Ytria databaseEZ - Another really useful tool for Domino Admins and Developers

Tags: Tools Ytria Domino Notes

I have been working with Ytria's excellent tools for many years now and there's not a single day in my life as a Domino developer or admin I don't use scanEZ or one of the other tools. That's one of the reasons we became a business partner with Ytria.

For one of our customers who is running several dozens of Domino-based enterprise web sites I had to change the "inherit design from master template" name in 46 databases. Doing this manually would have been very tedious, but using the soon-to-be-released tool "databaseEZ" made this a matter of only a few seconds.

When databaseEZ has started, the UI is very similar to aclEZ or agentEZ. The navigation pane on the left allows me to select the databases I want to see in the grid. Even when I select all databases on the server, the grid updates in a breeze. Since the property "Inherit from" is not displayed in the grid by default, I have to select it in the "Grid Data Composition" panel on the right, press "Apply" and the information is populated instantly. Then I just need to group the databases by this property, select the ones I want to change and select "Edit Database Design Properties" from the context menu. There I can change the name of the template the databases inherit from and after OK'ing the dialog the grid is updated with the new data. In order to actually save my changes I press CTRL-S or select "Server - Apply Changes" from the menu and I'm done.

That's just one of the many features in databaseEZ which make my Domino life so much easier. I will post a more detailed review of the tool soon, just wanted to share this today. Thank you guys!



Mailen erlaubt

Tags: Domino Domino Lizenzen
Ist es erlaubt, Mail-In-Postfaecher auf einem Lotus Domino Utility Server einzurichten? Eigentlich eine ganz einfache Frage. Das jedenfalls war mein erster Gedanke, als ein Kunde diese Frage zwecks Klaerung aufwarf.
Ein Blick in die Lizenzbedingungen foerderte folgenden Satz an's Licht:
Licensee is not authorized to:
1. Provide an individual user's primary personal mailbox, or
2. Use IBM Lotus Notes Traveler.

Der Satz scheint mir deutlich. Wenn individuelle, primaere, persoenliche Postfaecher verboten sind, ist alles andere - also auch Mail-In-Postfaecher - erlaubt. Um dem Kunden aber keinen Unsinn zu erzaehlen wollte ich eine zweite Meinung. Doch die Meinungen von Kollegen, Distribution und der IBM Deutschland waren weder eindeutig noch zufriedenstellend. Die IBM behauptete z.B.:
Hallo Hr. Lang,
Sammelpostfaecher sind auch nicht erlaubt. gruss

Kurz und knapp. Aber kann das stimmen? Ich glaube nicht. Und um nicht noch mehr Zeit zu verlieren habe ich jemanden gefragt, der's wissen muss. Und zu meiner grossen Ueberraschung hat Ed auch noch innerhalb von 20 Minuten geantwortet:
A mail-in database is perfectly fine on Domino Utility Server. As you point out the restriction is the serving of a user's primary personal mailbox.


Thank you Ed, for your fast reply!

Der Kunde ist happy und ich ein bisschen schlauer.


Accidentally server backups

Tags: Domino Outsourcing
Outsourcing IT services to a 3rd party company seems to be very popular. I'm working for some customers who did this and I don't know one where the service provided to the end users is equal to the level it was before. In all cases it is worse. But talking about outsourcing and it's pros and cons is worth its own entry or two or three. Today I made a really unbelievable experience with the service provider of one customer, I have to talk about.

At this customer the service provider is hosting the hardware and does the OS administration. The customer does have the responsibility for the application, which is Domino, and I am working for the customer. The application backup is done by the service provider also. But because he isn't able to do a online backup we need to shutdown the Domino server before the backup starts. And as you can guess there is a reponsibility problem with that, because the service provider can't shutdown a Domino server he isn't responsible for. So we created a cmd file to stop the Domino server and the service provider tried to start that script before the backup. Yes, he tried. After several days (nights) and several backup attempts, where sometimes the Domino was stopped and the backup hanged and sometimes the backup application wasn't able to start our script, the service provider told us today, that our script is the problem. Our argument, that exactly the same script runs on exactly the same machines (which are btw. also backed up by the same service provider) was refused. The administrator of the service provider told us that:

I assume the script runs accidentally on the other servers.

This is obvious the most likely conclusion. 5 servers are shutdown and backed up every night and because one server doesn't work, the function for the other 5 is happens "accidentally".
I'm not talking about rocket sience. The main lines in the code are very simple and easy:

sc STOP "Lotus Domino Server (DominoData)"
ping -n 1 -w 120000 >NUL
nsd -kill -nolog

Our conclusion is to shutdown the server with a scheduled job and start it with another an hour later. Not nice but it is working.


Templates for small companies - What do you recommend?

