Servers upgraded to 9.0.1 and what a difference a point release makes

Yesterday night I upgraded two of our internal Domino servers to Domino 9.0.1 incl. Traveler and the new Social Edition components. The entire process for two servers took just about 15 minutes over remote desktop and VPN incl. the restart of the server which strictly speaking was superfluous.

Pretty impressive but hey it’s Domino!!

The upgrade was from Domino 9.0.0 and what a difference a point release makes. Not for the Traveler server but for the Social Edition server that runs the embedded experiences (EE’s) for us (mainly from IBM Connections). Before the upgrade we had some issues with EE’s not loading incl. timeouts when users connected from home over VPN. After the upgrade these timeouts are gone and the performance is much much better both remotely over VPN and in the office. Previously we had a noticeable delay for the remote rendering of the EE’s but now it’s just there when an email opens up.

So sweet!

So if you’re using EE’s and haven’t yet upgraded to 9.0.1 I would highly recommend you get on it.

Lotus Traveler saves real money!


This morning at IBM Software Dag I have been talking to a number of customers already. One exciting story to start of the day was a company who have completed the switch from an existing, for-pay, mobile mail provider to fully embrace Lotus Traveler 8.5.2. They now only provide mobile mail using Apple iPhones and the Lotus Traveler they are entitled to as part of licensing Lotus Notes.

Now the choice of mobile mail provider isn’t really all that exciting so why blog about it? The reason is that the switch has saved them 60.000 USD in licensing! And that’s only the savings on the mobile mail software. No costs from decommissioning servers, savings from supports and/or maintenance is included in the above number. And this is a relatively small company (around 500 employees).

So why haven’t they switched to Lotus Traveler before? Well they have been waiting for Lotus Traveler 8.5.2 to utilize the support for HTTP/HTTPS as they rely on reverse proxy servers to channel the traffic through the various layers of firewall. They use Apache HTTP server and mod_proxy to channel the traffic through. Again free and open.

Great story to start the day.

How the new iPhone OS may expand the use of Lotus Traveler

For all us iPhone affectionados today was a day of joy as iOS4 arrived in iTunes. There are numerous nice features in iOS4 but the most important from a Lotus perspective is the fact that iOS4 allows multiple ActiveSync accounts (or as the iPhone calls it: “Exchange accounts”). This means that you may use you iPhone with multiple mail systems whether that be multiple Lotus Traveler systems or Lotus Traveler and another mail system such as Google mail or Exchange. Very nice.

I just tried it out with the demo Lotus Traveler from Greenhouse at traveler.lotus.com and it works like a charm.

Why iPhone OS 4 is interesting for Lotus Traveler customers

Today on my commute I was reading about the iPhone upcoming iPhone OS 4 (Multitasking tops tentpole features in iPhone 4.0). Much, and probably way too much, have already been written about the iPhone and iPad lately but one feature of iPhone OS 4 is important to Lotus Traveler customers.

As you might know the iPhone uses the ActiveSync protocol for communication with the Lotus Traveler server. On the iPhone this is called an “Exchange account” of which you could only have a one. For many this is not an issue but it’s really a frustrating and silly restriction (among other things it made it difficult for those of us with multiple e-mail accounts). Reading the run down I was very happy to read that this restriction will be lifted and you now may have more than one ActiveSync account. <insert waves of joy here>

As to the other features being added I guess one can only say that competition is healthy and is advantageous to the customer.

Lotus Traveler calendar invites on iPhone caveat

Just after we had our main Domino servers in the office upgraded to 8.5.1 FP1 I looked into doing to Lotus Traveler configuration updates required to be able to process calendar invites on the iPhone. I did the changes, restarted Lotus Traveler but were unable to see invites on my phone. I messed a little around with it but with no success. Today however I heard other iPhone-enabled colleagues mention that they processed invites on their iPhones. WTF!!

Tonight it hit me why. I have been using the Notices mini-view in my Inbox to show calendar invites for easy processing. Having invites show up in the mini-view apparently blocks the invites from reaching my iPhone because after disabling the use of the mini-view in the mail preferences and sending an invite from my private e-mail/calendar system the invite appeared right away on my iPhone. So there it is – problem solved.

Troubleshooting wierd Traveler startup message

Today I troubleshot an issue with a newly installed Domino 8.5.1 server with Lotus Traveler installed. Whatever was done the Lotus Traveler code would not initialize correctly and would print the following errors to the console despite being configured in the Domino Directory:

Notes Traveler: SEVERE *system Server document for server
      SERVER/ORG in domain DOMAIN not found
Notes Traveler: SEVERE *system Exception caught while
      trying to access NTS server settings during
   at com.lotus.sync.admin.NTSSettingsINI.alarmCallback(
      NTSSettingsINI.I.java:776)

After much digging (and some reverse engineering) I found that it was caused by an invalid configuration. One of the first things the Lotus Traveler code does is open the Domino Directory, switch the the Servers view and lookup the server in question using the domain and server name. The domain and server name is read from the notes.ini file on the server using the ServerName and Domain notes.ini settings.

The problem was however that the Domain setting in the notes.ini contained an invalid domain name hence the server name couldn’t be found in Domino Directory. This hadn’t caused any problems mail routing why it had gone undetected. After fixing this small notes.ini setting Lotus Traveler started without any problems.