IBM Connections – Michael Sampson’s State of Market Whitepaper


I have met Michael Sampson several times in person over the last few years, I have most of his books and actually suggest them as required reading to clients of mine, sometimes even buying them as gifts to make sure they actually get read. I don’t go as far as testing them on content and make them write essays, but I do discuss the books with them.

Michael just posted a VERY interesting new document that I suggest as an absolute required reading to anybody involved in “social in the enterprise”, and whereas the whitepaper (my title for it, not his) deals with IBM Connections, I do believe that you can extrapolate allot of trends to other products in the same general realm.

I have been pondering the content for the last day (he only posted it yesterday) but the one thing that stands out to me is the realization that after the initial sales surge of IBM Connections, it has started to attract a different type of client as of late. Michael mentions this is some of his findings as a possibility and frankly it meshes with what I see. The types of client I encounter now are quite different from the clients I first met when I started to work on IBM Connections 6 years back.

Size does matter and makes an impact, most of my clients now are in general smaller in user size and are more diverse in terms of the industry / business they conduct. I also do see a different attitude in terms of why they decide to purchase the product and what their goals are for adoption and what they want to “get out of it”. I also see some of the older (=previous) clients come back wanting to find if they can’t further improve their somewhat stagnant adoption and find ways to use IBM Connections in more parts of their company.

I really urge everybody to read the document and pick up all the really great insights you can gain from it. And, as always, I also urge you to buy Michael’s books , they are very educating (I don’t make a dime on commissions – ore whatever currency they have in New Zealand). And, if you are not already, follow his blog – good content!

 

SPNEGO: Map SPNs and Create Combined Keytab Files In One Step


I have been wanting to blog about my SPNEGO install guide for a while but have been just a bit busy lately (my usual excuse). However, I just had to help a client setup SPNEGO for their IBM Connections environment so I decided the time for procrastination is over.

 

If you look at the IBM documentation, the process to create the SPNEGO keytab files and mapping the correct URLs and Fully Qualified Hostnames of servers to the AD account is rather onerous. IBM documentation will have you create separate keytab files for each url/FQHN that you want to include in the SPNEGO config and then merge them. For the normal user that is setting up SPNEGO for the fist time that is painful indeed and confusing. My process below does it all in one step (one step per URL/fqhn) and adds all the settings to ONE keytab file. I am usually done in 5 minutes and then create the config file using wsadmin commands and am up and running in SPNEGO in under an hour.

Note: all commands below have to happen ON AN AD DOMAIN CONTROLLER, running them on your workstation will not work.

 

Environment / Variables:

  • SPNEGOAD account: SPNEGOAccount@DOMAIN.COM – domain\SPNEGOAccount
  • Server FQHN: serverfqhn1.example.com, serverfqhn2.example.com, serverfqhn3.example.com, etc.
  • Connections URL (c-record): connections.example.com



Check Current SPN mappings for SPNEGO AD Account:

  • setspn -l SPNEGOAccount
    (review output)


Step 2: Add SPN mapping to SPNEGOAccount
 and create Keytab files

[setspn -s] or [setspn -a] could be used just to add/map the SPNs to the account, but this does not create the keytab files.

  • setspn -s HTTP/servernew.example.com SPNEGOAccount
  • setspn -s HTTP/newsite.example.com SPNEGOAccount

 

Run commands to create a SINGLE keytab file AND map accounts at the same time:

  • ktpass -princ HTTP/servernew.example.com@example.com -ptype KRB5_NT_PRINCIPAL -mapUser SPNEGOAccount -mapOp set -pass password1A -in C:\Temp\KRB\krb5.keytab-out C:\Temp\KRB\krb5.keytab
  • ktpass -princ HTTP/newsite.example.com@example.com -ptype KRB5_NT_PRINCIPAL -mapUser SPNEGOAccount -mapOp add -pass password1A -in C:\Temp\KRB\krb5.keytab -out C:\Temp\KRB\krb5.keytab

 

Note: the first command has the command [set], all the following commands (one for each url/fqhn you want to add) has the command [add]. If you do not use the [add] command, each of your subsequent commands will override your previous one, leaving your AD account with only one fqhn/URL mapped to it. THIS IS IMPORTANT!
Check whether the SPNS are all correct:

