Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Domino Server Licensing Question

We are looking at implementing mail archiving from our iSeries to a Linux server. The archive will be a mount point on a NAS appliance (more on that later...).

My question is: Can we simply get a Messaging license or do we have to get an Enterprise license for the mail archive server? There will be no other applications running and we will be using all templates shipped with Domino. Any thoughts? I have that question into my BP as well but sometimes this is quicker!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Happy Blog Birthday!

Today is the first birthday of my blog! I pretty much averaged a little over one post per weekday. I did a little catching up at Lotusphere to help that number. Oddly, I wish that number had been lower as many of the posts were about issues I have encountered in the past year! But hopefully some of the posts have helped some of you out. I find tremendous value in reading many of your blogs!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

DEBUG_THREADID=1 (Show-n-Tell Thursday)

For my own personal benefit as much as that of others, I try to maintain a list of some debugging parameters for Notes/Domino. For this Show-n-Tell Thursday (SnTT - per Chris Linfoot) tip, I would like to highlight the benefits of one debug parameter and a real world example of how it helped determine the cause of a crash.

The debugging parameter is:

Per this Lotus technote, "This prefixes the console output with the process and threadid information in the format [ProcessID:Virtual Thread ID-Native Thread ID]. This can be helpful in identifying the process or thread holding a semaphore."

Well here is an example from the NSD of a crash we experienced this week:
Fatal Error signal=0x00000001 JOB=AMGR/QNOTES/070217 PID/TID=17095/0x000001c9
2/20/2006 4:39:47 Fault cleanup is in progress

Obviously that informs the Administrator that the AMGR task caused the crash. While this is a good start, it can only leave one wondering the agent that caused the crash. Please note, though the PID/TID (Process ID/Thread ID) section in bold. Searching through a dump of the console (or console.log, etc...), I would specifically look for the string "000001c9" since it is the Thread ID. It is best to search starting at the bottom. When I do that, I come to the following 3 console entries:

[17095:00002-000001C9] 02/20/2006 09:36:03 AMgr: Agent ('OS Administration' in 'workflow/costplus.nsf') message box: (unknown constant -MsgText002-)
[17095:00002-000001C9] 02/20/2006 09:36:06 AMgr: Agent ('OS Administration' in 'workflow/E16.nsf') error message: Object variable not set
[17095:00002-000001C9] 02/20/2006 09:36:06 AMgr: Agent ('OS Administration' in 'workflow/E16.nsf') error message: Cannot find external name: INITIALIZEADMINISTRATION

This informs me of several things regarding this AMGR task. First, we see that at this time there were two different databases as possible culprits for this error. But, since an AMGR task can only run against a single database per thread, I can rule out the top one as the problem. Secondly, I see that the last entry for this Thread was an error in a specific database and a specific agent having an issue with finding an "external name". In the past, I have generally been able to clear this error up by a design refresh or a recompile of LotusScript. (This agent, by the way, is an unmodified agent in a Lotus Workflow database from IBM - I would never (wink, wink) write an agent that crashes a server...) Third, we see that the last action by this thread was about 3 minutes prior to the server crash. It may be possible that another agent could be the culprit. It could also be possible that this agent simply hung for several minutes on this error or a subsequent error in the same agent. Further debugging may be necessary as well as potentially calling Lotus Support. If it is a specific agent, you could add some print statements to see where the agent is hanging.

This is, of course, not specific for the AMGR task and it is really most beneficial if you have more than one of the same task running on your system. I have about 5 AMGR tasks and multiple CLREPL and UPDATE tasks. I would definitely recommend turning this on as a first step in troubleshooting!

Now Playing: "Pull Me Under" by Accomplice

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Trend Micro ScanMail for Domino (i5) Version 3 Now Available

Update - Someone made a comment that this has been out since last year. I should amend this to say that I was talking about it being available for iSeries now. Thanks Mary!

Has anyone upgraded to this? I loaded the latest version I could find at the website in January on my cluster box and it was still 2.6. I'm really not even sure of what has been added to this. I know there is a new UI.

But, according to the product updates site, though, ScanMail for Domino was released in November... This is incorrect though.


I may take some time next week to upgrade this after going through the upgrade literature. But I'm still mulling over upgrading to Domino 7.0.1 on my cluster server too.

