2014 – What is waiting at the starting line for this year?


Since I finally got back to my bog and wrote a short / brief “2013-in-a-nutshell” post, I thought it might be time to also look ahead. There is allot hat I am working on, here the short list:

 

Connect2014

Yes, I mentioned I am going and what my (not very short) list of must-see presentations are. The other reason I like to go is that is a great time to talk to vendors and colleagues to see where the market and technology is going and what clients are (likely/maybe/hopefully) looking for for the future. It is not just fun and golf – even if my wife thinks otherwise.

Connections Training

I speak frequently at LUGS and seminars on IBM Connections administration, that goes hand-in-hand with the Connections training that I offer as part of my business. This last year has seen allot of one-on-one / one-on-many training where I make the whole Connections install a training seminar for the client where they learn not only how to install but how to document, what decisions they need to think of ahead of time and then how to think ahead to production / operations. I also do class-room hands-on training where I bring in a VM environment and the participants get hands-on and get to break it and repair it. When necessary I actually created “broken” snapshots that I have them fix. Hands-on is the only way to go really

For 2014 I am thinking slightly larger …. I am partnering with a good friend of mine to munch off his good reputation and experience … ;) there will be some more detailed announcements on this later in the 1st quarter. for right now it is still  “Pssssst .. it’s a secret

Technology Trends

Over the last few years I have seen a big uptick in my IBM Connections business and a decline in Domino work. Not because I think Domino itself is declining but because the base knowledge in the market place out there is good and clients see less need in bringing in outside talent – upgrades and migrations yes – or integration work with other systems but not really for basic Domino operations.

Recently I also see a large uptick in Sametime inquiries – ST9 is making allot of clients thinking of upgrades and they want help. Also, they want ST to integrate with more – video, telephony, awareness in every other system they can get it to work in … ST9 looks good for me and I like the changes and (some of) the simplifications in the product – and I think that the licensing changes that IBM put into place will drive allot more adoption.

International Work

I also see an uptick in my “international” work. Whereas my focus used to be 99% North America I do get more inquiries for Europe and Asia … I speak several languages which helps but that is not the real reason, I just guess this internet thing really makes the world smaller and brings us closer in many different ways. Now, if I could just somehow get an app that does something about time zones and jet lag …..

 

 

I am curious to talk to my colleagues out there and see what the technology barometer is showing them – that is one of the reasons I always try to attend Connect (LotusPhere) – but for now all I can say is that 2014 looks good!

Open Mic Webcast: Troubleshooting Duplicate Mail Messages in IBM Notes – 24 July 2013


Looks like a good webcast again. I often get duplicate mail messages and it drives me nuts …. I will likely listne in to this one.

 

 

 

You are invited to join an Open Mic Webcast on the topic “Troubleshooting Duplicate Mail Messages in IBM Notes.” This event will be held Wednesday, 24 July 2013 at 11:00 AM EDT (15:00 UTC, or GMT -4), for 60 minutes. After a presentation, you will have the opportunity to ask questions directly of IBM Developers and Support Engineers. See more details below. (Note: To view this information online, go to http://www.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?uid=swg27038764

When Date: 24 July 2013
Time: 11:00 AM EDT (15:00 UTC, or GMT -4), for 60 minutes
Bookmark Webcast Technote
# 7038764
Title: Open Mic Webcast: Troubleshooting Duplicate Mail Messages in IBM Notes – 24 July 2013
Doc #: 7038764
URL: http://www.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?uid=swg27038764Before the call, the technote will include:

  • An iCal attachment to add this event to your calendar
  • Details on how to join the call and web conference
  • The slides that will be presented during the session

A couple of weeks after the call, the technote will be updated to include:

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  • A written Q&A transcript

To be notified when the Webcast technote is updated, subscribe to IBM My Notifications and select “Webcasts” as a document type of interest.

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Social Connections V – StarWars all over again?


If you are reading this you are social and somehow are involved with the whole IBM software stack relationship social thingamajig or another …. So, unless you live under a rock you have heard of the – very successful – SOCIAL CONNECTIONS shindig that happens on a regular basis and is instigated (among several other, very hardworking individuals) Stuart McIntyre.

In spite of being the model of British reserve and gentleman-ship, Stuart is well know and renowned for his strength in the “the Social Stuff”, or as we like to say – the FORCE is strong in him . . .

