Gabriella Davis February 19 2013 08:58:13 PMPaul
and I are pleased to announce a week's worth of re-writing connections101.net
. Now, you have (hopefully) in an educational format the steps required to deploy a pilot installation of Connections 4. The idea behind this site is to teach, not just to demonstrate or give advice. By the end of the modules you should have a functioning connections environment.
Are we finished? No way. A lot more to do with cognos and post-install tasks, but we hope that there is enough to get you started. We don't allow comments on the site, as its enough to manage with the writing of modules, but feel free to contact either of us with comments.
Gabriella Davis February 12 2013 11:53:56 AM
Apparently a conference happened two weeks' ago. I heard good things however if you saw me any time after Monday night it would be good to know what I was doing and where I was because, like many other people this year, I went down hard with the shiny and new IBM Connect flu. It's a very frustrating situation to be in because for the first time in 17 years I pretty much missed all of the conference and every session I was hoping to see, as well as my friends. I do have a few highlights though and some people to thank and I did at least manage to make it on stage for all my presentations..
OGS and CGS
I loved the opening general session and I thought the choice of speaker was a very good one, Joseph Gordon Levitt talking about his community art based website hitRECord
. If nothing else it made an impression on me about finding something you're passionate about and working with others who feel the same. The IBM message of the importance of enabling people by providing them with ever better information and ways of working was less technical that we usually have but that was the theme of the conference and it does tie into the technology I'm working with. The closing session was pretty much a blur for me, I remember going on stage for the final photograph and standing between Warren and Kitty Elsmore, but weirdly in John Roling's photograph there's just a gap where I'm sure I was so maybe that didn't happen! http://www.flickr.com/photos/greyhawk68/8437116720/lightbox/
I did 4 presentations this year, 3 with Paul
(including 2 Adminblasts) and 1 by myself. Those of you that were there know it was a tough week all around and I'd like to thank Mat Newman for the ice cold beer I used (unopened) to keep my temperature under control on the big stage on Tuesday during Adminblast. I'd also like to thank Paul for putting up with a presenter in a feverish state and anyone who came and sat through my sessions and filled in evaluations. The evaluations were very kind (unless I'm still delusional).
Rock Solid Sametime For High Availability
Understanding IBM Connections And Designing to #NOTFAIL
Some Thank You's
- Starting with Susan - track manager, goddess, my friend and inspiration (whether she wants to be or not). She looked out for me (and everyone else) all week, sent out a call for medicine when Tim and I were both unable to move and walked a burger to my room when Tim decided he was hungry and I was too ill to even get near the smell of anything. She also gave me a pass on Gurupalooza when I simply couldn't get out of the room.
- Everyone who participated in Spark Ideas - we've had such great feedback again this year and the talks were by turns, funny and inspirational and heartbreaking. To Kathy Brown, Carl Tyler, Graham Acres, Jenn Priske, Andy Donaldson, Tim Davis, Susan Bulloch and Tim Clark and Francie Tanner for doing hosting duties
- The SocialBizUG team who worked so hard to get the site testing and published before IBM Connect. I was the monkey doing the buiding but Sarah Cenedella and Julia Weisman from WIS were behind the design, Mark Myers and Ben Poole from LDC were the genius developers and Joyce Davis from IBM fought the good fight to get us the support we needed in a pinch.
- The Nerd Girls who I missed all week, my friends who I missed all week - like the Chumbawamba song, I kept getting knocked out and getting up again but never made it to Kimonos. I hope I'll see you at Benelug or IAMLUG or The View Admin conference in Boston in April or sometime very soon. I miss you.
- Andreas Immitzer who came up trumps with throat pastilles at the end of Speedgeeking on Monday night
- Everyone who came to the Great Geek Challenge and all our sponsors, from what I remember it was a fantastic event , held together by Paul and Carl's MC'ing and we filled the place up. Here's hoping we get to do it again.
- Abigail Roberts from Ravendesk who did all the design work on the new Nerd Girl badges as well as our Nerd Girl Zombie and Bond t-shirts (appearing on a zazzle shop very soon). Abigail also did most of the marketing and logistics for our Nerd Girl events, helping me out both before and during the conference. If you need any kind of design work undertaken I really recommend you get in touch, if you were lucky enough to get a badge or a t shirt you can see how great her work is.
- Matt White and Mark Myers from London Developer Co-Op who went a fetched Tim and burger and fries (why does he get to keep his appetite when ill?) when I couldn't face doing it.
