Thursday, July 29, 2010

Did you ever Migrate users from Evolution or Squirrel?

Not Moose and Squirrel.
Although it seems that way.
Rocky and Bullwinkle

Customer wants to standardize on the Lotus platform but has people using Outlook, Thunderbird, Evolution and Squirrel.

Migrating from Outlook or Outlook Express to Lotus Notes is fairly easy using the built-in tool when you install your Notes client. Mail, Folders, Calendar and contacts.

Squirrel which is a front end GUI to a back end Linux server you can use IMAPcopy. they even show a chart of all the IMAP solutions they work with, Domino 8.5 is on the list.

Evolution I think may fall under the Squirrel option.

Thunderbird I am still looking for more details but may follow Squirrel too.

Any thoughts or other options please leave me comments or email/IM me from the links above.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Honey, Domino Really Does Save Space

What can it do for our garage?

While doing some testing of migrating a CIO's email from Microsoft Outlook 2007 to Lotus Notes we took a 190MB PST file and after it moved to a mail file it was now.....77MB.

A 60% saving in disk space and this is before DAOS or anything else has been done to the file.

We know there is a hardware multiplier if one leaves Domino to go to Microsoft Exchange of between 2-3 (sometimes more) times as many boxes are needed to sustain the equivalent in Exchange that ran under Lotus Domino.

You can add disk space bloat as well. Imagine having to double your SAN on top of all your other expenses of the migration.

It never ends does it.

Edit 7/28 9:50am - I ran compact on the PST, it now has shrunk to 165MB. Domino still uses over 50% less disk space to store the same data as Exchange. I will get before and after data from more people as we work on them to see if this is consistent or not.

Friday, July 23, 2010

How Many Times Must I Explain Myself

Before I could talk to the boss. - Forever Man lyrics by Jerry Lynn Williams, as performed by Eric Clapton

Do you prefer Boss Hog or..Do you prefer Bruce Springsteen


















While driving to/from Tampa to visit John Vaughan for lunch. We were seeing a client and having 2 vendor meetings but due to server farm failure(not going to say it was a VM failure, but...) one meeting was postponed and I was able to meet up with John and it was nice to see him and I enjoyed the time, hard to believe we really only see some people once a year at Lotusphere.

One of my vendor meetings brought up something I stress quite a bit, which is, if you are not asking for enough money, you are not talking to the right people.

If you work in a company I know there are budget issues, but when something is strategic or world wide going to do XYZ, suddenly there is money. LOTS OF MONEY.

If you did this with your Lotus infrastructure, every year, you would not be faced with possible encroachment by other parties.

Yes, some will argue that is what creates the interest to bring in something new and cheaper. My reply would be you created your own downfall by not asking for enough money for anything probably ever. No, one can't go to the till every year, but at least every other year. Some argue with me once you set the bar so high you MUST go back every year else you become "old" and no longer deemed Enterprise worthy.

How much did you ask for to upgrade to Sametime 8.5? Connections? Domino 851?
How much did the Sharepoint "team" ask for...and how much did it cost in the end, sorry, it will never end, so a running total is fine.

See my point?

Now what did you use for an ROI? Did you? Or was it just another, we pay maintenance so we get it for cheap and we just need to schedule some down time this year or quarter?

When customers ask how much will it cost to do an upgrade I say the same thing every time and quote it per server. Simple yet efficient. Cheap? Well it depends on how many servers and how fast you want it done.

Sure a Domino server "could" be updated in 5 minutes I have posted videos of one in 3 minutes but the reality is there is backup time, there is reboots for OS patches from Microsoft or your hardware vendor or IBM systems, there is testing, there is possible website issues or email stoppages, Sametime integration, BES connections, FAX, backup solutions to test, and on and on. While I could bill for an hour, it is an unreasonable presumption.

Yet, many of you in corporate life manage your infrastructure, and thus your budget, on the "sure it takes 5 minutes" theory.

Scotty on Star Trek was famous for doubling the estimated time, yet miraculously always fixing everything in half the time, winning him praises and Saurian Brandy no doubt.

As you move up the food chain, money and budgets go funny. They become "Key Enterprise/Strategic Projects" or die a miserable death.

So don't just jump out there and demand a million or 2. Diagram the money. Plan for ROI. Get details you need.

Sametime 8.5 may save your company tons of money but do you even know how much? Do you know where to get those details? Long distance, phone bills, lines, equipment, time to delay a project because the exec you need is on another continent, webex costs, streaming media solutions that cost an arm and leg.

