Why move from IBM Domino? An economic study

This is a very interesting and compelling document that you should read before buying into Microsoft’s never ending falsehood that “IBM Notes and IBM Domino is dead”.

Indeed, the opposite is true. Of course, everyone acknowledges that there have been no counter-messages from IBM to Microsoft’s claims and IBM have underinvested in Notes/Domino over the last 10 years but there is change in the air – Notes/Domino V10 has a huge number of improvements and new features (some of which are very compelling) and with V11 coming out in 2019, it’s a very exciting time for the product.

Notes/Domino has now been repositioned as an “Application Development Platform” by IBM which is admittedly, an acknowledgement of the market reality. Although, migrating to Microsoft isn’t always the nirvana it’s claimed to be – many power users only realise what they have when it’s gone. Microsoft will promise everything will integrate better but how about pre-existing Domino applications you’ve spent years developing? How many of your current Domino applications integrate with mail? Generally it’s much more disturbing change than the sales people will tell you, with an unsatisfactory ending. Want a flexible mail workflow rapidly deployed? It’s not going to happen with Outlook.

Another huge piece of the jigsaw is that if you do decide to migrate away from Domino, you are looking at a massive capital investment plus a proven higher cost of ownership. We have seen this happen time and time again with more and more funds ploughed into migration projects with no real return at the end (other than users have Outlook). Bottom line is, budget for your migration, double it and then triple that to get the “real” budget. (e.g. from a real migration – 3 clustered Domino Servers running mail for 1300 users each with 8GB of RAM. Now migrated to Exchange on prem – 4 Exchange servers with 1.4 times the storage each with 64GB RAM and crashing constantly due to insufficient RAM and no answers from MicroSoft – better right?)

So, onto the purpose if this post, yes it’s a report commissioned by IBM and yes it’s partisan but I’ve read through this carefully and cannot see any flaws in the data. Domino really does provide excellent ROI (or TEI) compared to other platforms – have a read and please do drop me an email if you would like to discuss any of the findings or would like more information on Domino V10 and what it can offer your enterprise.

https://public.dhe.ibm.com/common/ssi/ecm/01/en/01022901usen/forrester-tei-ibm-domino-01-03-2019_final_01022901USEN.pdf

Thanks for reading,

Steven Vaughan

Unread marks auditing plus Design Dumps…

Every Domino Admin worth their salt will have experienced  incidents with unread marks not working correctly and will have “fixed” these in variety of ways, mainly either marking all documents as read, or exchanging unread marks between replicas

There’s another type of unread marks issue, where someone wants to audit unread marks (i.e. find out who has read a document and when).  Well IBM can provide with a free auditing tool that does just that (amongst other useful Developer type functions).

From the about page of application:

“Welcome to the Toolbox Database

Introduction

The Toolbox database (toolbox.nsf) is designed to help administrators or advanced users troubleshoot issues with Unread Marks in a Lotus® Notes® database.  It can also be used for troubleshooting replication issues and design template issues.  Currently there are six major features in the Toolbox database. These are as follows:

  • Dump design documents: This feature enables users to dump information about all design documents in the database. Toolbox provides information on these attributes: NoteID, UNID, Sequence Time, Sequence, and UpdatedBy.  The output is sorted by Class Name and UNID.  This feature enable users to quickly identify who updated design documents, when they where updated, and how many times the documents were updated.
  • Dump design documents (long format) : This feature is the same as “Dump design documents” but provides more detailed information about each design document.  Additional information includes the document Title, Creation Time, and Last Modification Time.
  • Dump the NoteID and UNID :  This feature dumps the NoteID, UNID, Create time and Last Modified time for a database, database view, or single document to a log file. This log enables the user to take a quick inventory of the documents in the database or view. Then, when unread marks or replication issues are suspected, the user can dump the NoteID and UNID log again and compare the two logs to identify which document was changed.
  • Dump unread activity logs (local db only) :  This feature dumps the user’s unread activity log for a database, database view, or a single document to a log file. This feature works only on a local database that is not encrypted.  Also, the database must be enabled for unread replication.
  • Dump unread mark list : This feature dumps the unread mark list for a database, database view, or a single document into a log file. This feature works for any accessible local or remote database. This feature works only on a database that is not encrypted.  Also, the database must be enabled for unread replication.
  • Toolbox Add-in Menu : This feature adds the following Toolbox menu items to the Actions menu:  “Display info on selected Document”, “Dump design documents”, “Dump design documents (long format)”. These menus are enabled whenever the user is in a view to execute the action.”

There isn’t an Internet link per se for for the tool, but if you ask IBM Support nicely for it in a PMR they will provide it for you and it is intuitive to use.  IBM should probably have a technote on this as I think people would use it if they knew about it and it was freely downloadable (IBM take note !).

Please let us know if you end up using the application as a result of this post!

Cormac McCarthy – Domino People Ltd.

 

Domino Fix Packs on Virtual Windows 2008 R2 (Windows Instrumentation Service problems)

This is an addendum to an earlier blog post  but I found it so common on sites this year it’s worth it’s own blog post.

As per my earlier post, it is often “difficult” to install 8.5.3 fix packs on Windows 2008 R2,  (there’s a couple of work arounds already listed, namely “run as administrator”, uninstalling previous fix packs and disabling SNMP, coincidently another one I’d add is disabling UAC).

But the main and most consistent culprit I’ve found (on Virtual Servers anyway),  is Windows Instrumentation Service (WmiPrvSE.exe).