  • setspn -l SPNEGOAccount
    (get output and show it has mappings)
  • ldifde -f c:\temp\new-output1.txt -r “(servicePrincipalName=HTTP/ serverfqhn1.example.com)”
  • ldifde -f c:\temp\new-output2.txt -r “(servicePrincipalName=HTTP/connections.example.com)”
    (Get output files and review)

 

 

Some Gotchas

Which  URLs/c-records and server FQHNs to map:

I map EVERYTHING. The main reason is that often your C-record for the site (our example connections.example.com) will point to the fqhn of a server or a load balancing device. In that case you need BOTH of them mapped. I mal all webservers/HIS, WAS servers and (if existing) the LB address (this s usually overkill and not necessary … but paranoia pays off sometimes).

Command errors:

Depending you your AD forest, the above ktpass command might need the AD account your are mapping to either in the [ACCOUNTNAME@DOMAIN.COM] format or [DOMAIN\ACCOUNTNAME] format. You will see the error right away when you run it for the first time.

SPNEGO setting in WebSphere:

If you go by the IBM documentation (there is allot flying around) you will see they generally tell you to add the fqhn of the Deployment Manager as the HOSTNAME in SPNEGO. Keep in mind that works for them because generally they testers tend to work with single server test installs where ALL the systems run on one server and the Dmgr is also the HIS server and often they don’t bother to change the URL for the Connections setup. What you need in there is the C-Record your users will be putting into their browsers to get to Connections in in our example connections.example.com. Should the C-record point to the FQHN of a web server then you could input that address as well. That is why I generally map EVERYTHING, that way you have maximum flexibility should you need to finagle with your architecture and move functionality around.

Oops, you forgot something …

If you suddenly notice you have to add servers to the SPNEGO setup (maybe you are migrating) – DO NOT ADD MORE MAPPINGS TO THE SPNEGO AD ACCOUNT. That will invalidate the existing keytab files and you will have a n SSO outage. To add additional files you have to stop all WebSphere servers involved , add the mappings with the ktpass command using the [ADD] variable and use the existing keytab file from one of your WebSphere servers. Then recreate the config file using wsdmin and replace the old keytab files with the new one.

Webinar Tomorrow: Learn how the Ephox editor works in IBM Connections


If you are working with IBM Connections and you want to know more about the new (and FREE) entitlement of the EPHOX editor EditLive! for IBM Connections V4.5 then you should tune in to this webinar tomorrow ….

In January, IBM announced terrific news for IBM Connections customers — it’s making the Ephox editor, EditLive!, available to all IBM Connections v4.5 clients. Now IBM Connections’ users have access to the industry’s most advanced WYSIWYG editor.In this short, but impactful webinar, we will shareways in which your IBM Connections users can derive the most value out of EditLive!’s advanced editing capabilities.

Join Ephox tomorrow to learn how to get access to EditLive! if you’re using IBM Connections v4.5.

Tim Thatcher and Michael Fromin of Ephox will present the following:

  • The capabilities of Ephox’s editor, EditLive!
  • How Ephox’s editor can deliver value to users of IBM Connections
  • Ways other IBM customers are reaping benefits using EditLive! for IBM Connections while increasing user adoption and engagement

Date: Thursday, March 27
Time: 10 a.m. PDT, noon CDT, 1 p.m. EDT, 5 p.m. GMT

Who should attend:

  • IBM Sales Team Members and Leaders
  • IBM Client Technical Professionals
  • IBM Business Partners
  • IBM Connections Customers (IT, end users, content contributor, social media contributors)

Presenters:

Tim Thatcher, chief operating officer, Ephox
Michael Fromin, director of client services, Ephox

Register for the Ephox webinar today.

Look forward to seeing you there.

Dave Dabbah
Vice President, Marketing
dave.dabbah

Connect with Ephox at:
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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!

MWLUG 2013 Open General Session Speaker – News!


This just came in email – a very interesting addition to the OGS with a new (additional) speaker.  The OGS alone is worth coming, I hope to see a few of you guys there .Peruse the agenda, there are some really good sessions being offered.

 

From the Email:

 

MWLUG 2013 Banner

 

Announcing the MWLUG 2013 Open General Session Speaker

We are very please to announce the MWLUG 2013 Opening General Speaker will be former US Marine, Author, and Indianapolis Colts Community Spokeperson, Josh Bleill. Josh the author of One Step at a Time: A Young Marine’s Story of Courage, Hope, and a New Life in the NFL present about building a Community.