Now Playing: "Lotus Support Music"

Monday, February 20, 2006

iSeries Downtime Videos

Check out these video clips of what an iSeries does in its downtime:


Now Playing: "Cell Phone Freaks" by Ken Tamplin

Anti-MS From An Unlikely Source

I was talking to a good friend of mine the other day who's a COO. He told me that I would be proud that he made the switch to Firefox! He was telling me that he really doesn't care for the MS stuff anymore. He was asking what I would recommend as a POP client to replace Outlook. I told him to get Thunderbird and he would be able to import all of his current data.

Now I just need to tell him to get Open Office and he should be fairly set! Once I get him using these 3 applications he may be ready for that next step into the realm of an "alternative OS".

Now Playing: "Saints and Heroes" by Ken Tamplin

Friday, February 17, 2006

iSeries Blogs

For those of you who do iSeries work out there, here are some of the iSeries Blogs that I read. The hyperlink is to the actual feed (RSS/XML).

iSeries Redbooks - Updates to IBM Redbooks specifically for iSeries

iSeries News Headlines - New from the iSeries News (iSeries Network).

The Four Hundred - This usually will have half a dozen articles each week. There is generally some good information here.

Does anyone out there have any other iSeries blogs?

Now Playing: "Going, Going...Gone" by Tourniquet

Sametime Server Update

Chris Miller posted an IBM Technote the other day. It's titled "Notes Instant Messaging encounters a looping condition causing the Sametime server to become unresponsive or to hang."

This is what I've been dealing with for a long time, as you can see from my posts here. I realized that I haven't given an update on this. Actually, we went 12 days with no problems and then we had 1 hang yesterday and 2 so far today. So it's extremely sporadic.

I was speaking just two days ago with a Domino for iSeries Support technician at IBM about another call. He asked me how the Sametime server has been and I told him that it's progressively better the more users we migrate to 7.0(.1). He did say that IBM hopes to have a server-side fix for this possibly in the next couple of months. But don't quote me on that...

While we're talking about Sametime, have any of you upgraded to Sametime 7.0 on iSeries yet? I posed that question to a Domino for iSeries list and two people have stated that they are having problems getting the DWA/Sametime integration functional after upgrading. We have a lot of Sametime users in DWA, so I'm glad I have postponed that upgrade.

Now Playing: "If Pigs Could Fly" by Tourniquet

Thursday, February 16, 2006

And I Thought EOL for OS/2 Had Passed

As I blogged about this in July and August, we were getting rid of the last OS/2 system my workgroup supports. According to IBM Technote 1230555 that just hit my Bloglines, the end of life (EOL) for OS/2 will be 12/31/2006. The technote states that "Support beyond December 31, 2006 is available for a fee through Service Extensions or Total Content Ownership contracts."

In my experience this is almost better than IBM's current support for OS/2. Even though we rarely had problems with it, we would call IBM and were told that support was non-existent. On more than one occasion our IBM hardware service technician had to come onsite and call someone at IBM in Arizona to get support for the OS/2 system since we could not directly get support.

If "only the good die young" is true, then OS/2 was really good!

Now Playing: "Forward Motion" by Relient K

Notes Smart Upgrade Tracking (Show-n-Tell Thursday)

How many of you use Notes Smart Upgrade? I find some great value in this tool. It is the method we use to keep clients up to date. I would just like to "Show-n-Tell" what I've manually implemented for tracking this in the pre-6.5.3 timeframe and what Lotus provides in the post-6.5.3 Lotus Notes Clients.

Before Notes/Domino 6.5.3, there was no out of the box way to track client upgrades - much less Smart Upgrade. This method is something that I still use to get an overview of the clients we have and this can be used regardless of whether you use Smart Upgrade or another method. The first thing I did was create a view in the Domino Directory that displays some brief information on the client version:

There's not really much to this view. To make the first column display nicely, I just have the following formula: @RightBack(ClntBld;" "). The only other thing I have involved with this is an agent to change the ClntBld field of selected documents. This is very helpful to allow me to keep the numbers correct. As clients are upgraded, the old Client Builds are maintained. This is not helpful for the purpose of my tracking. So as batches of clients are upgraded I simply run the agent to make sure that the Client Build field only has one entry. This just keeps the same document from displaying in multiple categories. As another tip for this method, make sure that as you are modifying the Client Build fields that you start with the most recent versions.

