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Best practices for converting and moving to ND6

What started out as an Ask the Expert question about migration turned into a step-by-step tip by resident Domino administration expert Michael Lazar.

What started out as an Ask the Expert question about migration turned into a step-by-step tip by resident Domino administration expert Michael Lazar. What started out as an Ask the Expert question about migration turned into a step-by-step tip by resident Domino administration expert Michael Lazar.

View member feedback to this tip.

A member asked me:

We have a little more than a handful of R5 servers running on NT4. I'm about to replace half of the servers with Windows 2000 and ND6. Since they will be new servers, I will not be going the "upgrade" route. Most of the documentation involving installation procedures seem to be centered around starting a new server/group.

A couple of questions:

  1. What's my best bet for converting and moving to ND6?
  2. Does the first server to be replaced HAVE TO BE my administration server? I was hoping for a less popular one.
I receive this question often, so I thought it might best be answered as a tip. Migrating servers can be seamless for your end users, as long as you take some careful steps.

I will address this situation as a hardware swap, not as new Domino servers with new names and such. Also, I will assume that each server is being replaced on a one-to-one basis, and each server doesn't have so much data on it that copying the data from one machine to another will be prohibitive.

  1. Build your new Windows 2000 servers and get the OS set up to your specifications. For now, give it any name and IP address you wish. You will be changing them later.

  2. Schedule some downtime for your production servers. When the time comes to make the migration, you will have downtime.

  3. Install Domino 6 (and any other needed applications) on the new Windows 2000 servers. Do not go through Domino setup, just install Domino. Ideally, you should install it in the same directory structure as your existing server.

  4. The day/night of the migration, take a full and complete backup. Make sure you get every database and file backed up.

  5. After the backup is complete, shut down Domino on the server. Begin to copy all of the databases to the new servers. You can either use the Windows copy function or FTP; I prefer the latter. It's faster, and if you set up some batch scripts, you can launch multiple FTP sessions to put the data to the new server. I have found that about seven active FTP sessions will utilize most of a 100 MB/Full Duplex connection. Copy the data into the Domino Data directory on the new server.

  6. Make sure you copy the server ID file and the notes.ini file. If you had to change drives or directories on the new server, make those modifications in the notes.ini files now.

  7. Shut down (power off) the old Windows NT server. If you believe that server might be turned on in the future, whether on purpose or by accident, you should take the following precautions: disable or set to manual the Domino service; change the Windows name of the server; and change the IP address of the server. This will prevent any possible conflicts with the new server if the old server comes online.

  8. Rename the Windows 2000 server to the name of the old Windows NT server. Give it the same IP address and information as the old NT server.

  9. From a DOS prompt on the new server, run a compact against all databases. Use the -c and -I switches. (That's a capital i).

  10. From a DOS prompt on the new server, run a fixup against all databases. Use the -v, -f and -L switches.

  11. From a DOS prompt on the new server, run an updall against all databases. Use the -R switch.

  12. Start the Domino service. It will come online as a D6 server with your existing server name. Because you retained the old name and IP information, clients will not have to be reconfigured to see the server.
Now to answer the other question regarding the administration server. There is no rule stating that you must upgrade your administration server first. It is, however, highly recommended. In a well set up hub/spoke topology, your administration server would be the master server for all directory changes. Ideally your administration server will be the first production server on D6 so that it can send the new directory and admin4 design to the other servers. It doesn't have to start this way, but if you can do it, you should. Remember to grant the administrators group and the administration server the new policy roles after you upgrade. They will not be given to you by default.

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I did my R5 to ND6 upgrade over the summer, and one issue I ran into had to do with point number 6 regarding the notes.ini file. I copied the ID over to my new server (same situation with a hardware replacement) and had stability issues afterwards. The best approach I found (with IBM/Lotus support) was to use a "pristine" ND6 notes.ini file and add or modify the pertinent statements. There must have been something in my R5 INI file that ND6 did not like, although nothing stood out and I had removed obsolete statements and parameters.

I upgraded four servers during the summer. From what I learned and experienced, I'd start with a clean file and add only those statements that I know are necessary. Everything else is overhead or could cause problems.

-- Don T.


I did something similar with two machines that had to be moved from old hardware and 5.0.12 to new hardware and 6.0.2. I did the software upgrade on the old hardware, then installed and set up the same new version on the new hardware and copied the data files over. Modified notes.ini and some directory link files because the directory structure changed a bit. I didn't run fixup or updall. I didn't do the admin server first, but we only have two.

We've had more issues with R6/R5 incompatibility than we did moving from R4 to R5 but the upgrade itself and moving to new hardware wasn't a problem. The only issue really was that the new kit came with Windows 2000 Server pre-installed. We're in the U.K., but Windows was set up for the U.S. (thanks Dell). I couldn't find a way to change the default system locale without re-installing Windows -- this is important if you run Domino as a Windows service. You can change some registry settings instead of reinstalling, but it is not recommended.

-- Mark B.

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