It is documented here in SPR GFAL95TK9X  which has been closed due to “The problem was caused by a user error or user misunderstanding.”

If you are having this problem please open a PMR and add your instance to this SPR.

Let us know if you found this useful or if you’ve found any other “gotchas” with Windows 2008 R2.

Cormac McCarthy – Domino People Ltd

Interesting Note on Windows Installation during Domino 8.5.3 FP4 upgrade

It has already been noted that there is an Interim Fix available for the “early” release version of 8.5.3 FP 4.

What is also of note is what is actually installed either with the interim fix or with the “new” version of 8.5.3 FP4.

The Domino fix pack installs Microsoft Visual C ++ 2005.  What is worth noting is that it will install this version even if you have a later version installed on the OS. (ie on A windows 2008 R2 server for example Microsoft Visual C ++ 2008 is already installed).

Make sure this doesn’t break and of your applications and/or monitoring software!

Let us know if you found this useful.

Cormac McCarthy – Domino People

Installing Domino Fix Packs on Windows 2008 R2

I’ve come across few “gotchas”  in recent months that seem to be catching customers over and over again.  Particularly when it comes to installing Domino Fix packs on 8.5.X on Windows 2008 R2, I’ve heard the following scenarios multiple times:

1. You get an error saying you don’t have a valid version of 8.5.x installed.  You will probably need to uninstall previous hotfixes and/or fix packs before it will let you install. (Note that we’d always strongly advise making sure you have a valid backup or snapshot available before installing/uninstalling anything!)

2.  You get an error saying an arbitary Domino .dll is in use even though you are sure that no Domino tasks are running.  This is really common.  The vast majority of the time you just need to right click the fixpack file and “Run as Administrator”, however I’ve seen cases where you need to set Domino Server services to manual and reboot the whole OS before you can upgrade.

It’s nice to have this information before you start so if you’re under pressure for time you know you’re not going mad! Let us know if you found this information useful!

Cormac McCarthy – Domino People Ltd

Useful view for Replication or Save conflicts

This is a quick tip that can be used to find Replication or Save Conflicts in any Notes application, but as an Admin I’ve found it most useful for a Domain’s NAB.

In a Notes application,  click Create -> View

  1. Change the view name to something appropriate.
  2. Change the “View type” to “Private” from the drop down menu.
  3. Change the “Selection conditions” box to SELECT @IsAvailable($Conflict)
  4. Click “Save and Customize”.

Right Click on the view as it appears and select “View Properties”.

Click on the second tab, and untick the box “Show response documents in a hierarchy”.

Click the “Esc” key twice and when prompted click “Save”.

You’ll now have a new private view that will show you all Replication or Save conflicts:

It’s really something that should be checked regularly anyway but this is a hassle free way!

Cormac McCarthy – Domino People Ltd

Lotus Domino R8.5.3 Interim Fix for Traveler (Win 64bit)

If you are running Lotus Traveler on Domino 8.5.3 FP1 (Windows 64 bit), there’s a new interim fix available that may avoid serious issues (such as server crashes).

Details are available at this IBM tech note – http://www-01.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?uid=swg21591859

(please note to download the fix requires an IBM log in)

Compare Domino Server/Configuration Documents

This is a really good tip for checking what changes have been made to Server and Configuration documents over the lifetime of a server and can be really useful when a  number of changes have been made in a short period of time especially when things are not working correctly!

If you open up the IBM_TECHNICAL_SUPPORT folder on the Domino server (within the data folder), look files with a DXL extension.

EVERY change made to a Server and Configuration document for that server will be stored here in a DXL file in the format:-

serverdoc_servername_date@time.dxl (server documents)

or configspecific_servername_date@time.dxl  (server specific configuration documents)

or configall_servername_date@time.dxl  (default configuration documents)

(where “servername” is the name of the server, “date” is the date a change was made, and “time” is the time the change was made at).
Now there are many sophisticated LotusScript ways to convert a DXL file into a readable format in a Notes database but there is an out of box solution that doesn’t involve any interaction with developers (and it’s free!).

You’ll need to download the Lotus Notes Diagnostic (LND) Utility http://www-01.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?uid=swg24019151 (also very handy for troubleshooting crashes) .
Download and install it choosing your local Notes program folder and launch.  Accept the ECL alerts and an LND Notes database will open. To open a server or config doc DXL file click on the LND header in the database:-

LND File Open

When prompted for a file, browse to the appropriate DXL file  It will reformat into a new Server/Configuration document within the LND application. You’ll be able to compare this and every DXL file to each other or your current server/config document and find out what changes have been made. The compare process is a bit laborious but it could be a lifesaver !

Please let us know if you find this tip helpful!

Thanks,

Cormac

Domino BES – testing handhelds are functioning

A quick and easy test to ascertain if one or more of your Blackberry Enterprise Server users is setup correctly server side or if their device is configured correctly is possible and here’s how……

From your normal Lotus Notes mail (I’m assuming you are using Notes mail !), send the user, users or group an email with the following subject line:

<$Confirm,RemoveOnDelivery,SuppressSaveInSentItems>

If the Blackberry device is able to receive and send messages, you will get an automatic  reply. If you don’t get a message back, you know something is wrong. The original message you send is removed immediately and the reply is also deleted from their sent view.

A couple of Caveats:

  1. The original message you sent and the reply mail will be in the users trash view.
  2. Obviously this will not work if the handset is turned off or doesn’t have the appropriate signal, in this case the original message you send will also not be deleted until their handset is online.