You can do this for any product but get the details, your boss will ask, and their boss will demand them if the request is to go in front of the capital expenditure board. EVERY request you make should go to this Board, within reason of course(don't try to buy everyone an iPhone as an example), otherwise you do not have an Enterprise wide solution, you have a legacy solution.

Read that last sentence again and think about your role, your job and your management.

Sad but true too often.

While many will say I am out of my mind, all I can say is think differently about your organization. No one ever got fired for thinking big, only screwing up big.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

LotusLive Impresses Customers

This morning I did a training session for a client's Ukraine team. So I was up at 6am to prepare. This was my 3rd in 3 weeks on LotusLive so I have it all down by now.

If anyone would like a similar session just let me know and we will schedule one.

The client is going to be using LotusLive Engage with LotusLive Notes. Problem is they are not turned on yet, so we used our Business Partner account and a Domino iNotes implementation.

Business Partners do not get to have the full LotusLive suite to use or play with unless they want to pay for it. We only get a choice of Engage, Notes or Meetings,(I believe) and given the choice, well Engage is much more helpful in sales.

Why? Because it covers everything except mail and calendaring/scheduling. Also we have a 1Gb limit compared to a 5GB for customers. And for the parts lacking I use Domino iNotes.

What was nice to hear is when I was showing the people on the LotusLive Meeting how in iNotes you can have all your resources, conference lines, meeting rooms and time lookups done for you, I got many thanks and "WOW" and "that is great" from the customers.

I suggested what is taking up 15 minutes of time could be resolved in less than 3 they were shocked and very eager to jump on it.

They also asked about an HR workflow app and how that will work inside Engage. It doesn't and can't be inside Engage.

Well not today.

This must change in Lotuslive, the ability to add tabs or other websites to My Dashboard so when this app is ready to go live on the web(via their in-house Domino app, unless we can find away to get it into the IBM Beehive for LotusLive) it will be there too.

This was the only issue they raised and one I have is that the link on My Dashboard should be customizable so it can point to the company's public or private website.

If you are a Business Partner and do not sell LotusLive, you should get into it now. However, John Head posted about the issue facing BPS yesterday and I can't agree more with him on this subject. So understand what you can offer before you talk to your customers.

If you have clients using older versions of iNotes templates for any reason start showing them iNotes 8.5.1 and help them save time and effort.

Friday, July 16, 2010

LotusLive Questions for the Public on Backups

While I recently posted a bunch of questions on the beta LotusLive I had not gotten any response which is very unusual.

I pushed a few emails and postings out and had a call with someone I met previously to expand on the questions of mine, as well as theirs. It seems my questions caused some issues to move to the head of the class. Maybe they were getting to it anyway, but it never hurts to have active clients.

So while my questions would benefit everyone, NDA prevents me from elaborating but here is a question for you that I need to go back to the clients.

If you are using LotusLive Notes or Engage, how long would you expect IBM to maintain your files for compliance, backup or whatever reason?

Do you have legal people telling you what you can and can't do and for how long to keep it all?

What do you do now? 30 days? 90? Forever? Annual? How long to you keep data archived?

I usually ask clients to seek legal counsel and then discuss with me the best way to accommodate legal's requirements.

I would have posted this on Ideajam and probably will but it was down right now.

Can We Help other IBM Regions?

This is a response to an email I received today from a Business partner outside the US.

We have been seeing and hearing over time reports from around the world that IBM marketing isn't helping us as Business Partners.

Customers are looking at other products and/or competitors. Sometimes they actually make a choice, although not a commitment, to go to those vendors.

Customers bring up all the Microsoft FUD and/or Google discussions.

Customers never come to our events.

How do we stay in business?

These are some of the issues I deal with regularly and some were in this person's email to me.

It makes me sad to hear people complain about IBM in this way. I grew up idolizing IBM(possibly because it was my first pc, the original IBM PC) and wanting to work for IBM and manage an area of technology I loved was a goal in life. Luckily I reached that goal before I was 30.

The problem is, I reached that goal before I was 30.

I could not appreciate what IBM really was and is in so many ways. My Lotus EMEA and US friends from then know what I mean. Nor could I truly appreciate what I would miss when I left until after the fact.

Back to the issue at hand. Probably because of my experiences working throughout South America for Citibank and across Europe and the Middle East for IBM, I look on the countries outside of the US, no matter how large or small, as in need of anything I/we could do to help them. Sometimes against company preference, but if we are not all one big family, who will be there for me when I need that help.

This in many ways is what I found amazing about Lotus Notes when I first saw it, that one can share everything with others. Needless to say not every one truly "gets" what that means or implies.

