Article

Digging for Domino dead-ends

Jack Vaughan

Notes and Domino admins, like their colleagues across the industry, are working harder these days to fine-tune their environments. Often, performance drags are due to a legacy of dormant user accounts and functions that are not easy to uncover. The ongoing need for tuning continues to create openings for third-party software vendors that focus on these issues.

Among several players in the Domino performance tools market is DYS Analytics Inc., based in Wellesley, Mass., which recently updated its product portfolio with database usage metrics and analysis utilities that provide a better snap-shot view of Domino applications in action. Last month, DYS Analytics rolled out Control! Usage Investigator (CUI) to ferret out forlorn and forgotten Notes and Domino databases, mailboxes and the like.

Such unwanted mailboxes and data stores, not to mention unwanted replica copies, can contribute to wide area network (WAN) performance problems that are typically discovered only through labor-insensitive manual evaluations, said Andrew Wolff, vice president of products at DYS Analytics.

"Administrators need information on how databases and applications are performing," said Wolff. In the case of application or database replication, the admin has to be able to see just how it is communicating to other instances of itself, he said. "When e-mails go out, you have to know the paths they take," he continued.

"The real challenge is to get the [total cost of ownership] down," he said.

Tools like DYS's Control! suite can help administrators, said DYS customer Ron Meyers, a Notes manager for Anixter International Inc., a distributor of wire and cable. Anixter, located in Glenview, Ill., used DYS software to pinpoint domain and routing issues that degraded e-mail system performance. Meyers said his group has more than 80 servers, most of which are mail servers, located around world.

"We were having tremendous problems with routing mail. Some of it was architectural, and some related to policies," said Meyers. "We were hopping messages as much as 10 or 12 times. The first thing we did with DYS Control! was work out where the critical points were. We got a good handle on where the traffic was, and how much there was, in order to make a determination on how we needed to go," said Meyers.

Anixter Notes administrator Gary Brueggemann said the software was useful for monitoring replication in order to find what he called "deceased databases." These are DBs associated with "little apps that got started up years ago that nobody's using anymore," he said.

The software helps because, said Brueggemann, "It is a real-time, consuming process to do by hand."

"Now you can run a report and look at the results," said Meyers. Alternatively, one can build portals that let line managers check e-mail systems use without generating reports.

DYS's Wolff said Control! is also often used to uncover performance problems with replication schedules, cases where user IDs are no longer in use, poor e-mail topologies and lack of e-mail policy compliance.


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