Social Connections V is coming up this June and somehow I managed to weasel my way into it and am speaking this year. Thank God Stuart chose the neutral country of Switzerland to host it, that way my antics are unlikely to break up the European Union (it is not a member), set off a minor border conflict (nobody messes with the Swiss) or cause a rise in sea levels (no ocean, but they do have part of the Alps).

Here is a link that the very kindhearted and capable Femke Goedhart tweeted earlier today with a sneak peek of what is in store. Personally, I think most people will come of the Swiss chocolate, the alphorn blues band that will be playing in the lobby and lederhosen that Stuart is planning to wear in celebration of his newly discovered Swiss ancestor who is distantly related to Wilhelm Tell. It is a fascinating story that he is sure to recant to you if you just prod his modesty enough – he is quite shy about his fame as we all know. I also surmise that Tim Clark might have an interesting tidbit or two to share and with Gab “No Problem” Davis around there will be enough interesting content to cover for the fact that my session will be dealing with the finer points of Swiss Cheese Fondue . . .

So, if you think you are interested …. and have the time to watch all the amazed/shocked Swiss who will be gather around the hotel to stare at us in wonder – you should attend … even if it is only to hear hear Gab say “Not a Problem!” in that droll accent of her’s ….

PS: if you are wondering why I mentioned StarWars in the title – no reason other than the big Roman Numeral “V” in the title and that I turn green and shriveled like Yoda when I drink green beer on St. Paddy’s day . . . Switzerland will never be the same after this. I pity the Swiss, really . .

IBM Open Mic Webcast: What’s the Latest with Notes Traveler? – 24 April 2012


I just received this in my in-box – definitely looks like something everybody should put into their calendars:

 

You are invited to join an Open Mic Webcast on the topic, “What’s the Latest with Notes Traveler?” ” After a presentation, you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions directly of IBM developers and support engineers. You can post questions in advance of the call as a response to this entry in the Notes/Domino/Traveler forum.

The event will take place on Tuesday, April 24, 2012 at 11 a.m. EDT (15:00 UTC or GMT -4) for 60 minutes.

Bookmark Webcast Technote #7024152 Title:     What’s the Latest with Notes Traveler? – 24 April 2012
Doc #:  7024142
URL:     http://www.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?uid=swg27024152

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      • A written Q&A transcript

To be notified when the Webcast technote is updated, subscribe to IBM My Notifications and select “Webcasts” as a document type of interest.

Web Conference URL Web conference: Join an IBM SmartCloud Meetings (formerly LotusLive) web conference to view the presentation: Conference 6784422

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Connections 3.0.1.1 and Sametime Proxy Server 8.5.2 IFR1 fix OBEN-8SDLGS – RECALLED


I just got a mail from IBM support on the Sametime Proxy Server 8.5.2 IFR1 fix OBEN-8SDLGS that is mandatory for awareness between Connections 3.0.1 FP1 and Sametime.  It appears this HF was recalled (not sure what he exact problem is) which explains why I have not been able to get awareness to work with Connections 3.0.1.1 – no mater what I do.

That there is no updated, specific documentation for Connections 3.0.1.1 and ST awareness is not a good sign either but that is why I opened a PMR with IBM when I could just not get awareness to work correctly – and here I am a week later and still nothing to show for my efforts .

I will blog again once I hear back from IBM and a new ST HF is released.

Java: it’s your fault! Connections on AIX


Just a quick one during my lunch hour …. ran into an issue yesterday at my current client that shows once more that when you do not work with a specific OS for a while, you really loose your touch for the small details.

The Saga of WAS, AIX and the damn Java Cache

We installed iFixes yesterday and that all went well. However the syncing of the nodes (kicked off from the Dmgr console) took forever, and then one of the app clusters on one of the nodes would not restart (it eventually did after 4 hours).

To clean the system and get rid of any old temp files we:

  • Stopped all WebSphere servers:  /WAS_Profile/bin/stopServer.sh xxx -user xxx -password ****
  • Stopped the NodeAgent:  /WAS_Profile/bin/stopNode.sh -username xxxx -password ****
  • Cleaned all temp files /WAS_Profile/temp  and /wstemp (everything inside of both folders)
  • Ran  /WAS_Profile/bin/osgiCfgInit.sh
  • Ran  /WAS_Profile/bin/clearClassCache.sh

Note: you can also use the command “./stopNode.sh -stopservers -username xxxx -password ****” to shut down the node agent AND the servers at the same time. We wanted to see the individual servers come down as we had issues with one of them.

