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Beginner's guide to Lotus Sametime 8.5

The installation architecture of Lotus Sametime 8.5 can be a lot more straightforward than its documentation lets on. Find out how to simplify the setup in this expert tip.

The IBM Lotus Sametime product has grown significantly since its first release 12 years ago. Sametime now includes online presence awareness, instant messaging, Web meetings, audio/video chat, phone integration, mobile applications, third-party product integration and more. These features are packaged into three versions of Sametime -- Entry, Standard and Advanced -- each with increasing capabilities.

The installation architecture and administration chores for a Sametime server infrastructure have also grown significantly. A full installation now includes five Sametime servers (Community, Meeting, Media, Proxy and System Console) and two supporting servers (DB2 and LDAP). Some of those servers run on top of Domino and WebSphere, so that middleware must be previously installed. Some of the logically separate server components can be placed on the same physical machine, but a full installation of Sametime is still a daunting task.

In my opinion, the Sametime documentation does not help simplify things. It falsely states that the minimum possible server infrastructure includes the five following components: Sametime Community, Sametime System Console, Domino, DB2 and LDAP.

A basic Sametime Entry installation is much simpler than this and can be accomplished with a single machine and two software components: Domino and Sametime Community. This tip explains how.

The Sametime Entry server provides presence awareness and instant messaging. These services can be used by the embedded Sametime feature of Lotus Notes and from the standalone Sametime Connect client.

  1. Read my previous tip on installing Domino 8.5.x on Windows Server 2008.
  2. Add the HTTP task to the Domino server, if it's not already there. See the line named ServerTasks in the notes.ini file in the Domino software directory.
  3. Set Domino Web authentication to Single Server. See NAMES.nsf -> Configuration -> Servers -> All Server Documents -> <this-server> -> Internet Protocols -> Domino Web Engine -> Session Authentication.

    Note: You can change to more robust authentication later if you so desire.

  4. Restart Domino if you've made either of the above changes.
  5. To test the Sametime features, create at least two users on Domino.
    • Make sure each user is given a Notes ID file and an Internet password.
    • In the Person documents, make sure each account has a convenient logon alias, such as "jsmith" for John Smith/Acme.
    • Make sure each user does not have anything in the Instant Messaging Server field.
  6. Make sure that each user account has access to the server. See NAMES.nsf -> Configuration -> Servers -> All Server Documents -> <this-server> -> Security -> Access Server. If this field is blank, all users have access to the server.
  7. Verify that you can connect to the Domino server with each Notes ID from a Lotus Notes client. Test this by opening the NAMES.nsf database on the server.
  8. Verify that you can connect to the Domino server with each Internet account. Point your Web browser to http://server-ip-address or http://server-dns-name. You should see Domino's standard Web welcome screen.
  9. Open Port 1533 on the Windows Server 2008 firewall and follow the instructions in my previous article. Name the firewall rule something like Lotus Sametime IM.
  10. Stop Domino on the server.
  11. Run the Sametime Entry Server 8.5.x installation program on the server.
  12. During the Sametime installation, choose Domino -- rather than LDAP -- as the authentication directory.
  13. Do not choose HTTP tunneling during the Sametime installation,.
  14. After the Sametime server installation is complete, restart Domino. You should see about a dozen HTTP Java Virtual Machine (JVM) messages related to Sametime. After these messages, you should see HTTP Server Started, then Sametime Server Running. Be patient; the Sametime tasks can take a couple minutes to start completely.
  15. Verify that the server is configured as a Sametime server. Check this from a Lotus Notes client in the server's Domino directory, at NAMES.nsf -> Configuration -> Servers -> All Server Documents -> <this-server> -> Basics -> Is This A Sametime Server = YES.
  16. Verify the Sametime installation. Point your browser to http://server-ip-address or http://server-dns-name. You should now see the Welcome to Sametime screen.

This completes the Sametime Entry server installation. Now, let's test the Sametime client services from Lotus Notes and Sametime Connect with the following steps:

Note: I tested this with Lotus Notes 8.5.2, but it should work with other versions of Notes as well.

  1. Pull down File -> Sametime -> Log In.
  2. Set your host server equal to <server-dns-name> or <server-ip-address>. Don't use the Domino name of the server, such as Server1/Acme.
  3. Set the username equal to the Internet alias you previously created for the user.
  4. Set your password equal to the Internet password you previously set up.
  5. Press the Log In button.

If you are using the Sametime Connect client rather than Notes, pull down File -> Log In, then follow the same instructions as above.

Log in with two different users on different workstations. You should be able to send instant messages back and forth. You may have to type the other person's name into the Find box to add him/her to the contact list.

Chuck Connell is president of CHC-3 Consulting, which helps organizations with all aspects of Domino, Notes and Sametime.

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