Tags: Domino Notes Templates
I think we all know how powerfull Notes and Domino is within mid sized and large companies. We're often talking about high-end stuff like loadbalancing, failover, performance tuning and so on. But what's about the small companies? Lets say companies with 2 to 20 employees. Is Notes and Domino valuable for such a company? Do you know companies of that size using Notes and Domino?

I do have some of those small customers and I think Notes and Domino is valuable for them too. And the value begins with really basic stuff like email and calender. They don't need RnRMGR or stuff like that, but writing down meetings and share those informations with other colleagues, maybe while they are on the road with a notebook or via a BlackBerry, can be interesting also for a two-man-show.
But that's not all they need. There is a bunch of things you have to do in every office, regardless of the size. Every company has to deal with documents (in whatever format), with incoming mail (I mean the old-fashioned letter - do you remember? ), with administrative stuff like forms for every kind of process. And every company has to deal with customers and all what's related with them etc.
And maybe you agree with me that Notes and Domino is able to handle all of this. But the question I came a long today at lunchtime is, how to handle this for small offices? Where budget for developing is small or not available?
There are some good templates available within the standard installation and certainly the free templates from OpenNTF or the new TaskJam from Elguji Software.
But one of the major task for me isn't solved yet: the management of customer addresses. I'm not aware if there's something available for that task. But maybe you are?

My favorite free available templates are the DominoWiki and the new , which you can use for all administrative stuff, forms or as a knowledgebase etc. Those wikis can be used by everyone and deliver value from the first day on.

Let's start a discussion about this topic. What's your opinion on that topic? Which free available templates do you like, which one do you recommend? And please keep in mind that we're talking about really small companies and stuff that helps them to simplify their daily business.


DAOS: Transparent, transparent, transparent - and easy!

Tags: Domino DAOS Lotusphere
Here at Lotusphere are a many sessions about the new Domino Attachment and Object Service (DAOS). I didn't had that much time before Lotusphere to check it out but there were some sessions about it on my schedule.
And after hearing and reading something about it, I decided during a session to activate it on one of our small Domino servers. And because this feature is so powerful and at the same time so easy to implement, I also decided to share some informations about it.
At first the question when thinking about new features is, what they will do for you? Will they be worth the time you need to implement them? For DAOS you can test this with the new DAOS Estimator Tool you can download from IBM's website. This tool analyzes your data files and you can directly see what improvments DAOS will bring for you. In my case my total disk space savings are 18% and my Domino Data Directory shrinks 64%. That is huge, I think.

And the best is, that implementation isn't really complicated. IBM provides a Quick Start Guide in the Lotus Wiki.

And to come back to the headline, the good thing about DAOS is that it's cmpletley transparent. You just won't recognize while your daily work, if DAOS is activated or not.

So, have a look and give it a try!


Any load balancer geeks out there?

Tags: Load balancing Domino
In a customer's project we've got a question regarding load balancing. And I hope that someone of you is able to give us a short answer.
We're using a Nortel Application Switch 2424 in front of our 3 Domino web servers. We need balancing with session persistance, to assure that a single user only uses a single server for it's session. This configuration is working without any problems. But we need someting more:
Only one of our three server hosts the application archive. And if a user sends a request to the archive, the balancer must forward this request to this special server (URL based redirection), regardless of the other two rules.
Our load balancer expert told us, that this is not possible. We only have the choices between
(a) balancing and session persistance or
(b) URL based redirection.

The documentation is not very clear on those topics, espacially regarding the combination of features. Our opinion is, that building different server groups (one for the application with all 3 servers and one for the archive with only one server) should do what we want to. But unfortunately we are not able to access the load balancer by our selves to do any tests, because it is in the hands of another department. So if you have any ideas, please share them with us. Thanks a lot!


XPages, here I come

Tags: Domino XPages development

I am sitting at Heathrow airport, waiting for my flight back to Frankfurt after attending a three-day workshop on XPages at the IBM Innovation Centre in Hursley. The workshop was great and my head is full of new stuff and ideas. Thanks to Tim, Matt and Chris for also making it a very enjoyable and entertaining event. If you want to know what we did in the workshop, Mick has covered it in more detail.

Now that I've spent some time working with XPages I am even more thrilled by the potential they possess. Web development on Domino has been possible for more than 12 years now, but it's never been easy to develop really sexy web applications on Domino. I'm not saying developing XPages applications is a piece of cake, but now you can create a really cool Domino web application without bending over backwards.

The potential of XPages, however, is not only that many things that took hacks or workarounds are now only one checkbox away, but they are also very powerful because you can customize and compute nearly eveything.

I am very much looking forward to applying this to one of our applications which we will then demo at our Lotusphere Comes To You event taking place on February 17 2009.

