IBM Sametime 9 – Advanced Server Log-in Not Working


Solved an interesting problem this morning. In a new environment (rebuild/replacement of a V 7 awareness only system) that I built for clients our users were not able to log in to the ST Advanced Servers broadcast communities and chat rooms from their integrated Sametime client in Notes even though they were able to log-in through a browser and had full functionality. At the same time off-line messaging was not working either – but everything else was working just fine.

No matter of trace was giving me the reasons … until I had an epiphany during a thunderstorm this morning – the fact that one of our dogs is deathly afraid of thunder and will try to get INSIDE of you if in any way possible, actually prompted some thoughts that helped me find the issues in one go.

http://www-01.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?uid=swg21499716

I was pretty sure that something was keeping policies from being applied correctly, there had to be something with the way users were being identified. during the upgrade I had not  paid enough attention to some of the changes I was testing – I forgot to add the [objectGUID] (using AD as the LDAP directory) to the search filters. Awareness will still work and Meetings as well … however the rest is going to be strange. I had also had some problems looking up users when adding them to the buddy list – that is when I had the epiphany that it was all related.

Here the changes to the Search Filters:

Search filter for resolving person names:

Original: (&(objectclass=user)(|(mail=%s*)(samAccountName=%s*)(cn=%s*)))
New:       (&(objectclass=user)(|(mail=%s*)(objectguid=%s)(samAccountName=%s*)(cn=%s*)))

Search filter to use when resolving a user name to a distinguished name:

Original: (&(objectclass=user)(|(mail=%s)(cn=%s)(samAccountName=%s)))
New:       (&(objectclass=user)(|(mail=%s)(objectguid=%s)(cn=%s)(samAccountName=%s)))

Search filter for resolving group names:

Original: (objectclass=group)
New:       (&(objectclass=group)(|(objectguid=%s)(cn=%s*)))

 

 

Well, proves once again that it is all about BASICS, BASICS, BASICS ….

 

IBM File Viewer 1.0.7 Installation – Getting Past The Conversion Server Install Woes


I will keep this short and sweet – to use the free IBM File Viewer with IBM Connections 5.0 with CCM you need to have Connections at CR2 and install IBM File Viewer 1.0.7. So far so good … until you run into all the issues that everybody has been having with the Installation of the product, the Conversion Server install fails … allot, often, and with annoying frequency.

There are two main problems with the Doc Conversion installer:

Problem 1: Doc Conversion Install Fails – Unexplained

The error most people see is this one in the installation log:

2015-06-22 19:53:58,236 INFO Setting Websphere variables…
2015-06-22 19:53:58,236 INFO Exception: cannot concatenate ‘str’ and ‘NoneType’ objects
2015-06-22 19:53:58,236 INFO –>IM:ERROR:Traceback (most recent call last):
File “C:\Install\IBM_File_Viewer-1.0.7.20150213-2234\DocsConversion\installer\common\commands\command.py”, line 197, in exec_commands
_do(cmd, cmd_instance)
File “C:\Install\IBM_File_Viewer-1.0.7.20150213-2234\DocsConversion\installer\common\commands\command.py”, line 108, in _do
res = cmd_instance.do()
File “C:\Install\IBM_File_Viewer-1.0.7.20150213-2234\DocsConversion\installer\conversion\set_websphere_variable.py”, line 30, in do
succ = self.__set_variable(“CONVERSION_INSTALL_ROOT”, CFG.install_root_on_node)
File “C:\Install\IBM_File_Viewer-1.0.7.20150213-2234\DocsConversion\installer\conversion\set_websphere_variable.py”, line 43, in __set_variable
log.info(“Setting ” + name + ” as:” + value)
TypeError: cannot concatenate ‘str’ and ‘NoneType’ objects

The funny thing is .. I got it to install a few times and then with other clients it woudl fail and I was not able to determine why … until I took a closer look at the python script that it references and the actual error it gives you:

