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Product manager outlines admin perks in Lotus Domino 7

A real-world E-mail benchmark, reduced CPU utilization, DB2 linkage highlight changes in Domino 7, according to product manager Rob Ingram.

IBM has created a new benchmark for Domino 7. Called Enterprise Mail Performance Workload, the benchmark is designed to simulate e-mail conditions more realistically, said Rob Ingram, Lotus Domino product manager, during a webcast last week that was presented by the LotusUserGroup.org and was designed to provide a sneak peak at Domino/Notes 7.0.

In the real world, Ingram noted, e-mail doesn't run alone, but performs in an environment – often a clustered one -- in conjunction with tasks such as replication, full text search and transaction logging, and usually with a combination of server-based mail and local mail files. He said that IBM would publish data from the new benchmark "within a month or so."

According to Ingram, IBM has increased by 50% the number of R6 mail users that an administrator can run on a server. IBM had noted an even higher improvement (anywhere from 80% to 400%) in Linux mail servers, he noted.

Reduced CPU utilization is another feature of Domino 7, Ingram said. CPU is typically the constrained environment of Domino, but CPU resources for Domino Web Access, he noted, are showing bigger improvements than Notes. This means, he said, that at the same user level, an administrator can reduce loads on servers, or that, at the same CPU load, an admin could add more users and consolidate servers.

Ingram noted other performance improvements in Domino 7 administration. Activity Trends is a capacity planning and load balancing tool for Domino domains that gathers and analyzes Domino activity data. It allows administrators to balance a load across Domino servers by moving databases across them. When previously available in Tivoli Analyzer, the capability was priced separately to Domino shops, but is now built into Domino 7. "In the extreme," Ingram said, the capability "can save you from buying additional hardware by optimizing what you already have." The tool is also available to 6.0 users.

Another feature, Domino Domain Monitoring, provides a means to monitor and determine the health of an entire domain at a single location and quickly resolve problems. "We think if we get to problems before they occur, we can keep servers up and running," Ingram said. He also noted that IBM would be demonstrating Domain Monitoring at upcoming road shows.

Also new in Domino 7 is a Smart Upgrade feature, which allows an admin to remotely manage new Notes client updates. "For those of you who find the pain of upgrades too much to deal with, you can use this technology to get desktops up to date more quickly," Ingram said.

Integration with DB2

Ingram next addressed the new ability of Domino 7 to be integrated with IBM's DB2 database. There are two reasons for integrating Domino and DB2, he said. The first is that if someone wants to consolidate Domino data and DB2 data, it makes sense to move toward a single data store. But he said a better reason is to help Domino developers to build new applications, by combining Domino collaborative capabilities with DB2 relational data using SQL, as a new way of building reports against that data.

He said that DB2 had been introduced on AIX and Windows so far. "We're introducing this in a cautious way, because we don't know all the ins and outs. We don't recommend you roll out this capability en masse." He recommended that interested users avail themselves of IBM's trial program, which would allow them to evaluate the capability at no charge.

After the main webcast was over, Ingram entertained questions from the audience. Several of the questions in this portion were related to DB2. One person asked if integrating DB2 with Domino required any special licensing on the client and server? No license was needed on the client, Ingram said, but a DB2 license was needed on the server. Currently, he noted, a trial license for DB2 on the server is available, but "it is too soon to address whether this will be a shipping feature."

Asked when the iSeries would support DB2, Ingram replied, "We are working on it, but we haven't announced a schedule yet." More information would be available in the coming month, he noted.

Ingram noted that there were no plans to extend the capabilities of nsf to other relational databases, such as Oracle and SQL Server, as had been done with DB2. "We already support that integration through DECS, and that will continue to be the way you get that kind of data," he said. He noted that IBM's DB2 experts did special work with the Domino team to facilitate the integration between the two, dryly adding, "We don't expect that type of cooperation to come from other vendors."

Ingram also denied the rumor that IBM would bundle LEI with Domino 7 in the same way that DECS was included.

Another questioner said they had a customer who did not want to upgrade their Notes 5.0 clients to 7.0 but did want to upgrade their servers to 7.0, and wanted to know if this was feasible. Ingram said that it was possible, and, indeed, customers often upgrade their servers first. As to moving from 5.0 to 7.0, he replied that, historically, it has always been possible to go from at least two releases back, and that moving from 5.0 to 7.0 was basically the same as moving from 5.0 to 6.0. He also mentioned that an IBM Redbook pertaining to upgrades is in progress and will be available sometime in Q4.

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