Monthly Archives: January 2014

The tone is set for #IBMConnect 2014 and How Computing Power is the next Utility


If you arrive for IBM Connect on Sunday, you’re late. There has already been a flurry of activity from great 2-hour Jumpstart sessions that dive deeper into topics that other sessions during the week won’t have time to do; to the chance to visit the product showcase Sunday evening where it isn’t competing with your time networking and attending sessions. As a business partner, the Sunday BP-focused sessions have been a wealth of info on how to better inform customers.

The diversity of the conference is actually quite refreshing.  It’s not all just about Lotus Notes.  Sessions covering Connections, Sametime, SmartCloud, Mobile, Kenexa, real world examples of using it all, and even some amazing Smarter Planet stuff, like a display in the center of the product showcase demonstrating how it can gather and distribute traffic data between cars in an area.  With such a diversity in sessions, you can’t complain if you feel pigeon-holed with no opportunity to learn new things.

For all the talk about communicating and collaborating via computing (mobile, tablet, PC) in more natural ways, the underlying tone is cloud computing.  It permeates everything.  With so much focus on IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, at this point there is no longer any doubt in my mind that computing power has become the next utility.

What do I mean?  For comparison, go back in time to the end of the 1800’s and the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.  When a business built a factory, they also built a power plant to supply it with energy.  Then along came the notion of creating large power plants and a network of power lines that would supply electricity to every household.  Then, these businesses realized they could also tap into that grid for supplemental power and eventually get all of their power from it without ever building their own power source.  Electricity as a Utility was born.

Jump ahead 100 years.  Businesses are building large data centers to house and manage their computing power needs.  This is the beginning of the Information Revolution.  Then along comes this network called The Internet.  It connects households to computer resources and “information suppliers”.  Then businesses realized they could also tap into that grid and now there is a movement to get their computing power from Cloud Computing providers like IBM, Amazon, RackSpace, and Google.  If history repeats itself, as I fully predict, the day will come in the very near future when data centers at corporations will all but vanish.

The one small, but significant difference is that information, unlike electricity, is not just consumed.  It is also created and stored, almost like houses that have solar panels which are wired to “sell” their surplus back to the power company.  This distinction is the wild card that adds complexity to this otherwise close parallel.  What do you think?

Get the most out of your Connections account at IBM Connect 2014 (Connect O’Sphere)


If you’re attending IBM Connect 2014 next week you can get much more out of the experience by taking the time to get set up in the community on the conference Connections community well in advance of arriving in Orlando.  This will give you access to the session information, allow you to create your own schedule, connect with other attendees, and get a more socially interactive experience at the conference.

First, you should have received an email from connect2014@us.ibm.com with your login credentials.  Your credentials for logging in should consist of long numbers.  Secure, but difficult to remember if you’re trying to log into the website.  My advice: don’t.  Instead, go to the app store on your mobile device and download the IBM Connections app.  I actually like using the app better than viewing it in a browser. The website is great, but in the app everything just flows a bit more smoothly.  But best of all, you don’t have to keep logging in.  Enter your credentials once and you’re done.

The details:
1.  Download and install the app on your mobile device.
2.  Launch the app.
3.  Add your account credentials for the Connect 2014 Connections server.  (The app allows configuring for multiple Connections servers)
Enter a title:  Connect 2014
Server URL: https://connections.connect2014.com
Username:  <your user ID from the email>
Password: <your password from the email>

You’re good to go.  Start by entering your profile information so people know more about you.  Be sure to post a photo of yourself (a photo or bitmap of anything other than you is really quite useless.  A simple head shot is perfect.)  Add tags about yourself to indicate your areas of interest.  Next, go into the profiles and search for people you already know and add them to your network.  After you connect, tag them with relevant tags that will help define who they are.  Then go into the schedule area and add the sessions to your schedule so you have a plan.
Unfortunately, the forums do not appear to be available via the app.  This is disappointing given that most people will want to interact on the forums via their mobile device.  Who wants to log into a website to get to the forums, especially with those numeric credentials? Still, I think you will find the app very handy for getting the most out of the conference.

See you at IBM Connect O’Sphere 2014!

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.

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