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Local replicas vs. server databases

Our organization has gone through a painful three month upgrade to our Domino/Notes system (that we have been running for eight years). We have been running Domino6 since April. In July, we moved to new hardware (IBM xSeries), new OS (Windows 2000AS to Windows 2003) and a storage area network. We have had a series of system performance and server reliability problems ever since. An IBM CritSit team has been engaged since August and a number of changes have been made (including dropping back to Windows 2000AS). Performance and reliability is better but not completely fixed.

One of our board members has become "interested" in our issues and has suggested that we move our users to local replicas rather than having them tied to the server databases all of the time. (We run a clustered environment for redundancy -- but the switch to the secondary server when the primary one crashes has not been as seamless as we would like.)

Can you point me to a source (or answer the question) as to when local replicas are appropriate or better vs. server databases? (We have few mobile users and have 100 MB+ network speeds to the desktop. We have 3,000 users to be expanded to about 6,000.)

Thanks.

P.S. I am the CIO and have a very good Notes staff. I am looking for some outside validation of our approach.

I generally advocate local replicas when you are operating in a highly centralized environment. If you are forcing your users to get to a remote server, then replicas help ease the pain of WAN traffic. Local replicas are great, but they do add a layer of support that you don't have today. If your workstations have ample space, there's nothing wrong with working locally, as long as you set your clients up to not have to use local directories. Point them to the server for name resolution and free time lookups.

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