Thursday, October 8, 2009

Installation and Upgrade for 8.5.1 Who's Ready?

Just got off my twice a month call regarding deployments and we got into discussions which left me scratching my head a little.

I admit to not always being up on the latest policy or piece of code in a version but something on the call I was told has been around since R5 and I was needless to say confused.

So if this great piece of code has been available, where has it been hiding?
Not saying IBM hasn't kept us informed but part of this sub group of design partners is to better understand the issues facing people when they upgrade to the latest clients. Evidently stumbled upon what I think we all meant but use different terminology.

For years we liked to customize client installations per customer sites using the Install Shield Tuner(and it's various versions) and preconfigured items. It made life easy for everyone and only occasionally required tweaking. Usually as more options expanded into the Notes client, but even with these it was a fairly simple enough way, once you built the installer.

Never used it? Read Andy Donaldson's blog post first. He really got it done simple enough to get you started or finished even.

Then see his follow up with slides and an update on Sametime in the R8 client which can be blocked from being installed.

You do need to know a little DOS as it helps for the batch file and commands needed to do some basic save/copy/delete etc.

But how else can you do this? You ask?

Copy the .exe file from IBM and just run it. This is way too manual and time consuming unless you need to do a one off install or for testing.

Upgrade by Email - DO NOT EMAIL THE WHOLE INSTALL PACKAGE. Just in case y ou were wondering. It will kill your bandwidth and server, especially when you send tot he whole company and it's 300+MB! This option can be painful to some on small bandwidth, but this basic process has been around for eternity. If you have created a finely tuned Install Tuner package this can work for you if your people can handle clicking on an icon.(We have worked with customers that claim their staff has no time to do this. We pointed out if we send someone to each desk it's the same time, but costs more, they still want us to do it)

You send the links out via an email and the files sitting on the file server someplace to do the installs. Doing this without a finely tuned package may cause network issues or delays.

SmartUpgrade (and it's relative SU by Wizard)- Works, but requires babysitting as it does not work with FixPack/Hot Fixes only proper releases or so my recent calls have informed me and I them.(If anyone has a more detailed answer let me know and will edit this). Set it up and add the next point release or full update and the server automagically lets everyone know when they can update and gives them options of time or skipping if they are busy.

Some side pieces to think about as well include:
Eclipse, Plugins, Widgets, Feeds, applications or databases and a slew of other pieces that may help your organization.

There are also some tools out there, from Tivoli, Microsoft and other vendors as well as Lotus Business Partners that help push out changes and track them if you are so inclined.

One problem still exists and that is when you find a single user and want to auto update them to multi-user. The below is from the Admin help file:
The Notes installation program does not support automatic Notes upgrade from single user to multi-user within the same release or from one release to another, although it is possible. To upgrade from single user to multi-user, see the Upgrading a Notes single user install to multi-user topic in this guide.


Now it seemed, there are some other built in ways to accomplish these installs and upgrades, but I am thinking it all got lost in the terminology. Transform files, manifests, configuration file, batch files, update sites.

Needless to say it all gets done, but requires one to sit down and WORK a little bit to get it right but you will be so much the happier afterward as will your support staff.

Plus you will never have earned your keep more than when you create this magic.