Our focus this quarter is on Lotus Notes/Domino 6.
Upgrading to Notes/Domino 6
March Jones, the Notes Infrastructure Manager at Imation will conduct a presentation entitled "Successfully migrating to R6 - planning and implementation".
Migrating to R6 requires a good team, careful planning, and perhaps a little bit of luck. Marsh will spend a few minutes covering the steps taken by Imation to migrate 70 servers and 3200 clients to R6 in less than 90 days (with only 3 admins). Major points covered will be justification, pre-implementation assessment, server analysis and testing, packaging & distribution, communications, training and deployment.
Following Marsh Emily Peterson will present on the Lotus/IBM Certification program.
Emily will explain the new certification program since the CLP program has merged with the IBM certification program. Find out what you need to do to get certified. Emily has been working with Lotus Technology for about 10 years and has been a regular attendee at the user group. She is a manager at En-terpret.co, a consulting firm based in Chicago.
Notes/Domino 6 Client Enhancements
Tom Hillebrand from GreyDuck Technology, a local Lotus technology consulting company will spend a few moments demonstrating the Notes/Domino 6 client for those of you that have not seen it. He'll talk briefly about some of the new licensing options, like the Domino Utility Server, touch on the upcoming release of Notes/Domino 6.5 and mention some training options for your new ND6 environment.
There will be plenty of time for discussion and questions.
This is a USER GROUP, we encourage everyone to participate, bring your comments and questions and help us all learn from each other.
We want to discuss:
- your upgrade experiences or plans to upgrade
- questions/comments about licensing
- questions/comments about training
- questions/comments about "why to upgrade"
- questions/comments about certifications
- questions/comments about anything else
Notes from the Meeting
"Successfully Migrating to R6 - Planning and Implementation" :: Marsh Jones, Imation, firstname.lastname@example.org
Marsh Jones gave a very informative presentation of how his company, Imation upgraded all Lotus Notes servers, users, applications and mail to ND6. The following are a few bullet points from his presentation.
Imation runs nearly all of the Lotus software offerings (Quickplace, Domino.doc, Sametime, Notes applications)
- had some bad experiences in the past with upgrades
- had to upgrade from many different client versions
- didn't want to have server versions staggered (some on R5 and others on ND6)
- so they had to do it quickly, and commit the necessary resources to it in order to get it done
Requirements for a successful Upgrade:
- use the new Policy tools of ND6
- keep environment current and stable. In Marsh's opinion ND6 was more stable "out of the box" than R5.0.8 was for them, they're very pleased with the stability of ND6
- they have kiosk machines for "line workers" for email. They had been using location documents for employees to switch identities on the computers so they could access mail. This approach was problematic. They decided to use iNotes to allow a user to access their email from a browser and eliminate the need for the Notes client on the kiosk machines.
- they have several hundred remote users. This make some applications prone to replication conflicts
- Consolidate mail servers because 6 had better performance. Mail move utilities work now
- because they don't know what they're going to be doing in the future concerning VPN they wanted to have this flexible architecture in place
- good management support
- strong project manager
lots of communication, communication, communication. Marsh could not emphasize the importance of communicating enough.
- a project like this requires some evangelism
- the project team needs to understand Calendaring and Scheduling issues that people had been experiencing when using Lotus Notes so they can address these issues when evangelizing the upgrade.
- get the global support center (help desk) involved early so they're familiar with the new Notes client.
- get the administrative assistants involved early so they can get comfortable with mail and calendars so they know what they're doing so they keep their manager happy.
- upgrade the administration server first
- upgrade smtp gateways next. The ROI from the new smtp server and the RBL's (Relay and Black Lists) paid for the entire upgrade in Marsh's opinion, by the shear number of SPAM messages they were able to block. They now block over 400,000 messages per month. The RBL's that Imation uses arebl.spamcop.net; dnsbl.njabl.org; sbl.spamhaus.org
- They needed to create rules to take advantage of the new server-side mail filtering functions of ND6. They put a lot of thought into the rules they implemented.
- when implementing RBL's they added a customized message to the rejection notice that takes the user to a web link where they can request that a valid email address be placed on the whitelist it. They currently receive 2 or 3 of these request per week. This enables business users the ability to have valid emails added to the whitelist without a lot of red-tape and requests to IT.
- when they upgraded mail servers, they left the R5 mail template in place. Once all clients were upgraded they slowly rolled out the new ND6 template.
- they disabled replication of forms and views on all servers for the Domino Directory. When they need to upgrade the Directory, they manually update each Directory, partly because they have customized the Directory and also because of the Quickplace server that needs to be on R5. It takes approximately 30 minutes to upgrade the design of all 60 servers when they need to.
- They've seen a huge decrease in SPAM but they're monitoring the RBLs closely for valid emails.
Client side Pilot
- They have some applications on their servers that were created in R2.