File “C:\Install\IBM_File_Viewer-1.0.7.20150213-2234\DocsConversion\installer\common\commands\command.py”, line 108, in _do
res = cmd_instance.do()
File “C:\Install\IBM_File_Viewer-1.0.7.20150213-2234\DocsConversion\installer\conversion\set_websphere_variable.py”, line 30, in do
succ = self.__set_variable(“CONVERSION_INSTALL_ROOT”, CFG.install_root_on_node)

If you look at the python script, it is basically called to set a few WebSphere variables:

def do(self):
log.info(“Setting Websphere variables…”)
succ = self.__set_variable(“CONVERSION_INSTALL_ROOT”, CFG.install_root_on_node)
if not succ:
return False
succ = self.__set_variable(“DOCS_SHARE”, CFG.getSharedDataRoot())
if not succ:
return False
succ = self.__set_variable(‘VIEWER_SHARE’,CFG.getViewerSharedDataRoot())
if not succ:
return False
log.info(“Websphere variables set completed”)
return True

This is when I noticed  – the CONVERSION_INSTALL_ROOT variable calls for the  string [CFG.install_root_on_node] -> the point is – ON NODE. I did some more digging and … the variable for the install root is not taken from the main [cfg.properties] file but rather looked up in the [cfg.node.properties] file.

This explained allot – I would not always create that file before the install on the first Websphere noded even if the install documentation called for it since I did not think I needed it. By default that file does not exist, the installation package only contains a file called [cfg.node.properties.sample]. The documentation / WIKI tells you to create the file and copy the whole content from the [cfg.properties] into it but does not tell you why you might need it. If you don’t plan to install a secondary node or will only install it on another physical machine you might never create this file and the installer will fail forever because there is no good error handling AND no explanation as to why the [cfg.node.properties] file is important. Frankly, the way the installer works why you even need the [cfg.node.properties] is beyond me, but I assume there are some IBM Docs install variables that are necessary and IBM wants to keep the number of code changes necessary to a minimum.

Problem 2: Passwords saved to Install.log in the clear

This was something that my buddy Christoph Stoettner had already noticed and talked to me about a while back – not sure if he blogged on it but in any case, here is a shout out to him as he noticed it first.

The installer will stop and restart the IBM HTTP server for you, but for that it needs an OS admin account and asks you for it in the command line. It then promptly logs the entry in clear text in the installation log … a really great example of excellent security that makes me shudder and want to have a very long talk with the developers of the product ….. This is almost criminally negligent.

There is a great way around this,  though the IBM File Vieweer documentation fails to tell you about it: create a JOBS TARGET for all servers involved in the installation in WebSphere. Though technically you only need the HTTP servers registered, I usually crate the targets for all servers. Here is the documentation on how to do it from the IBM Docs documentation. Alternatively you can also just not have the installer restart the IHS, set the variable [restart_webservers=] to [False] and the system should not ask you for the username and password.

If you have already installed the IBM File Viewer – go back to the installation logs and check for the line:

WASX7303I: The following options are passed to the scripting environment and are available as arguments that are stored in the argv variable: “[[[\’ihs.servername.com\’, \’adminaccountname\’, \’adminaccountpassword\’, \’windows\’, 0]]]”

Note: I replaced the server name, account name and password in the above example so just look for the logging code [WASX7303I]

Hope this helps, I know I was pulling may hair out and even had a PMR opened IBM that did not help me solve the issue originally as we never found out what really caused the problem – the poor IBM tech was pulling his hair out along with me and the IBM Docs support guy also was not able to help as they do not really work with the IBM File Viewer and do not know the product and what the installation procedure looks like.