- Chris Miller, who stood in for Tim keeping an eye on me on Tuesday when I managed to temporarily lose my iPhone, my backpack with laptop in it and my power charger in 3 separate incidents over a 2 hr period. Whenever I was confused I'd turn around and Chris would be there to help me find my way back and there's no better friend than that. He also video'd the Sparks sessions for the Nerd Girls and the Great Geek Challenge. It is possible he was patient zero on Saturday when I first met him but let's say not :-)
- Kitty Elsmore for hugging me anyway despite me being plague ridden on Thursday afternoon. I really needed it.
I hope to be back for IBM Connect 2014 and to see some of you at user group's throughout this year. 2013 was off to a rocky start but it can only go uphill from here!
Gabriella Davis January 22 2013 12:58:01 AM
An interesting problem I wanted to write up here. A customer is using Domino LDAP serving both Sametime and Connections (currently 3.0.1). For Sametime I always configure the LDAP settings in the Global Configuration document to require a minimum of 3 characters before a wildcard search. It's a performance setting that prevents LDAP being overloaded in large Sametime environments and it works well.
Then we look at the Connections install and the TDI scripts that can be scheduled to run nightly to sync profiles to Domino. There are two scripts, collect_dns and sync_all_dns. Collect_dns does a search of your LDAP environment (as defined in your profiles_tdi.properties file). It creates a text file called collect.dns with one line per user entry that matches your LDAP search and then sync_all_dns uses that file for part of its sync. Unfortunately the collect.dns file was empty and in the logs directory ibmdi.log file had an error
CTGDJQ107W The selectEntries method was unable to perform the search. Exception occurred
By turning on LDAPDebug on the Domino console I quickly saw that the problem was the script in collect_dns.bat trying to do a full wildcard search against Domino LDAP. The search criteria in the profiles_tdi file was (&(uid=*)(objectclass=*))
instead of the usual (&(uid=*)(objectclass=inetOrgPerson)).
Domino saw that as a wildcard search and since it didn't have at least 3 characters specified, Domino refused the connection. To get the collect_dns.bat file to work I had to either remove the wildcard restriction I'd put in place for Sametime or modify the search definition.
So.. lessons learnt. Yes I could use TDI assemblylines instead of scripts but where possible I prefer the stability and control (I do love that word) of scheduled script runs. It was a simple enough fix once I found the root of the problem but I can see it happening again. The key here is that the collect_dns.bat file was triggering correctly but then failing so early on it was never writing the collect.dns file so the last successful instance of the file was being used each night and it was some time before the problem was even noticed. If you're scheduling nightly tasks for Connections updates, keep an eye on the date/time stamps on the collect.dns and employee.adds employee.updates etc files that are created.
Gabriella Davis January 3 2013 11:41:46 AM
Well here it is, 2013 and Connect 2013 is fast approaching. As always I'm nervous/panicked/trepiditious/excited to be going and hope to see many of you there. Here's what I'm planning Speaking
I have 3 sessions this year, 2 of them with that nice Mr Mooney
and one by myself BP305 Understanding IBM Connections and Designing to #NOTFAIL
(with Paul ) Monday 3.45pm Dolphin S. Hemisphere IV-V
Queue A-Team Music.... Are you loving the social business revolution but intimidated by the moving parts? Do you spend time on Greenhouse but wonder how it all works? Do you want to install IBM Connections but don't know where to start? What servers, software and even training do you need and what should you watch out for. We'll explain how the moving parts in IBM Connections fit together and help you find answers to these questions and more. Get started on delivering the next generation of collaboration software. What we're hoping is that you leave this session feeling more confident about deploying Connections and with a checklist in hand to get you started. BP301 Rock Solid IBM Sametime For High Availability Wednesday 1.30pm Swan 5-6
You're about to install Sametime 8.5.2. You know it's going to be business critical. It's the place where everyone meets in real time, and real time means now which means no downtime. Whether it's all services or just some (such as mobile IM), Sametime has to stay up but how do you cluster each of the components and can you really guarantee the kind of uptime your are being asked for? In this technical session, we'll take you through the high availability options for each of the Sametime components, explain the mysteries of MAC forwarding and DB2 HADR and show you the glories of the Websphere Edge Load Balancer, all of which are part of your IBM Sametime licensing. Make your users happy and your IBM Sametime install rock solid. In the past 18 months I've done a lot of Sametime deployments. A LOT. This session is based on what I've learnt from being burnt, from PMRs, from helpful advice given by Sametime development and just from pure stubbornness. BP107 Adminblast 2013. The Top 60 tips for Administrators
(with Paul) Tuesday 5.30pm Dolphin N Hemisphere A-C Wednesday 11.15 Dolphin N Hemisphere E (repeat)
