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SmartCloud Tip #01 Using the Notes admin client to compliment the SmartCloud web admin screens


This is my first in a series of tips regarding SmartCloud Hybrid Notes migrations and administering SmartCloud Hybrid Notes environments that aren’t always obvious.

First, as a user, I will say that the more I use SmartCloud Notes, the more I like it.  Yes, when doing administration tasks I keep bumping into walls that, as an experienced administrator, I wish weren’t there.  But I have seen the problems that a bad or malicious administrator can reek on a system given the opportunity and I am thankful for the excessively tight security.  After all, one of the biggest reasons to go to SmartCloud is so you don’t have to administer mail servers, right?

Tip #01 – How to use the Notes Administrator client to compliment the SmartCloud Web administration screens:
As usual, the system administrators are the last ones to get a UI that makes sense.  No surprise since there is only 1 administrator for every few thousand end users.  The SmartCloud Web Administration screens aren’t very efficient and can be downright frustrating to use at times, especially when you are accustomed to using the Notes Administrator client.

For example, let’s say you have a mixture of mail templates in use and you need to move everyone using one template to a different one.  There is no way to see what template is applied to each mail file via the web admin interface.  At this time it simply can’t be done.  But you can use your Notes Admin client to find them.  While the SmartCloud servers won’t show up in the list of servers in your domain and you can’t view the directory in SmartCloud to add those servers in bulk, from the pulldown menu select File – Open Server and enter the server name to gain limited access to the server.  The SmartCloud servers will even appear in the Open Server dialog list if you have opened mail files on them already.  Be sure to bookmark your SmartCloud servers in your favorites too, so you don’t have to go through this process every time.

Now that you have the server open, you can go to the Files tab and see more details on your users’ mail files including the templates applied.  The directory structure they use in SmartCloud is designed to accommodate a multi-tenant environment.  So you will want to know where to find your mail files.  It’s not too hard because you can’t see any databases you shouldn’t have access to.  The directory structure works like this:  In the root there will be the directories Data0, Data1, Data2, Data3.  You can ignore the Data0 directory as no mail files are in there.  Each of these directories contain the following subdirectories:

12345678 (your customer ID) – location of the mail files for users that have this server designated as their mail server
lost+found – used for maintenance
s\12345678 – location of mail files where this server is the user’s secondary server in the cluster

While there aren’t many actions you can take here, it does make it easier to do tasks like open mail files for troubleshooting, view the database properties, see who is approaching their quota, etc.

MTBF 8.5.x – Mean Time Between Failures Sandbox app updated for Domino 8.x – Credit to John Paganetti


What is MTBF?  It stands for Mean Time Between Failures.  That’s a statistical term for describing how often your servers go down and for how long.  In this case, it is also the name of a tool that captures vital information about every time a server is shut down or crashes anywhere in your environment.  It tracks when it went down and for how long.  It does this automatically whether you remember to post a change in change control or not.  It even has a place to post comments about the event.  It also provides % up-time measurements and other statistics.  When you say your servers had an availability of 99.999%, over the past 5 years, now you can prove it.  This is all stored in a database where you can let management see just how robust and solid your Domino environment really is.  No longer do you have to take a beating for network outages that made it look like Domino was down.  You’ve got the proof!  And the nice thing is how easy it is to implement.  A small .EXE is run every time the server is started and it is run once a day to collect stats.

This is total plagiarism, but I give full credit where it is due.  John Paganetti of Iris Associates Inc. (IBM) is the developer responsible for this application.  The original version (which worked on R5 to ND7)  was posted in the Sandbox at LDD.  But as you all know, The Sandbox was taken down, so there was nowhere for this updated version to be posted.  A while back, I made a post on IdeaJam requesting that MTBF be updated to work on 8.x and John graciously fixed it and sent me the code.  Now I am sharing it with you.  It’s in the sidebar on the right, in the flash widget box.

Recently I posted on IdeaJam requesting this tool be added to the standard software.  Please go there and vote for it.  The complete instructions on implementing it on your servers can be found in the Help Using document of the database.  Below is an excerpt of the first steps involved.  Also check the Help About document and if you get the chance, drop John a note of thanks for a cool tool.

Mean Time Between Failure Installation Instructions

First Server Installation:

Place the MTBF executable in the Notes Program Directory on your Domino Server.
Place the MTBF.NTF template in the Notes Data Directory on your Domino Server.

From an Administrative Client: Create a New Database MTBF.NSF using the MTBF.NTF Template

At the Notes Server Console: > load mtbf -a

The -a is only necessary if this server has not yet been “added” to the list of servers to be monitored.

Wait until the task runs to completion. From the Notes Server Console check it’s status by doing performing > show task until MTBF task no longer appears.

Verify your first server has been added appropriately by opening MTBF.NSF and view  1) Server Information.

Now is a good time to update the MTBF.NSF ACL.  It is recommended that the Server Group LocalDomainServers has Manager Access.  The rest is up to your discretion.

Add MTBF to the ServerTasks = line in your NOTES.INI on your Domino Server.
(Crash and Shutdown information will be updated each time the server is restarted when MTBF runs the first time)
Add MTBF -F to the ServerTasksAt5 = line in your NOTES.INI on your Domino Server or create a Program Record for this server to run MTBF -F once a day or every other day or once a week … based on your desires.
(This will perfom the once a day exhaustive log searching and compute intensive mean time calculations and statistic generation)

Create a Program record for this server in the Name & Address book to periodically run MTBF
(Very fast and Inexpensive operation to update Server Elapsed Time in 1) Server Information view.)
(Recommend hourly update but you may choose less often, but do not recommend more often.)

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