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Reviewing the current Lotus Notes Domino infrastructure

Learn how an upgrade to Lotus Notes Domino 8 will affect infrastructure components and systems and how to perform a system-wide health check.

Before you upgrade you will need to identify the components and systems that will be impacted by this upgrade. This is an opportunity for you to execute a system wide health check -- this normally includes a review of the following:

  • Lotus Domino Servers: Identify any existing issues, such as crashes, problem servers, and slow access. Your Lotus Domino servers should be tested before you process the upgrade. Be sure to set up similar servers in a test environment, and use server.load to test the performance capabilities of your servers. Also, make sure that your servers are not "sick"; you should not upgrade a server that is crashing or having hardware issues. Fix issues and problems before you upgrade.
  • Monitoring systems (Tivoli, DDM, BMC, and so on): There are many new monitoring features with Domino 8. Be sure that your current monitoring systems work with Domino 8, and that there are no conflicts with any new features.
  • Directory architecture (directory analysis, directory customization): This is a big step. Analyze your directory, and determine whether or not there is any customization. Determine whether or not any custom design features (views, forms, and so on) need to be moved into a new directory. In some cases, you may find these customizations are no longer needed in Domino 8.
  • Clients: Test you clients, and make sure that your current hardware and software configuring will support Lotus Notes 8.
  • PDA and/or other wireless systems: With each new release, new features are added. Be sure to verify that any new features don't conflict with your PDA devices. For example, we have seen in the past where a ODS change broke the connection between the local PDA and the data on the Lotus Notes client.
  • You are reading part 2 from "Upgrading to Lotus Notes Domino 8," excerpted from Chapter 7 of the book "Lotus Notes Domino 8: Upgrader's Guide," published by Packt Publishing.
  • AdminP status: This is a great opportunity to makes sure that admin4.nsf is replicating to all Lotus Domino servers, and that all AdminP ACL database assignments are correct. Also, there are new features that allow you to set up several directory AdminP servers using Extended Directory access control.
  • Application analysis: This includes any issues with applications being upgraded, custom templates, and API analysis. Be sure to test your applications with Domino 8. In general, upgrading to Domino 8 should not result in any issues relating to existing applications, but it's always a good idea to test with any upgrade. Make sure that your custom APIs still work as needed with Domino 8. In some cases, you may need to recompile some of these APIs, and in other cases, you may no longer need the APIs.
  • Custom templates: Check for customization of system templates. Compare this customization with any new features in Domino 8, and determine whether or not you need to move this customization into the templates and applications. The use of the IVES Team Studio Delta tool will help you with your analysis.
  • Messaging architecture (including NRPC services, SMTP services, messaging tracking, enterprise-wide communications, mass mail, corporate communication, and co-existence with other messaging systems and other tools): NRPC rarely causes problems during or after upgrades, but it's never a bad idea to test this anyway. Make sure that NRPC Notes Name Networks (a.k.a. NNN) or Domino Named Networks (DNN) work as before the upgrade. Test each SMTP Services feature that is enabled. Test each Domino message tracking feature that is enabled in your current environment. There are a wide variety of mass-mailing tools and other customized features that may be installed in your environment. Be sure to test each of these tools. Large enterprise organizations can have several varieties of mail systems and servers. Test any custom interfaces, software, and SMTP connectivity. Be sure and check out the new "out of office" configuration features for ND8 -- you now have the option of using the router to launch the "out of office" messages in place of the standard agent.
  • Other services and servers: There are a large number of Lotus/IBM products. All of these need to be tested. Examples include Quickplace, Sametime, LEI, SMTP gateways, virus scanners, backup services, and provisioning systems. Ensure that these products (and the versions you have installed) are supported with Domino/Lotus Notes 8.
  • Domino replication (activity logging, replication topology, replication settings, connection documents, access control, replication schedules, cluster replication, if enabled): Our experience with most upgrades is there is rarely an issue with replication and upgrades, but be sure to test this.
  • Messaging topology (server topology, named networks, domains, inbound and outbound message flow, routing requirements, routing priorities, volume metrics, client strategy, server vs. local replication, alternate client access [POP, IMAP, web, mobile users], hand-held device recommended practices [Treo vs. Blackberry]): With ND7 a new task was added: the Room and Resource manager task; be sure and test your Rooms and Resources architecture as part of your upgrade.
  • Mail-enabled applications: Most Domino architectures will have several mail-enabled applications. These can, and will, be affected by an upgrade to a new release of Domino. Overall, Lotus Notes and Domino provides great backward compatibility, but you still need to exercise due diligence regarding any new LotusScript elements, new "@Functions", and new design elements. At the minimum, verify that the mail-in-DB records are functioning correctly.
  • Architecture (high level review, connections to internal systems [networks, unified messaging, SMTP/Internet domains]).
  • Network (platforms, DNS/DHCP, remote access): Overall, we see very little impact to this area with an upgrade. Again, take the time to test the new release to make sure that the 'basics' work.
  • Calendar and scheduling (user calendaring [delegation, manager access], enterprise scheduling [resources, shared group calendars]).
  • Directory (directory architecture [in particularly directory design], directory management, directory synchronization, naming [Servers, users, O and OUs]).
  • Security (ACL access, anonymous access, encryption and certificates, certification practice statement, organization structure, ID management, access controls [file server system, console and physical, server access/pass-thru/deny, client execution control, administration access]).
  • Capacity: Determine if your Lotus Domino servers can handle current user loads (mail file size, hardware sizing), load balancing/sage, and capacity planning. Our experience is that each new release of Domino provides better performance in CPU and memory, and that each new release provides more features. With each new feature or function you will find additional resources being used – in particular, system memory. Be sure to monitor, via statistical baselines, the impact of a new release on the current setup of hardware.
  • Configuration settings: These are a very important part of the server upgrade. Review each server configuration to determine if you need to make any changes.
  • Environmental variables: Check for abandoned notes.ini variables and obsolete notes.ini settings. Check the on-line support tools for this list. The release notes may also have some information about the current set of supported Notes.ini variables.
  • Management and administration (change control, administration model, client management, remote access recommendations, staffing levels, service monitoring and reporting, systems management, backup and restore model).
  • ESX/VmWare: There are a number of Lotus Notes Domino enterprises that are looking at ESX and WMware. At the time of writing, there are limited sets of data regarding the successful use of ESX for Domino 'messaging'. If you are considering using ESX for ND8 messaging, we suggest the following:

    • Review the current supportability statements (URL and release notes) from IBM on this topic.
    • If possible, do not upgrade to both ND8 and ESX/WMware at the same time. This is the old rule of not making too mange changes at once.
    • Be sure to set up a test lab to check how ESX will work with a shared CPU and memory model. Also pay close attention to the Disk I/O queues. Server.load can help you with test loads/scripts.

If you are using clustering, you should monitor the workqueue depth and seconds on queue statistics.

Tutorial: Upgrading to Lotus Notes Domino 8

 Home: Introduction
 Part 1: The Lotus Notes Domino upgrade process
 Part 2: Reviewing the current Lotus Notes Domino infrastructure
 Part 3: The Lotus Notes Domino 8 upgrade path
 Part 4: Special feature considerations for upgrading to Lotus Notes Domino 8
 Part 5: Lotus Notes Domino 8 upgrade use case document example

Lotus Notes Domino 8: Upgrader's Guide This chapter excerpt from Lotus Notes Domino 8: Upgrader's Guide, is published with permission from Packt Publishing.

Click here for the chapter download.

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