Sit down and strap yourself in for the annual Adminblast session! We'll revisit the 200+ tips given and we'll pick the top sixty. We'll cover the top tips taken from the trenches over many years of consulting, covering IBM Domino, IBM Sametime, IBM Traveler -- and more! Practical tips that you can use as soon as you get back to work will be emphasized, You must pay attention -- and you must listen fast! Yes I know, Adminblast is Paul's session but this year he's invited me to join him and add my ideas to his. I apologise in advance for anyone wanting an all-mooney-all-the-time session and instead getting a half-mooney-half-davis session but we've just finished the content and it's great so make sure you don't miss it. We've got a lot of tips to cover in only 60 mins so it will be fast and frantic information coming at you.. Learning
I don't often make it to as many sessions as I'd like and this year I have several I will once again aim to get to but if I have to choose between a session and a lab the lab wins every time for me. Most years my takeaway is based on what I find out in the labs, whether it's the developers lab where I can talk about performance, security of general or design decisions or the usability lab where the teams really want to hear your feedback so they can work it into the product or even the research labs which feed my imagination and give me the reassurance that IBM really are continuing to invest in innovation. Some things I saw in the research labs over the years are now part of the core products and some things have disappeared completely, even more are things that are just now appearing publicly as "innovations" from other companies that I know IBM were working on 5, 6, or even 10 years ago. It's easy to get tired at Connect (well it was at LotusSphere so let's assume Connect is no different) but don't miss these once a year opportunities. Being
As always, I'll be being one of a growing band of Nerd Girls. I'll be one at our Sparks session on Tuesday , at the Great Geek Challenge on Tuesday night and handing out badges to other Nerd Girls, Guys and assorted's along the way. If you want to know more about our Nerd Girl activities at Connect (or want to submit a Sparks session email@example.com) then visit our blog for all the details. Nerd Girl Blog Doing
Other than all the above I'll be talking to people, meeting new friends, buying the refill container from Picabu and losing it within an hour, swimming at 5.30am each morning, grabbing any sign of sunshine, and attempting to brave the crush in Kimonos for more than a few hours (I'm not great in crowds). Hanging Out
I'm probably too old to use the word but I can't think of any other way to describe sitting around chatting to friends I see only once a year or maybe a couple of times a year and compressing a year's worth of news / how are you's / what are you up to's into a single week. Make sure you leave plenty of space for time with friends or strangers you want to be friends with it's the best part of your week and possibly your winter...
See you there
Gabriella Davis October 17 2012 11:59:32 AM
So everyone knows by now that the Call For Abstracts for Connect 2013 is open
and ready for your abstract submissions. The timeline for submissions is short, they have to be in by November 1st but two and a bit weeks should still be more than enough time to get your ideas in. Other key dates are - December 1st, by which time all speakers should be notified (some will be notified earlier) and December 30th, by which time all sessions must be complete.
Past the news everyone knows, unless you have gone to submit an abstract you may not have noticed the appearance of some brand new tracks alongside Best Practices, Jump Starts and Show and Tell. These are both tracks you, as non-IBM'ers, are encouraged to submit into and I think they both deliver really interesting approaches we weren't covering previously. Track 04: Technology Overviews and "What Now?" Sessions Sessions in this new technical track will focus on technology overviews, strategy and roadmaps, mainly delivered by the IBM subject matter experts responsible for that area of our product portfolio. And new this year, we're featuring a new set of sessions that take it to the next step beyond strategy to the "what now?" Some examples are planning considerations, deployment preparation, blueprint design, training and more! These sessions will provide useful best practices and ideas you can take back to your organization and implement right away.
Don't be misled by the phrase "IBM subject matter experts". A few people have asked me about this as they assumed it meant "people who work for IBM", it doesn't. It means YOU - someone who is an expert in the technology. So what's the goal of this track? The idea behind this was that many of you are being given projects with vague deliverables like "Deploy Connections" "Make us more social" "Look at Cloud" and where do you start with that? What we hope to do is walk you through a checklist of what you need to consider to get started. If it's Sametime or Cloud or Connections, what are the pre-deployment decisions and considerations you need to make before you can start planning. Hopefully you'll walk away from each session with what you need to do that. These won't be deep technical sessions, they are more technical planning sessions. Track 09: NEW! Spotlight on IBM Business Partners
New for 2013, the sessions in this track will showcase the highly-acclaimed solutions that our partner community is known for! Whether your focus is social collaboration, mobile, analytics, content management, creating exceptional web experiences (or other!) - whether sophisticated or surprisingly simple, we want to hear from you!