- Instead of testing and certifying every application for ND6, they identified 10 - 15 business critical apps and tested these thoroughly. They identified 30-40 medium priority apps and tested 3-4 of these. The had a fail-over plan where they could switch back to the old R5 server if they needed to. For Imation it wasn't work the time to test all apps. After the application upgrade they had approximately 5 minor issues, mostly related to form layout. It took their developers less than a day to fix all the problems.
- They determined which applications needed more testing based on how much the applications were used, the complexity of design, and also designs that make a lot of use of read and author fields. They tested these applications more thoroughly.
- When Imation upgraded from R4 to R5 they probably needed fixed 50 to 100 dbs. Marsh's conclusion is that Lotus did a better job making sure ND6 is backward compatible.
- Based on their initial testing they were pretty comfortable with application design upgrades from R5 to ND6 as a result, their plan was to make design changes in a reactive mode (post upgrade) if necessary. If a roll back was necessary it would be easier and less costly than testing every application.
- they had a 50 person pilot group (deskside support people and global support people). These people needed the early exposure. The upgrade team had a lot of communication with the pilot members. The had meetings to go over the features that they like and what they didn't understand. They documented common questions in a FAQ database that could later be shared with all users.
- It was important to keep the pilot group a manageable group size due to standard group dynamics theory.
- Then they piloted to the administrative assistants. They did a short pilot with the AAs because they needed to be on the same version as their managers in order to do their day-to-day activities.
- The team solicited personal feedback. Talked one-on-one with each pilot person to get feedback.
- They used the 'Upgrade By-Mail' feature of Lotus Notes
- They spent a considerable amount of time creating a custom installation wizard for the Notes client using the tool provided by Lotus on the Notes Installation CD's that allow you to create a Windows MSI file.
- Then they built an email message with a button that the users needed to click in order to upgrade.
- They built a mail-in database to accept the 'upgrade-by-mail' messages that are, by default, sent to the administrator.
- rolled out one plant per day.
- They had some difficulty getting everyone to upgrade. Here are some observations of using the 'upgrade by mail' method.
- people read the first line of email only.
- they had a difficult time getting people to "push the button"
- They sent out the same email many times but some people would still not push the button
- eventually they needed to threaten people that if they didn't push the button their email would be cut off.
- Once everyone was updated, they upgraded the mail template to ND6
They found some Calendaring and Scheduling bugs, but they admit that C&S is much better even with these bugs.
- conference rooms
- some things moved from the R5 to the R6 template (button, menu items, etc.)
- Marsh suggests talking to the admin assistant if you want to find any differences or bugs in email, especially if they're scheduling for 2-3 people.
- The AA's like the new mail. It's easier to see multiple schedules and to create team schedules.
They are beginning to integrate the on-line meeting component that leverages Sametime into the mail template.
Imation started the project at the end of February. They started the project and upgraded the Admin server at the end of March. By June 15th everyone was upgraded!
March is convinced that communication was the biggest key. Make sure the offices know what you're doing.
Imation upgraded to the new Rooms/Resource database last (because it had to be last).
Imation has recently enabled LZ1 compression on their mail.
The upgrade consisted of 60 Windows 2000 servers. They had some servers still on NT, but they upgraded them to w2K. They run clustered servers.
Imation's disaster recovery plan is really getting in place. They are confident that they can be fully functional from a disaster within 72 hours. Recovery time from a server outage is now nothing because of clustering.
They don't support mail archiving, because of the problems they experienced with R5 but they're looking into it again because of the R6 enhancements.
Greg (a MNNotes411 group memeber) suggested using a tool to assist with the upgrade (like ADP). Imation did not see the need and they also have a policy that IT can not do silent installs of any sort (they can't do anything without the end user's approval, like clicking a button to accept). Because of this Imation is not a candidate for any sort of SMS system.
Carol (a MNNotes411 group memeber) asked, "Did you do all servers in a cluster at one time or did they do a portion thus having a mixed 5 and 6 environment within a cluster."
Marsh's answer: Actually, this works very well if you upgrade the cluster one box at a time. The R5 mail files work just fine, the servers don't care, and it allows you to have a failover if the install really screws up.
March Jones is the Notes Infrastructure Manager at Imation, email@example.com ::::
Lotus Certifications :: Emily Petersen, En-terpret.co, firstname.lastname@example.org
Emily presented the attached presentation about the new IBM Certification program that replaces the Lotus CLP program and provided handouts. The Handout document includes some very good web links where you can find out more information.
ND6 Demo :: Tom Hillebrand, GreyDuck Technology, email@example.com
Tom showed a few of the new features in the Lotus Notes 6.0.2CF2 client.
- Mail. In-Line View editing
- Colors for view rows, background and foreground
- Calendar Views and Printing, Print Preview
- Display invitee status
- Drag n Drop from the operating system
- Copy view as table
- Deleting Mail, the trash folder works!
- Reorder window tabs, Ctrl-Tab to move between windows
- Policies, auto-upgrade
- Server Mail Rules
- LZ1 Compression, Compress Network Ports
And talked a bit about the on-line awareness integration into the Lotus Notes 6.5 client for those companies that have Sametime installed.
Screenshots of ND6.5