If you are a Domino Administrator you know the answer to this question:
Can your Domino server start without the names.nsf file being found?
Of course not.
Yet, clients always try to prove you wrong.
A support ticket came in and it said the address book had gone AWOL. When i logged in to the network and check on the server, it was up and running. Scratching my head, I spoke to the customer and they ended up sending me a screenshot showing quite clearly how in the Admin client, the names.nsf was not visible from the left column where it usually would appear.
I pointed out that the view in the admin client is based on the Directory assistance and LDAP databases. If those are not running or configured you will not see them, but they are definitely there. (Yes, I had checked the physical files were there too) oddly enough I could not find much in searching online to explain it, so anyone with more in depth knowledge, feel free to comment and I will update this post accordingly.
It turns out LDAP had been loaded on the server manually, not via the notes.ini so at some restart they "lost" the files.
Edited notes.ini and loaded LDAP to bring everything back to normal.
The customer was adamant the server was down, yet they could tell, just like I could, that the server was up and running fine. An issue of education, or a case of change is not good which throws them off their game?
While it is our job to support and help the customers, we should also be taking the time to explain to them what is going on, how to resolve it, and why it happened. When we know.
I admit when there are just some things we don't know and the time involved to find out may not be equitable to clients. This was not one of those times, but we all run into the crazy exceptions that happen.
One can never be bored supporting customers, that is for sure.