I don't care if IBM does this or that, IBM does not make my life as a Business Partner any better than yours because I am in the US. We all have guidelines to work by and if being a Business Partner was easy, everyone would do it.

It's not easy for sure. But relying on IBM is not going to change your view of the world around you. IBM is there, once you prove to IBM you are worth investing the time, money and other resources. This means many things to many people, but I don't have any other of my vendors that we are Business Partners calling me to do business for them, that is until we show we can bring them any business.

Likewise if you are faced with a lack of clients I offer you this:
EVERY Microsoft customer,
EVERY Oracle customer,
EVERY Google customer,
EVERY SAP customer

can use any or all of the following products: Sametime, Connections, Mail Protector, Quickr and of course Portal and Websphere and more even if they use Domino, Exchange, Gmail or Groupwise.

What have YOU been doing to understand these products and how they fit into customers who are not Lotus Notes and Domino based? Don't you think that if you had some of these in customer sites, at some point, you will be able to talk about Domino apps?

No Marketing? No Publicity? Sure that hurts, sort of, but then if you needed to do it and it cost something sizable but nominal, say $250 to put a full page ad in a magazine or newspaper, would you do it? Why? Where? Your little city, even my area has at least 2 dozen magazines, 4 newspapers, countless legal/business periodicals and a business radius of 100 miles. Where do we start?

You can have an LCTY, you can have a LUG event, you can do webinars, you can do some technology day or proof of technology event, you can go see every single customer and show them what they are missing or ask them about their plans to do anything and how we have tools to help get them there faster. You could be blogging and participating in every social media/network that is relevant to your business, clients and country at a minimum. If you are not getting quoted in interviews online or in print or on the radio, why not? Write an article for The View magazine (Disclaimer I am on their technical advisory board), work on a Redbook, write a book or an ebook on a topic. DO something to differentiate you or your company. Advertising does not do it unless you have a lot of money.

Most if not all of the Business Partners that I know and you should know of do some if not all of these during the span of the year. Many of the bloggers participate in events outside the Lotus and IBM community as well as lending a hand where possible.

If you truly believe there is no business for Lotus in your region, again as I have said the last few weeks, you are an IBM Business Partner not a LOTUS Business Partner.

Microsoft Business Partners are not Exchange Business partners exclusively, they also do Windows, SQL and that Sharepoint mess of stuff.

We are working harder to expand our business, both inside the US and outside of it. In some cases we have had legal/financial reasons why we could not make certain moves and I felt bad about that as I wanted to help out some people. But we have a goal for our business and it's not just to sell Notes and Domino, or to make money.

Those are not goals, although they are nice things you should want to do.

If you are seeing business dry up, maybe you should be reading Bruce's blog, especially this post. Something from nothing and he quit his day job.

Keep customers away from Notes apps? Maybe given the browser intensive world we live in, but those same apps can and should be moved to the web and run off Domino. It's your job as a Business partner to make that happen.

The funny thing to me is when we offer our help to various in country people, both IBM and Business Partners, we feel we are seen as poaching others territory. I respect that view, but at the same time, if you need more people on the ground or on the phone or via a webinar we can help you with, why is that so bad? We all win.

If we need 24 hour coverage for a client, we have people around the world we can utilize. We never sit here and think we should only hire people locally, although obviously there are times that is necessary.

My team's role inside IBM was to make each sales and engineer out there, not just in EMEA but world wide, have whatever they needed to get their job done as efficiently as possible and resolve customer situations appropriately and to not reach a point where CEOs make a decision that an IBMer was not part of. The same guidelines work today.

Know your products, know your competitions products better in some cases.

If you don't know an answer, ask someone who does. If you don't know who knows, ask me or one of the 300+ Lotus bloggers on Planetlotus.org. One of us has to know the information you seek.

Keep thinking the world is ending, you will fulfill your prophecy.

So in this slow summer time months take some time with your staff and some clients, talk about it all. Find what is missing and go after it. Spark an idea or find one at a client, but make a plan, set your goal, think big, collaborate.

I once suggested you call your competition and work together.

They just may have the same issues as you and if you need help we(the collective yellowverse) are always here for you.

This blog was not here 3 years ago

It was elsewhere and some other ramblings exist but it was July 2007 when I started at this url and to be more serious and find a direction.

Sure I fell off the wagon a bit here and there, who doesn't?

Did I help a lot of people? No doubt based on some of the posts that get daily double digit hits.

I also probably, no, definitely stepped on some toes over time and I apologize to those of you out there.

While the quantity of writing slowed down this year to a paltry 236 posts this year, um well, lately it is much slower. We are seeing a resurgence in business and more things to keep us busy is always a good reason to not be writing.