With Notes/Domino 6.5.3 and later, Lotus provides a Smart Upgrade tracking database. Below you can see the options in the outline:

This is really handy because it allows you to see how the client was or wasn't upgraded and there are views for Failed, Cancelled, or Succeeded upgrades. The Notes 6.5.3 Client has the code that sends the information to the Smart Upgrade Tracking database as defined in the "Mail-in Database for Smart Upgrade Tracking reports" field on the Desktop Settings document in the Smart Upgrade tab. And, of course, the template doesn't ship with pre-6.5.3 Domino servers.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Strange Notes Shortcut

In my 7.0.1 client, if I have an email open and just hit the space bar it opens the first URL in the document. Interesting...

Now Playing: "I Could Sing of Your Love Forever" by Passion Worship Band

Has This Been Haunting You Since Lotusphere?

She married a man who had nothing at all, nothing at all....

Seems we all knew JamFest was winding down when singers resorted to bar songs!

Now Playing: "Taking Notes Podcast #14"

Monday, February 13, 2006

Potential DoS Vulnerability in Domino LDAP Server Task

I had someone forward this to me. I don't recall seeing it in the blogs, but the IBM technote was updated on 2/10/2006:

Potential Denial of Service Vulnerability in Domino LDAP Server Task

A specially crafted bind request sent to the LDAP server port can result in a Lotus Domino server crash. If successfully exploited, this vulnerability allows an unauthenticated remote attacker to crash the LDAP service preventing legitimate usage.

This issue was reported to IBM Lotus by iDEFENSE. The advisory address is as follows:

IDEF 1173: Lotus Domino LDAP Server Bind Command DoS

This issue was reported to IBM Lotus Quality Engineering as SPR# JBUD6FMQST and fixed in Domino 6.5.4 FP2, Domino 6.5.5, and Domino 7.0.1.
Refer to the Upgrade Central site for details on upgrading Notes/Domino.

A workaround for previous releases is to limit access to TCP port 389 on the LDAP server to only allow trusted hosts to connect.

Note: This issue does not affect Domino servers that are not running the LDAP server task.

Now Playing: "12" by Neal Morse

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Wonder If This Phrase Catches On?

I've never heard anyone say this, but I doubt I coined it...

Bush Spied; Nobody Died

Rather pithy like the other version of it that so many people like to use. I hope it catches on!

While I'm on the topic, I was recently informed of Section 1802 of the FISA law which allows for warrantless electronic surveillance. I began looking at this section and it is still somewhat vague to me whether or not the current surveillance is legal.

Go read the very first part and you can see that it allows for warrantless surveillance of those parties who are defined in "section 1801 (a) (1), (2), or (3)". Now had this stated "section 1801 (a) (1), (2), (3), or (4)", then there would probably be no question as to the legality of this. This is because the party described in (4) is "a group engaged in international terrorism or activities in preparation therefor". I do believe that the main reason for this current surveillance is simply to stop terrorism mainly caused by Al-Qaeda.

In an interview on FoxNews with Chris Wallace on January 8, 2006, Rep. Jane Harman, D-CALIF, gave some great details about the program and confirmed that the program was aimed at terrorists:

HARMAN: But it was made clear to me that conversations between Americans in America were not part of the program and require — and I think they do — a court warrant in order to eavesdrop on them.

And that's been a point of confusion, because some of the press articles allege that this is a so-called, as you said, domestic surveillance program. That's not what I believe it is.....

You should really read the entire interview - Representative Harman has some good points. But getting back to the FISA Section 1802, it appears that it was basically followed and that the warrantless searches can be legal for one year. In some senses of the term, the terrorist could be accurately designated as a "faction of a foreign nation or nations".

I'm still not entirely certain about this. We do know for certain that the Brooklyn Bridge is still intact (and many lives saved) due to this program and it's murky as to whether this program played a role in preventing an attack on the US Bank Tower in Los Angeles.

So, what say you?

Now Playing: "Again" by Brooks & Dunn

Friday, February 10, 2006

BlackBerry Multi-Mode Edition Software FAQ

The document linked below details BlackBerry's Multi-Mode Edition software. This will be released in the event that an injunction is made against RIM in their patent dispute case with NTP. The software is a workaround that will bypass the claims of the patents.

Initially, I understood that no updates would need to be made to the BES or devices. But if the injunction is made, the BES and devices will need to be patched.


Now Playing: "Stars" by David Crowder Band

A "Micro"-"Soft"ware Company

So, what exactly is in a name? While I could probably spin some FUD their way bases solely on the meaning of "Microcomputer Software" Corporation (a.k.a. Microsoft), I will hold back some. As history shows, Microsoft acquired their foothold by developing Operating Systems for "IBM Compatible" microcomputers. On the other hand we have Microsoft's biggest threat in International Business Machines. To me the names alone say a lot about the companies...