Along with Scott Souder our MWLUG 2013 IBM OGS speaker, Josh will deliver our Opening General Session.

Josh BleillJosh Bleill, Indianapolis Colts Community Spokesperson

Marine Corporal Josh Bleill [Bly-ul; rhymes with “Kyle” or “smile”] is a native of Greenfield, Indiana. After graduating high school, Josh attended Purdue University. Upon completion of his education, Josh decided to serve his country by joining the United States Marine Corps in 2004, and was activated for a tour of duty in Iraq in 2006.

While serving in Iraq, Corporal Bleill was severely injured, resulting in the loss of both of his legs. After extensive rehabilitation, Bleill returned to Indiana in August of 2008, where he attacked his new life head-on. This new life included employment as the Indianapolis Colts Community Spokesperson.

Indianapolis Colts Owner, Jim Irsay, has described Bleill as “very talented, bright-eyed, and skilled,” and Josh now travels the country to spread his message of hope, “one step at a time.”

I’m doing it again: I’ll be Speaking at MWLug – Indianapolis Aug. 21-23, 2013


.Yes, Here i\I go again. I will be speaking on Connections again at MWLug. This year it will be in lovely Indianapolis, IN and My session is titled “IBM Connections essential Skills – Data Manipulation and it’s Limits”. Ooohhh, sounds like it might even be more fun than pulling teeth or watching paint dry!

IamLUG 2013 – Blackmail and Malarky!


I just have to come out into the open and share my plight: I am being blackmailed by the IamLUG’ers ….. coerced, forced into bonded labor without the possibility of parole … my freedom of laziness is under attack … Oh, the humanity!

As I have written earlier, I was foolish enough to sign up for IamLUG 2013 (May 6 – 7, St. Louis, MO) and also hand in an abstract for my REALLY excellent content that I mean to share – mainly on the finer points of Swiss cheese fondue interspersed with some vaguely useful tidbits on IBM Connections administration.

Now imagine my reaction when I get a mail from the organizers telling me that they expect me to actually WORK. I mean – they want an early abstract or else! They want us to hand in our valuable and priceless and totally awesome content by April 15 – AND we need to blog and tweet and all that social stuff – or else!

Now, I normally don’t have an issue doing the Twitter, I would even add the horrid hashtag #IamLUG to my tweeties, but this is to much:

Start tweeting and blogging if you want a couple extra days on your slide deadline

Wha??? … the gall, the impertinence! How about this zinger:

Slide deadline will be moved to April 15 but if you blog and tweet we will make yours April 22

Followed by this one – a real shocker (it really hurt me to the core):

If you don’t tweet, we will force you to eat Victor’s horrid cheese fondue with the stray dogs of St. Louis as company

I will admit it – it made me cry …. the psychological hurt was … hurtful. So, under all this duress, stress and psychological pressure I relent – even a man as strong as I am can only take that much:

  • IamLUG is the best – and it is free as in FREE BEER – thank the damn sponsors for that, they are trying to ruin your liver
  • IamLUG is taking place in the coolest place in the world – the city that has half of a McDonald’s sign (they never had the money to finish it – they call it and ARC, no .. ARCH …)
  • IamLUG will have some REALLY AWESOME content about cheese fondue and a few other mildly interesting technical presentations
  • IamLUG has this thing called TICK IT ON – oops! Freudian mishap – I meant TACKITON where you can learn some stuff – how to make cheese fondue quality content it ain’t – but maybe, just maybe if you want to know something about XPages and that development jazz – it might be worth the paltry money they ask for it … just maybe. (I will still offer  my services as a fondue connoisseur to liven up the bland XPages content if needed . . . )
  • IamLUG has the greatest presenter in the western hemisphere present, and a few other decent enough folks who can ramble on a bit
  • IamLUG is full of fun …. join us in this years challenge to see who can single handily bring down the wireless network with Pinterest postings of kitten pictures
  • IamLUG is just so great .. and it is free as in FREEDOM of speech. And who does not like to spew forth a whole litany or malarky AND get a standing ovation for it?

I think I have now done my damn part … my totally awesome presentation will be in their damn in-box on APRIL 22 (take that, IamLUG’ers!)