Tuesday, January 10, 2017

If You're going to San Francisco...

"You're gonna meet some gentle people there" 
- So sang the late Scott Mckenzie in May 1967 as an advertisement for the then upcoming Monterrey International Pop Music Festival.

One of them will be me, as I have been asked to speak about one of my clients about their journey to the IBM Connections Cloud.

The abstract officially says(link):
Getting to the cloud is half the battle; while getting your users to follow you (let alone understand what is where or how) is another story entirely. From CAPS-happy users to 75% traveling executives, and clients that are so well known we have perpetual attempts to defeat our security, these are some highlights of our experiences moving from on-premises to Connections Cloud.

Moscone West, Level 2 - Room 2011Wed, 22-Feb 01:00 PM - 01:45 PM
(time, date and location may change before the event)

This is a new location, a new venue, a new conference with the same friendly and smart people you know from past years plus more people from across the tech scene which we have yet to know and become friends and family with over time.

Many of my fellow IBM Champions will be there, presenting and attending as will IBM Product Managers and if you look hard enough, the IBM Developers. 

The future which includes an expanding universe of Watson Workspace, Verse, Verse on Premises, IBM Connections, plus some surprises I am sure from the opening keynote to keep everyone excited during the show.

See you all in San Francisco!
http://www-01.ibm.com/software/collaboration/events/connect/





Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Mission Tools: Lotus Quickr to IBM Connections Cloud

Welcome to the 3rd installment of my migration project.

I am happy to say that we moved everything over, now we are verifying everything came over and cleaning up all the orphaned and misc. files that were found and cross linked at one time.

So, how did we get it all moved I bet you are asking.

There is an automated way, via IBM and their partner in Europe T-systems, which is part of T-Mobile it seems, they can help and their pricing is really for the bigger companies. They have a process and methodology and will then get working on it....but you still have limits of bandwidth and time although they claimed they could get this done in a week.

Our problem was, we could not have any down time, but also not have any duplication of data which they made it sound like they offload the data first then do a second synch afterwards.

If you want to go with them, contact me and I will connect you.

After weighing the pros and cons we decided to do it in house.

These are the tools I used, you may have other preferences.

IBM: IBM Connections Cloud Plugins for Windows and the plugins for Notes clients. You will also need the Quickr Places Monitor.

RPR Wyatt: Quickr Essential File Extractor and Essential Place Catalog. There are some fees with these and you need to ask for it as it no longer sits on the website. I previously worked with RPR Wyatt and was loaned the tools. I owe you drinks Jim! 

Microsoft: Windows Explorer

Lialis: MAC people this is for you, File Jockey, to have a plugin that doesn't cost you anything. As they state on the site:
"We also supply File Jockey for all IBM Connections Cloud users. It's 100% free, no limitations and no signup. Feel free to use it now by pressing the button above to read the how to guide."

And there you go. Nice and simple right? Off you go.

Not so fast. You will find a few things along the way that you also need this cute tool I found called  Bulk Rename Utility. It does exactly what it says and makes changing, say 800 folders that had an added _Folders added to them, magically disappear in seconds. No command line knowledge required. Ask me if you need help.

Why do we need this tool? Because the RPR Wyatt tool extracts all the attachments and maintains the folders layout but adds _Folder to everything, My main gripe, but a small one. The developer did not return my messages, hey it is free without support, I just wanted to make it a better tool. But since these posts are capping out at 200 views I figure no more than 200 Quickr shops exist and maybe it isn't a big enough group to warrant the effort. So if you still have Quickr and are thinking of migrating let me or RPR Wyatt know. There is safety in numbers.

The steps of my process was, after backing it all up someplace first:

  1. Use the RPR Wyatt Place Catalog tool first and review what we had and how much of it existed.
  2. Use the RPR Wyatt Extractor tool to extract the files from one place at a time. Why not all at once? 100's of GB and you know there will be issues, you want to progress, even if it is slowly.
  3. Once extracted and you installed all your plugins, login to IBM Connections Cloud and manually start making all of your Communities. If you read my post on automating this process you will think, cool I can load them all at once. Sorry to burst your bubble, but no. IBM in a PMR I raised outlined that you can only create 1 community at a time and only with one owner. Thus, the actual time it took me to create a community and configure it the way we needed and have all the proper owners and members was approximately 2-3 minutes each. Not so bad, but I really wish IBM had fixed their API.
  4. Next step is to add the Communities to the Windows Explorer plugin.
  5. Now copy and paste from one Windows Explorer window from the drive on teh server where you extracted the files to the other which has the Community list.
  6. Once done, delete all non admin members from the Place within a browser so users do not accidentally add or delete files that are needed.
  7. Continue until done.

The Lialis File Jockey was for the MAC people to start using Connections files the way they needed to for every day work. So technically I did not use it to do the migration, but I give them kudos for being there and were it NOT for them, the project might not have started as the office is moving over to all MACs.

Sounds easy, but what we found was rather dismaying.

  1. Cross linked files were everywhere. This was from various crashes over the years and while we knew we had some, I was not expecting the 100's of folders linked.
  2. Orphan files. The extractor tool was great about files and folders but sometimes random files just in a place did not get migrated. Always verify what you see is what you got.
  3. Hidden folders and other anomalies. Probably some bad drag and drop by someone left some folders in the oddest places.
  4. Size matters. What the Quickr server and the RPR WYatt tool showed us was not what we found when we extracted the data, In fact, we found we had about 60% of the data once extracted. As an example if we were told there were 10GB in a place we usually had about 6GB after extraction. SWEET! But left me wondering what was wrong. See cross linked files and you start to understand.


Thus while the project was completed by the time everyone started work today, I still have many folders and files to clean up, VERY manually eye balling everything. And I am sure I will get some panic call about a missing file or two, but at least to the employees, everything is moved.

There will be one more post in this series about what I learned about IBM Connections Cloud along the way, stay tuned.

So now that I am done with this project, anyone else need me to help migrate them to IBM Connections Cloud?