So if you're a Business Partner who has deployed a great solution for your customer or have a great solution you think people need to hear about, here's your opportunity to share it. You need to walk a very fine line, don't try submitting a marketing session to sell your product because the smart Connect 2013 audience will see right through that but if you're excited about what you have to share and it's innovative or just really clever, here's the perfect place to share it.
.. and the other side of that coin, if you're a Customer and have deployed an IBM product and want to share with others how you did it from a technical perspective, Track 8 is aimed at you. You went through the planning and implementation, blood, sweat and possibly tears to get your solution in place - why not share with others what you did, why and how. Track 08: Customer Case Studies (from an IT perspective)
These sessions will feature leading companies, large and small, from a variety of industries and will detail how each is utilizing IBM solutions to drive business results and empower people - but all in YOUR language, from an IT perspective! Presented by IT practitioners, this track showcases how they've built or deployed IBM software to enhance collaboration and socially enable business processes within and outside of their enterprise. Direct and candid, these sessions outline both successes and challenges - across a range of solutions.
All of this plus Best Practices, Jumpstart and Show and Tell. The Lotusphere Program in Connect 2013 is shaping up to be the best technical program we've had yet.
Gabriella Davis October 16 2012 12:16:32 PM
Flying out to Switzerland with my parents in September, my stepfather left his iPad at Heathrow T5 security. We didn't notice until boarding the plane and despite many phone calls around the airport, no-one had found it.
Fast forward 3 weeks and as I was going through T5 to Boston I asked what would happen if someone left an iPad at security, I was given a lost property card and number to call. Turns out Heathrow have an online lost property site where you can review all lost property - there are a lot of iPads and Macbooks there. On Sept 21st alone (the day we wanted) over 1000 items were reported lost at Heathrow and it makes entertaining reading http://missingx.com/.
So on the off-chance we rang them. They wanted to know if it was engraved or unlocked (apparently if it's unlocked they email you on your registered address). It was neither. They then wanted the serial number. Luckily we're hoarders and in our server room we had the boxes from 2011, we rang them and gave the first 6 digits of the serial number and they confirmed they had it. For 20 pounds we can pick it up or they can post it to us. The serial number of your iPad is etched on its back.
Not only did I not expect anyone to hand it in, I never expected them to be able to hang onto it for 3 weeks and identify it for us so easily. I thought it was such a lost cause I nearly didn't bother even calling. I clearly need to have more faith.
Gabriella Davis October 15 2012 05:11:48 PM
It finally happened. I bought more books than the ibookstore app can handle. It's not the library itself, all my books sync fine and appear in their collections. The problem is the "Purchased" page within the application itself. That's an online page in the bookstore that shows you every book you've ever bought. Not ones synced to the device, not ones bought from Amazon, just those you've bought via iTunes.
Last week I bought a book and suddenly my "Purchased" page was empty. Now you might not think this is a problem so long as I have the book but you can't actually read the synopsis of a book in your library, you can only read the synopsis in the store and the easiest way to do that is via the purchased page. So on book purchase number 775, suddenly my purchased page is empty and I have no way to remind myself what I bought and what I want to read next.
It's not the iPad, the same thing happens on my iPhone. It's not my account, in iTunes the purchased list of books appears fine under my account. It's not the app specifically, if I change accounts and login as Tim his books appear fine on the Purchased page. It's a combination of the app + my number of purchased books. Apple are still investigating but I don't hold our much hope.
Some figures I just did in my head. The iPad has been out only 29 months or 940 days so I have bought 0.8 books a day, on average 24 books a month. Except that doesn't include my purchases done through Amazon UK or B&N and so I need to add those in, which takes me to around 1400 books, in 940 days, at an average of 8 dollars a book. I need to stop thinking about that now.
Gabriella Davis October 9 2012 04:30:49 PM
At the IBM Leadership Alliance conference in Boston last week Paul
and I had many conversations with people from IBM about Connect 2013 and the Lotusphere track within it. I know lots of people (including me) are panicking over the delayed call for abstracts and worried about being able to write sessions in time so here are a few things we were told and were allowed to share
- Your favourite tracks from previous Lotuspheres are back (think Best Practices, Show and Tell etc). So now you know that you know what you can submit to
- Despite community rumours there is no requirement on subject matter or technology to adhere to, the rule still is "write about anything you know and are enthusiastic about so long as it's centred on IBM technology"
- You're still going to have a 75 word limit on your abstract
- The content team is well aware of the timelines to produce materials and are working on taking the pressure off that
The official call for abstracts is coming and may not be open long but if you want to present get your abstracts ready right now
. Every year Paul and I say the same thing, if you want to present, just write a good abstract. Don't half-ass it. A good abstract on a good topic will stand you a very good chance of selection every year.
