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Five tips for a simple Domino 7 upgrade

If you've decided to upgrade to Notes/Domino 7.0, now is the time to make sure your enterprise is ready. These hints from Jessica Couto, President, Computer Focus, will ease the process, both before and during the upgrade.

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As the mid-September release of Notes/Domino 7.0 nears, administrators should start looking at their current infrastructure now to make sure the upgrade will work well for them. The idea, of course, is to address server or application issues before the upgrade and to make sure any mid-upgrade obstacles affect as little as possible in your enterprise.

Jessica Couto is president of Computer Focus, a training and consulting company in Swansea, Mass. Couto presented a session on making the upgrade to 7.0 at the Admin2005 conference for Lotus software professionals that was held in Boston in May. Last week she discussed the topic further with and offered five tips to help administrators prepare for an upgrade.

  • Validate why you're upgrading. If you're still on the fence about whether to upgrade, don't feel compelled to rush into it. Along with considerations for system requirements, make sure your company has the time, the expertise and the resources to accommodate an upgrade, Couto said.

    Even though Domino 7 had four beta versions, like any other debut it will still have some kinks, so waiting for 7.x may be a better option. "I leave it up to them for their own compelling reason to upgrade," Couto said of her customers. Click here for a look at Notes beyond 7.0.

  • Think about DB2. Perhaps the biggest consideration for administrators moving to 7.0 is whether to also migrate to DB2, Couto said. Domino 7 offers full support for DB2, IBM's relational database and a useful tool for application development. With this support, Domino sites get DB2 features like SQL-based views and Domino data is integrated into DB2 applications.

    However, the move to DB2 isn't an end-all, since according to IBM Notes databases will remain in NSF format in Notes/Domino 7.0. In addition, the move will involve training, converting apps to a different console and familiarizing users with a new GUI, Couto said. "There's a lot more behind it," she added. For advice from a expert on integrating Domino 7 beta with DB2, click here.

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  • Audit and purge. Give yourself one or two months to examine users' machines, your servers and the applications you're running. This will give you enough time to address issues and, if necessary, make hardware and software updates. Click here for specific system requirements for the upgrade.

    Once that's done, it's time to remove anything that's been languishing on your system, such as unused Notes.ini parameters, obsolete Person and Group documents, unused application.

  • Update your server first, then get to your clients. Couto gives three reasons for doing the upgrade in this order. First, you get to take advantage of, and familiarize yourself with, the new features of Domino7 before your users do. Likewise, if any problems come up, admins will find them first. Finally, by doing the server at the outset, an admin can set policies across the enterprise and then apply them to all users at once.

    It's also important to choose the appropriate server to upgrade. Pick the server that has the least to lose if things don't go well, Couto said. A good option, then, is an enterprise's SMTP server, since it only affects mail routing, while upgrading an application server first would be a bad idea.

  • Remember: new policies require an upgrade. has already covered some of the new features in Notes/Domino 7, among them improved Calendar features and the shift of notes.ini and Instant Messaging settings to the Server Configuration document. In addition, there are stronger mail and desktop policies, such as the ability to lock down desktops and disable a user's ability to create private location documents. However, these policies won't work on a 6.x client, Couto said, so if you want the policies, you'll have to upgrade everyone.


    I believe 7.0 is not shipping with DB2 as an option. You actually have to ask for the option on a limited basis. Personally, I would not recommend running DB2 and Domino.

    —Matthew H.

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