSRVCMD to your library list. Do this by running the following Add Library List Entry (ADDLIBLE) command.
You will then be able to bring up the NetServer menu (NETS) by running the following Go to Menu (GO) command.
This displays the following menu.
The trick here is that you can use each of these options off the menu or you can use them as commands from a command line, a CL program, or in a job scheduling package. Here are the relevant green screen commands for each option and what each command does.
While the iSeries Navigator contains a nice graphical interface for controlling NetServer, many i/OS shops rely on the green screen to get things done. To that effect, the NetServer green screen commands can be a great addition to your toolbox.