If you've been looking for ways to manage your Domino domains more effectively and lower the cost of administration, don't give up. As the Domino Notes product and deployments have grown, so has the complexity of managing users and servers. Domino 6 has enriched the administration tools set on several fronts, including one key area, Policy-based management.
Policy-based administration provides a single centralized approach to user management. You can try out this feature by downloading Pre-release 1 of Notes Domino 6 now available on Notes.net. For many enterprises, these tools will replace and improve upon in-house tools. It also exposed a new level of control. "Not only does Policy based administration make it easier to perform familiar tasks, but it exposes a new level of control unavailable in earlier releases," says Ted Niblett, Lotus' Domino administrator product manager.
The implementation of policies is a simple model based on the organizational hierarchy. User settings fall into four categories: registration, desktop/setup, security, and archiving. These settings are applied to any level of the organization or to individuals through the policy documents. Settings can be inherited hierarchically from parent relationships in the organization. The fact that there is one place to define and apply user settings is a big win in a large organization with many Domino services and user communities.
How do these features save you time? Pre-defined settings mean more tasks are done automatically, so there are fewer administrator steps. In fact, a single predefined policy applied at registration can dictate a user's entire Notes experience. A policy can determine the look and feel of the work environment by setting up a welcome page, bookmarks, a user's mail server and security settings. Using policies to define password settings and ECLs (Execution Control Lists) will improve security.
Policies allow you to automate desktop updates and upgrades. How often have sites delayed upgrading their Notes clients to the latest version because of the cost? Using the Smart Upgrade database you can deploy the Domino 6 client updates across an entire domain. File archiving, now part of these settings, includes document retention as well as the option to strip out attachments. With previous versions, many companies had to write their own tools to reduce the attachment overhead in their mail databases.
And while you are reviewing the administration features of Domino 6, be sure to take a look at Server Health Monitoring, which puts power behind the Domino statistics by intelligent integration of the operating system and Domino metrics. This allows administrators to have both real time and historical charting of server activity.
Both of these Domino 6 features are significant additions to tool set for Domino administrators. Policy Based Management brings powerful new control over user administration and Server Health Monitoring integrates the full range of statistics to manage servers.
Stay tuned for more information on Server Health Monitoring.
Sandra Thaxter is a former LPS Consultant to many large enterprise Domino customers and a presenter at SAM Seminars. She specializes in Domino administration, performance and capacity planning for Domino servers. She is now consulting and writing from Newburyport, Mass.