I'm working on mine now, I hope you are too but just in case, I've bought a ticket and look forward to seeing you in Orlando.
Gabriella Davis September 18 2012 01:07:03 AM
Well that was quick. Lots of demand over here for Connections 4 which have resulted in upgrades of 2 pilot environments and the install of a new server entirely for test. No big upgrades yet, we're still in the planning stage and there's too much at stake to rush in without proper planning. So let's talk about the installs I have done
Connections 4 now has more applications than previously, that means more processor required which means more WAS servers and clusters and more actual software. Yes , more software. The metrics application within Connections produces some very useful information on how your users are working with the environment, what applications are being used by who and when. However the metrics application is only gathering data, the actual reporting is done by Cognos. Connections 4 comes with a Cognos entitlement allowing you to run reports against Connections generated data. To quote from the licensing details
A customer is authorized to use the Supporting Program (here, IBM Cognos Business Intelligence server and Business Intelligence Transformer) only to support its use of the Principal Program (IBM Connections) provided the customer's use of the Supporting Program (IBM Cognos Business Intelligence server and Business Intelligence Transformer) is necessary or otherwise directly related to the licensed use of the Principal Program (IBM Connections).
So there you go.
Let's start with the main question I'm always asked. No, I wouldn't even try deploying Connections 4 in its entirety on a single server (and by that I mean WAS, IHS, DB2 or SQL or Oracle, TDI, Cognos). I'm sure someone will say they have and can and i'll still say you shouldn't. My previous recommendation, even for pilot was to separate DB2 and TDI on one machine, Connections/WAS/IHS on another and of course LDAP on a third. That's a throwaway pilot design but for Connections 4 I'd also now say you need 2 servers for Connections/WAS and another one for Cognos so our minimal pilot goes from 3 servers to 5. Now before you all start complaining about the number of servers, just think about the number of Applications that Connections brings and the breadth of its functionality, and then think about using VMs.
My new install went well although I opted not to deploy Cognos for this. Firstly because it was a pilot to demonstrate Connections features to the users and metrics is fairly low down their list and secondly because, well to be honest I need a few more weeks with Cognos before I'm comfortable enough with that piece of the puzzle.
The new install took 2 days beginning to end from built hardware with OS installed.
The first upgrade install went very well. I did a side by side upgade which was essentially a new install next to an existing install and a re-pointing and upgrading of the DB stores. It was more a new install than an upgrade and would be my preferred method for moving existing sites. IBM do support in place upgrades but there are many risks you have to allow for, the deeper your customisation, the greater the risk. For customer sites I'm a big fan of avoiding as much risk as possible and also having rollback points throughout the process so side by side is by far the best solution
I'll admit it. This was a mistake. I wanted to upgrade one of my own test environments and since it was mine and I didn't care about the data and I didn't have much customisation, I thought i'd do an in-place upgrade. I'd call it a 70% success, I got there eventually but not how I was meant to. The in place instructions involve patching WAS and IHS to the latest supported versions, upgrading the existing data stores as well as creating new ones for the new applications, moving the customisations out of the way (backing them up) so post upgrade you can move them back again and then uninstalling Connections and reinstalling again over the same WAS servers. Everything was kind of fine up until the Connections reinstall. I say kind of fine because my WAS install was behaving very oddly once I uninstalled Connections, menu items had disappeared for example, however what stopped me in my tracks was the part of the install where you connect to an existing deployment manager and the installer retrieves the configuration from there. It failed with a java error trying to read from the Deployment Manager referring to the hyprtshim24.dll
file. The error was thrown by the jre6 install embedded within WAS and nothing would clear it. I tried upgrading the jre, I spent a day searching and trying to debug the problem. Eventually I decided to delete the existing WAS profiles, uninstall WAS completely then reinstall 7.0.3, upgrade it again and create a new cell and server. That worked beautifully. There must have been something in my old WAS install that was still in place and out of date despite my patching it to the required version. The version I ended up installing with was the exact same version I failed installing with earlier, just on a new WAS instance.
Once I was past that problem everything worked fine. WAS installed, I configured LDAP and continued with the Connections 4 install. It completed and I re-created the IHS node and put my customisation pieces back and I was back in business. Only my stubbornness trying to track down / fix the hyprtshim24.dll problem lost me a day.
In general I'd say IBM have made some very big improvements to the install process but there are a lot of moving parts and following the documentation in detail is how you're going to navigate through. Good luck!
Gabriella Davis September 11 2012 01:14:00 AM
Very nice new site from IBM on the Connections 4 Experience. Great design, clear and clean content and some nice relatable quotes.
Send anyhone who's curious about Connections here to find out more Connections Experience Site