I am expecting XPages to really take off next year and I hope that many customers will see their potential. Along with DAOS, DCT and the ID vault, they are in my opinion one of the main drivers for Domino 8.5 deployment.


Do I hear more?

Tags: Domino
I think this is one of the largest databases I've ever seen. At least the one with the most documents.


Domino Licensing

Tags: Domino
At a customers project we ordered a new small server for our development team. The smallest hardware available was a dual processor quad core Intel Xeon machine. Now we need to buy licences for Lotus Domino. The Processort value unit calculator tells me, that I need 400 value units. Well, this is a bunch of money and the project manager asked if we can lower the licensing costs? My first thought was virtualization. Install VMWare or Xen or any other product of choice and run the Domino server within a VM. But it seems there's something new (at least to me): IBM calls it Sub-capacity Licensing.
This presentation lines out, that you must license to the full capacity of server if you are not using this new Sub-capacity Licensing. Does that mean I need to buy 400 value units even if I install the Domino server within a VM with only one processor enabled?
If so, the new licensing model seems to be interesting. But what are the requirements?
Customers must:
  • Agree to the terms of the Sub-capacity Attachment, and follow Virtualization
    Capacity License Counting Rules for the Eligible Virtualization Environment(s)
  • Use Eligible Sub-capacity Products, with sub-capacity part numbers
  • Use Eligible Virtualization Technologies
  • Use Eligible Processor Technologies
  • Use the IBM License Metric Tool (ILMT) and maintain report documentation
    (Certain ILMT use exceptions may apply)

OK, but what the hell is ILMT and what is it about? At first I expected a small and easy to manage application. But hey, we're talking about IBM. So expect the unexpected:
DB2 and Websphere. Well, I can hear my customer say: "Hello IBM, can you hear me? I've got one little small and tiny development server and I don't want to pay for 8 cores and I also don't want to maintain the DB2 and Websphere stuff!"

Nothing to complain about. As mentioned before there are some "exceptions" for ILMT which you can find here.
Eligibility Criteria: Customers must use the IBM License Metric Tool, with the following exceptions
  • ILMT does not support the Eligible Virtualization Environment
  • Customer has fewer than 1000 employees and contractors -Tool recommended
  • Customer server Full Capacity licensing for a PVU product is less than 1000 PVUs
    (on servers with an Eligible Virtualization Environment)

We're happy enough, because the server Full Capacity licensing is less than the 1000 PVUs. So we're done? For sure not! If the mentioned excpetions are valid for you, there are also some new requirements:
Requirements: For the above exceptions, customers must manually manage, track and prepare Audit Reports
  • A separate Audit Report must be prepared for each Eligible Sub-Capacity Product deployed for each Eligible Virtualization Environment
    (Which can be a Single Server or a Group of Servers “Cluster”)
  • Audit Reports must be prepared as frequently as is required to maintain a history of increases to Virtualization Capacity and Full Capacity
  • Each Audit Report must be signed and date stamped, at least onceper quarter

Did I miss something or is that really the way you must license your Domino environment? If so, our solution might be pretty easy: We will pull one of the processors out of our small and tiny development server and are saving 50% of licensing costs.


Rich-content emails with BES 4.1.6

Tags: BlackBerry Domino
Since last week the Service Pack 6 for BlackBerry Enterprise Server 4.1 is available for download. In conjunction with the device software 4.5 you've access to some really nice and cool features.

The user (or the admin for sure) is now able to decide if the emails should be displayed as text only (as it was before) Text_Mail.jpg or as "shiny" HTML mail.HTML_Mail.jpg

On one side I like the HTML feature for clean and well created mails, but in some cases, when the mails are to "heavy" they are not really readable on a mobile device. At least on my 8120.

Really interesting is the possibility to use databse, view and document links from the BlackBerry device. A mail containing a Notes document link looks like that:

After opening the doclink, the browser starts and asks for your credentials (if the database needs them):

And then the target is displayed:

I think this feature is very usefull. At least if you have customized views and forms for your mobile devices. And keep in mind that I took the screenshots with a BlackBerry 8120. If you're using a Curve, 8800 or Bold with a larger display, reading HTML mails and following doclinks might be much more convenient than it is with the small display.

The only problem is recently that there is a lack of device software. The OS 4.5 is only available for some devices and from some carriers. Hopefully this will change soon.


I am downloading 8.0.1 ....

Tags: Domino Notes Client
hi I am live blogging from our Lotusphere Nachlese 2008. And I am downloading Notes 8.0.1. I would love to present it during our show today...


Notes and Domino 8 Gold is available....

Tags: Domino Notes
for download in the IBM Software Access Catalog.

Domblog will be hosted on a Domino 8 Server soon.




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