Got my latest Certification: IBM Certified Associate – Social Software and Unified Communications


Just got my latest certification … I will probably do a few more soon. Nice to get this email in your in-box:

 

From: “IBM Certification Program” <ibmcert>

Date: Aug 5, 2014 7:06 PM
Subject: IBM Certified Associate – Social Software and Unified Communications
To: <victor>
Cc:

Dear Victor Toal,

Certification: IBM Certified Associate – Social Software and Unified Communications
CandidateTesting ID: xxxxxxx

Congratulations on achieving your certification and welcome to the world of IBM Collaboration Solutions certifications! Your commitment to increasing your expertise and knowledge with IBM Collaboration Solutions technology is an asset to you and your customers. The Professional Certification Program from IBM distinguishes professionals in the IT community as experts in leading-edge technology.

Your certificate is attached below, in .PDF file format. You can view your certificate, using Adobe Acrobat Reader V6.0 or higher, and print it on any high quality color printer.

Please remember to access services at the IBM Certification Member Site Information:
– select “Request e-Certificate ” to request all your certificates
– select “Account Services” to update demographics, email address, and request transcripts
– select “Member eStore” to order premium certificates and wallet cards
– select “Entitled Resources” to obtain your certification marks

 

IBM_COLLABORATION_SOLUTIONS__119

Rebranding of Notes Mail / Connections Mail and Consequences – #RebrandingFail


I received this marketing/sales email earlier today and reading it made me a bit confused and also concerned. Not because I think that IBM and email is going away, but because f the way that IBM has initialized it’s latest round of rebranding Notes (aka Connections Mail) there is confusion in the marketplace and this is a great example for what clients are going to be bombarded with:

Dear Victor,

IBM is ending the “Lotus” brand, and has been building more functionality into “IBM Connections”, suggesting that they may be trying to get rid of email as a single platform. Notes users have had no choice but to look for alternatives and make plans to switch over to another system.

Unfortunately, migration away from Notes is tricky and companies need 3rd party assistance to make the switch. For companies who plan to consolidate control over legacy data, the most important consideration in selecting a 3rd party is the subsequent accessibility of historical Notes data.

ZL Technologies has years of experience successfully migrating our customers off of Domino systems and specializes in providing them with a Unified system of information governance. To find out how ZL is able to accurately migrate all your legacy data while drastically reducing storage footprint and minimizing resulting operational costs, read our complimentary datasheet.

To learn more about us, please visit our website at http://www.zlti.com, or reach out to ZL experts directly at zl_info@zlti.com.

 

I have worked with ZL’s previously and they have a very kick-ass product. However, I can’t see the necessity for my clients to now suddenly “run for the hills” and look for another mail system. Again, I don’t really blame ZL that much as they are simply taking advantage of IBM’s efforts to sell their products. Rather, I lay the blame for this squarely at IBM. I don’t feel that the whole rebranding thing was well explained (a all!) at Connect2014 nor did I as a business partner get any follow-up and additional info. I am no sure if and how much effort IBM has extended to the follow-up of their (for me very confusing) announcement at Connect, but clearly it ain’t enough. In the absence of a clear and resounding message, messages by third parties like this is all that clients will be hearing.

I assume more companies will be using this as an opening to try and sell their services and products to make sure that those poor IBM customers that will be abandoned by IBM can safely migrate to another – hopefully much safer – platform with all their data intact and enjoy another 100 years of email longevity . . ..

Should I tweet it … #rebrandingfail ??

Connections Certified – Finally!


As if yesterday I am now finally IBM Connections certified:

cert

I had had just no time previously but here at Connect the certification tests are all free for participants so I went for it – and past! It was about time too, having worked with Connections for the last 6 years not having a certification just seemed strange. I do not test well (my dyslexia makes it hard for me) but I guess doing all these crazy IBM Connections projects finally paid off.

Yippie!

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:

  • A recording of the session
  • 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.

IBM SmartCloud Meeting (web conference) URL https://apps.na.collabserv.com/meetings/join?id=9526-3802
Web conference password: webcast
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This e-mail was sent to the following e-mail address: victor