That being said, I have been thinking of Ed Brill's post back in December requesting comments on the largest deployments of Domino on a single server. Many customers consistently had over 12,000 users. There were even some that had over 30,000 and one chimed in on running over 59,000 users in a 2 way cluster for failover. This is truly amazing! I know that with the size of my organization that we fall within the "Small to Medium Business" (SMB) category for IBM.

But how would Microsoft view my company?

Looking at a TechNet article on "Recommendations for Large Organizations", we read that "The recommendations for medium organizations are also applicable to large organizations that have more than 1,000 users". There is even a graphic depicting "A large Exchange 2003 organization that has three server locations". In the graphic there are a total of 5 Exchange 2003 Mailbox Servers with an additional 2 cluster servers and a "front-end server farm". The total number of users in this implementation is 12,000 users - which is a fairly big implementation. But you're still looking at software designed for the "micro" world - thus requiring more and more servers for scalable environments.

Reading Microsoft's "Exchange Server 2003 Product Overview", we read the answer as to the likely scalability limit for single Exchange 2003 servers: "With Exchange Server 2003, however, the number of supported users and mailboxes can easily be in the 3,000–5,000 range or more, depending upon the user profiles, message traffic patterns, and mailbox size limitations." I suppose we could debate what the "or more" means, but they're basically saying that you should not have more than 5,000 users per server. Compared to some of the Domino implementations, this scenario would require 10-20 servers to service over 50,000 users (depending on the clustering scenario).

So what does this say to me, you ask? I personally believe it speaks volumes about the role IBM plays in this game of collaboration software. Not only does IBM offer great value from Notes/Domino to small businesses, but they offer truly scalable software (and hardware) solutions. It tires me to continally read how great Microsoft is (though all comparisons show that IBM meets or exceeds what Microsoft offers in direct product comparisons). After going to Lotusphere 2006, the best one I've attended, there should be no doubt whatsoever in the minds of anyone that IBM is on the offensive. The Guardian article is completely ridiculous. Most of our users could probably care less about the e-mail client being used. We purchased Notes/Domino because of the benefits it provided beyond mail and PIM. E-mail was just a little bonus! And we have a ton of users who are deriving immense value from Lotus.

Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Notes 7.0.1 Upgrade Prompt

I've placed a call with Lotus Support to see why this is happening. I have tried running the Admin and Standard Notes 7.0.1 setup for several users. Three of the 4 I tried have received this box. I've never seen previous upgrades of Notes prompt to close individual applications. Has anyone else seen this on 7.0.1 or prior versions?

I am going to see if the silent install via Smart Upgrade will keep this message from appearing. But when I set up my Smart Upgrade kit (as I always have in previous upgrades) with the Deploy Version as "Release 7.0.1", it fails stating that there were no matching kits found in the Smart Upgrade database. I have verified that the Settings and Policy documents have "Release 7.0.1" as well. I'm placing a call about the Smart Upgrade thing too. Will let you know what I find out on both.

Now Playing: "Mystery Machine" by Angra

Notes and Domino 7.0.1 Is Available

Just checked Passport Advantage and Notes/Domino 7.0.1 is available for download.

So, go get it!

Now Playing: "Heroes of Sand" by Angra

Thursday, February 2, 2006

Notes Domino 7.0.1 is Coming Soon

OK, so the Gold Build is complete. When I looked yesterday it wasn't. Hopefully we'll see it posted in the next couple of weeks.

From remembering the slides at the Opening Session, this posting will be referred to as eGA, or Electronic General Availability. The shipping product will be pGA, or Physical General Availability, right?

Now Playing: "No Time To Run" by Barren Cross

RIM Workaround

Here's a trackback to the RIMBlackBerryNTP Blog detailing the "workaround" that we've been reading about.

It does seem like a fairly seamless workaround. Though I agree with the concerns of not being able to read and respond to emails when you are not in coverage. I'm not familiar with all of the semantics regarding "push" and "push-pull". Effectively the workaround is for RIM to push only some headers to the phone and when viewing the message the handheld will pull the rest of the body. Back to the semantics, is this not what RIM now does with the exception of pushing headers plus a truncated body? Many times I will have to initiate the pull to read messages longer than a certain length. But I guess those semantics are meant for the courtroom. Hopefully this will all work out since we just placed an order to double the number of licenses on our BES.

Now Playing: "Mud Puddle" by Disciple