I also am writing some chapters of a book on Quikr which has taken some time as well.

All in all a good year past and looking to be a great year forward.

See you at MWLUG or LS11 if I don't see you sooner.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Partnerworld Download seems to be time warped

Please accept our apologies

Our system is currently unavailable due to system upgrades.
We expect to be available by May 22 4:00PM EST.

Serves me right for trying to download something on a Saturday night, but really? May?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Hamster Power your PC

This came out of a conversation I had on Twitter.




http://www.thinkgeek.com/stuff/41/habicase.shtml

Got a RAID? Are you sure?

Nothing more amusing then when you take the cover off a server, clear all the debris and grey "fluff" out of the box to add some RAM to a machine and find 2 hard drives where there should be 3.

Well, I say should be, but let's put it a different way, I was told it was a RAID drives and I presumed RAID 5, evidently the hardware builder did not or the box was never ordered with more than 2 drives.

Given the box was running Lotus Domino apps it didn't need huge disk space like a mail server, but still, mirrored drives?

Yes, the person built the best with what they had, but they left one problem. What happens when one of the 2 drives fails. Yes, you lose the server until someone can fix it, if they can. Hope you had backups.

So if you are a new admin or even an experienced one and end up in a new environment it's always a good idea to get an inventory of what is in the servers. You never know when one of them might go belly up on you, like in the middle of a holiday weekend perhaps.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Resources and Reservations and Training

Remember when creating the resources database to populate it and make sure you restart your server afterward.

Trust me on this one, you will not get things to work until it is restarted.

I know, I should know this, but I live in hope that I can make these kinds of changes on the fly.

NO this is not about 852, it is in fact an 851fp3 server.

But I love the way you can pre-populate the online meeting details and not only search for attendees open times for meetings, but the resources too and play with it all you want.

Yeah, I know we all know this, but so many people out there have never really looked into their calendar usage and how much time it could be saving them if they would just set it up.

After training I am giving tomorrow to a group of Administrative Assistants I will post about their thoughts.

Did I mention they were using a spreadsheet mixed with Outlook Express using some free POP server to schedule their online meetings? I kid you not. A company that is doubling size e very 6 months too.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Trying to Save the Day for the Old World Man

Neil Peart is a true genius for writing these lyrics.

"He's not concerned with yesterday
He knows constant change is here today
He's noble enough to know what's right
But weak enough not to choose it
He's wise enough to win the world
But fool enough to lose it"
- New World Man by Rush from the Signals album 1982

New or old, your admins and developers deserve to not be left behind by technology because you can't spend any money on their training. It's not fair to ask them to do it on their own, sure some do, but most really just want to leave work behind every day when they go home.

They know they should be on 8.5.1, using Xpages, Traveler and all types of other great things but they are stuck in how to get these things changed. And in some cases may end up having to learn something completely new anyway, so why not let them get more advanced training on what you already have spent some serious money on for your infrastructure.

Fact: Recent client spent weeks, if not months, trying to resolve issues which they spent probably $50,000+ on when a few days to a week of training(Between $3-10,000) could have kept them humming along more efficiently.

Training may allow employees to move elsewhere easier, but it just may be what endears them to you more and keeps them happier longer. And you don't get hit with salary budget issues. Yes, I know a shell game, but it works in some organizations.

What do you, as an employer, do to help them grow their skills? Do you send them to annual training? (Note a $ means there is a cost associated with it)

Events like:
  1. Lotusphere($)
  2. The View Admin & Developer Conferences($)
  3. Collaboration University($)
  4. Lotusphere Comes To You events (Free)
  5. Proof of Technology Workshops (Free)
  6. Community Events found on Greenhouse.lotus.com(Free)
  7. If you are a Business Partner, use the VIC (mostly Free)
  8. Any LUG events which usually are FREE
  9. Webinars (usually free)
  10. IBM Website full of various levels of information
  11. TLCC($) has some excellent training products
  12. On Site Training ($)

Probably more offerings around the world I am forgetting, let me know and I will add them.

Of course they should also be reading the blogs found on PlanetLotus.org if for no other reason than to realize how ahead or behind they are and ask for more. Also, most of us that speak at events post our presentations, so it's like a review course in perpetuity on all topics, not juts IBM or Lotus related.

If you don't provide it, and no one asks for it, that is understandable but scary for you and them.

Imagine how much better your staff would love you if you offered them anything at all? Knowing it may cost you just some travel budget for an entirely free 1-3 day event in some cases?

So start helping the team by helping them pave the way to a new world for them and your company.