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Sametime all the time

Check out the great advisory skills of Mathew Newman, standing by to answer your questions about Lotus instant messaging.

Instant messaging gained its early momentum in high schools and colleges, but it has quickly become a central component in corporate collaboration strategies.

Lotus instant messaging was an early entrant in the IM fray. Now, under the name of Sametime, it plays a key role in the Workplace suite. Like every technology, it can only be truly understood with the help of advisors well-versed in its ins and outs.

At SearchDomino.com, we are proud to feature the advisory skills of Mathew Newman, who is standing by to answer your questions about Lotus instant messaging and Sametime. Peruse here some of his greatest "hits." And if you have questions, don't hesitate to "ping" him with them. For us, it's Sametime all the time!

Question: Can you tell me where I can find good materials to learn more about Lotus Instant Messaging online? I have experiences in Notes/Domino, but I don't know anything about Sametime.

Answer: A good start would be to download the (Lotus Instant Messaging - LIM) data sheet.

Once you have digested that information, you might want to dive into the Administrators guide.

A great place to learn about new technology is your local Education Centre for IBM Software (ECIS, which includes the old LAEC's). Check the Lotus education site education for the latest course outlines and schedules.

Question: If I already have Domino/Notes 6.5.1 environment installed, and I only want to use Instant Messaging capabilities, not Web conferencing or instant meetings, do I need to purchase any Sametime licenses?

Answer: With the introduction of IBM Lotus Notes 6.5, Instant Messaging is an integral component of the Domino System. There are no additional licenses required to install a Sametime (Lotus Instant Messaging - LIM) Server, or to have the Notes 6.5 + clients access the Instant Messaging features.

The limitation, however, begins here. The LIM features available from the Notes client do not extend to online meetings, which includes features such as screen sharing and white-boarding. In addition, one feature not present in the Notes-integrated Instant Messaging is the "Broadcast" function available from the Sametime Connect client (although Notes does have it's own broadcast feature available, so I personally don't think this is an oversight on IBM's behalf). So the short answer to your question is: No, you do not need to purchase any additional Sametime licenses for the features you have mentioned.

The Sametime server may be installed onto an existing Domino Server, or on it's own dedicated box, with no additional server licenses required.

Question: How can meetings be migrated from a Sametime 2.5 server that is to be decommissioned to a new Sametime 6.5.1 server?

Answer: Meetings on the Sametime server are stored within the Sametime administration databases, stconfig.nsf, etc (all found in the root level of your Domino data directory and prefixed with a st...nsf).

The easiest way to "migrate" your existing data to a new machine is the same process as moving Domino to any new box. Just copy (using the OS) the entire Domino directory (e.g. c:lotusdominodata) over to the new machine. Install Domino and then Sametime (principally to register the services within Windows) into the same directory that you have just copied, and then start the Lotus Services. During the initialization of the Domino system, you should be prompted to "upgrade the design of your databases," simply say "Yes," and then wait for the system to complete the upgrade process.

Alternatively, if you have already installed the new box, create replica's of the old stconfig databases on the new system and then upgrade the design of those databases using the design process.

Question: We are using Lotus Sametime 3.0 and have found that if multiple users are selected that the "send announcement" does not deliver to all of the desktops. We do not see any apparent pattern to it. Just looking for a fix so this great tool does not get ignored because it does something odd.

Answer: That wonderful word "intermittent", which makes all administrators cringe. Seriously though, issues like this have been reported during the use of Sametime 3 (Lotus Instant Messaging - LIM) in a number of environments I am aware of, most of them (with regard to announcements) have almost always fallen into one of the following categories:

  • Server Tasks
  • Community Connectivity
  • User Status, or
  • Client installation

Server Tasks:

Ensure all LIM server tasks are running when sending the announcement, especially if there is more than one server within the community. Sometimes it is necessary to 'bounce' the server to re-initialize the tasks that the OS reports as 'started,' but which have actually stopped, or worse, failed.

Community Connectivity:

Ensure that the (server) members of your multi server environment have the correct connections and can communicate with one another, also be aware that person documents have a lot to do with where an announcement is supposed to go, so any problems here (configuration, rep conflicts, etc.,) will compound any delivery issues.

User Status:

Remember that users who are "Off-line" or on "Do Not Disturb" in LIM v3 CANNOT receive Announcements.

Client Installation:

Mixed client environments (i.e., 3+ and prior to v3) are going to come across this issue frequently, as announcements aren't available to client versions prior to 3.

As for a fix - "newer" versions of LIM are available (ie, 3.1, 6+).

Hope this helps.

Question: How do I separate community and meeting services? I want to build one Sametime server for chat and another for meetings, is it as simple as not starting some of the tasks?

Answer: In short, yes.

By community services, I assume you are referring to "Chat." Just to clarify, the community services, and the corresponding configuration available in the Sametime administration Web-based tool, allow Sametime servers to communicate together when operating in a multi-server environment, where users have different home servers.

The Sametime community can then "correspond" with one another to determine whether a user is on-line and can be seen using the LIM awareness tools, regardless of their "home" server.

I have previously configured servers which participate purely as "Chat" servers, without meeting capabilities, using the following IBM Technote:

Sametime: How to disable meetings and only use Sametime for chat

More details about the Sametime services can be found in the following document:

Sametime: What order do Sametime Server Services start

Additionally, "Meeting" servers need to participate in the community in order to show user online status etc., during meetings. Also, a users "Home" Sametime server is defined in their person document, so as long as the server you wish to use purely for meetings is not listed as a users "home" server, it will not use the chat functionality provided inherently in Sametime -- that will be performed by the users Sametime "Home" server.

So if your aim is to reduce the load on your Meeting and Chat servers, configure the Chat server as listed using any one of the options in the Technote (suggest #2 -- beware of using #3, also with #3 I do NOT recommend short-cutting the system using program documents!!) and then define your users "Home" server (under the basics tab of the person document) to be the chat machine.

Do you have a Sametime question for Mathew Newman? Click here and ask away!

This was last published in April 2005

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