We then tried to restart the node agent ….. and it failed. We found this in the startserver.log for the node agent:

ADMU3011E: Server launched but failed initialization

Damn, nothing worked … re-cleaned, checked, cursed, cried ….. and then opened a Sev 1 ticket with IBM support online. (had a REALLY fast response – thanks guys!)

The Cavalry to the Rescue …

The Connections support guy had a look at the logs and brought in a WAS support specialist who had me repeat the clean-ups steps above AND clean this location as well (everything in this folder, but not delete the folder itself):

/tmp/javasharedresources

The IBM tech thinks we had a corrupted system level java cache that was causing the issue.  After that a ./startNode.sh worked like a charm and the servers started fine as well.

Total Clean-up

Incidentally, we ended up shutting each AIX WAS server (including the Dmgr) down one by one so we do not have a service outage and ran the above maintenance once more. On the nodes we also ran a “./synchNode.sh” with the node agent turned off – just to eliminate any possibility of the nodes maybe being out of synch (thanks for the idea Stuart).

We will also be going through our automated scripts to test adding some more items to them (email notifications when individual steps are done, add the “/temp/javasharedresources” to the list of folders to be cleaned,  etc.).

Lessons to be learned:

  • When you don’t work with an OS for a while you forget the important SMALL stuff (/tmp/javasharedresources) – I had run into this very issue a few years ago and totally forgot about it. I actually did not remember it until this morning, the day after.
  • When in doubt – call support RIGHT AWAY, if for no other reason than to validate your thought process is correct and you are not barking up the wrong tree. We did not wait very long to call, but sometimes even 5 minutes can mean the difference between failure and success.

 

 

Linux: NGINX Webserver growing in the market


NGINX takes 2nd place in Web Servers from Microsoft IIS | ZDNet.

I came across this one a short while ago. I have not used NGINX myself yet though one of my hosted servers uses it though I have no control over it (cpanel access only) . I have been playing with the idea of configuring some “unusual” systems at home and I think I am going to take a look at how NGINX might integrate with some IBM/Lotus products. I have seen it used as a proxy server (or several servers) in front of IBM web servers but I have not yet seen it used as the actual web server for Connections or Sametime or any other Websphere server.

Anyone out there that has experience in this? I searched online and could not find anything and now I am intrigued - I guess I will have to add this to my long list of things I want to try out.

IBM Support – Change to AVP Telephone Support Processes


This fluttered across my desk today at a client site I am currently working at. It appears that if y are an AVP client (Accelerated Value Program) IBM will no longer get you right to a technician if you call in a ticket but rather wants you to enter it online and wait for a call back. At my current client this is the standard way of operating and the call backs are rather quick – however I have been at other sites where those cal backs have taken somewhat longer in the past. I don’t think there will be much change but I will keep my eyes open and the stopwatch at hand.

I am generally rather happy with IBM support, though some of my clients feel they to often try to solve their problems by asking them (the clients) to upgrade … let’s not get into that discussion as upgrades and point releases in large companies can be compared to the logistical equivalent of clearing a minefield.

 

Here from the email:

Dear IBM Software Accelerated Value Program Client:

We are pleased you chose IBM to provide high-quality solutions for your business and information systems needs. This email is to inform you that Lotus is making a change in their approach to provide support delivery. Below is an explanation of those changes that will directly affect how you receive ongoing support for your Lotus branded software.

In order to ensure consistency across the IBM Software Accelerated Value Program, effective Monday, January 2, 2012, Lotus will move to call-back mode for all PMRs. Customers will have the option to open PMRs via Electronic Service Request (SR), already a choice of the majority of our customers, or by calling 1-800-IBMSERV or your local country equivalent.

IBM Service Request (SR) is a worldwide, Web-based problem submission and tracking tool available in the IBM Support Portal and is a method of choice by many of our clients. Service Request is available 7×24 and allows you to open PMRs and to check the status of your PMR without having to call IBM and at a time that it is most convenient to you.

Our customers tell us that increased access to information and the ability to be self-sufficient in finding the solutions they need when they need them provides the optimum capability to manage their IT infrastructure. Lotus has an array of tools that make it easy or you. If you are unfamiliar with these tools, we invite you to learn more at Lotus Support — Just a click away! In addition, the IBM Support Portal also has many special features available only to IBM Accelerated Value clients. We are committed to meeting the evolving requirements of our customers and continue to focus on enhancing the tools and support we provide.

All of us in the Lotus Technical Support organization and the Accelerated Value Program team look forward to assisting with your software support needs. We are here to help you achieve maximum benefit from your investment in IBM software and support services.

If you have questions at any time about these changes, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Thanks.