Friday, March 16, 2012

Review of IBM Lotus Notes and Domino 8.5.3: Upgrader's Guide

Packt asked me to review this book, they sent me a soft cover copy. I have been an author for them and reviewer in the past, just for full disclosure.

It was written by some IBMers named Tim Speed, Scott O'Keefe and Barry Rosen. The book follows the usual Packt logic and formats which have proven to be pretty good from my experience as an author with them and a reader/reviewer. Two of the three of these gentlemen previously published the IBM Lotus Notes and Domino 8.5.1 The Upgrader's Guide as well.

The back cover says this book was written for power users, admins and developers looking to upgrade to 8.5.3. And additionally could be read by management looking for a high level understanding of the new options.

My feeling is the second half of that statement is the truth. The book goes into a reasonable explanation of the changes in the 8.5. series from a server and client angle. In fact that is the 1st 6 chapters alone as well as Chapter 9 on development topics. Chapter 10 is about the integration with other IBM products and Chapter 11 is solely about the DCT. Domino Configuration Tuner which Scott.

The 2 chapters dedicated to upgrading (Chapter 7) and co-existence among releases (Chapter 8) are a very high level overview. Given 2 out of the 3 authors are from ISSL, the IBM Global Services Lotus arm, we get the benefits of an outline or workflow to follow when setting up the project to do the upgrades.

Overall, an excellent guide to What's new in the 8.5.x stream and how they interact with the client and server from an admin, developer and user perspective.

Unfortunately, we get little around the actual upgrading process itself.While in general Domino upgrades go smoothly for experienced admins, there are countless issues to be discussed and the authors touch on some of these but without practical instruction leaving the reader to go look up more details. Names.nsf updates, templates, Traveler updates (and subsequent notes.ini and internet site documents which may need editing) among other basic issues receive little or no discussion. The 8.5.1 book appears to go into some of these topics in a little more detail but still not as much as a junior admin would need.

Smart Upgrade should have received more than a go look at the administration help link. It is not that simple as numerous blog posts from many of us in the field have shown. Policies receive better treatment.

As an admin, not much for us here, as a reference for clients looking to upgrade from older releases, this is a must have book filled with the WHY you should upgrade. If you are a Lotus Notes admin who has been away from it for a while, this will get you up to speed in a topical way.

A good reference to have on the shelf for clients, in fact I recommended it already to 2 of them because they do not have strong backgrounds in the infrastructure they have inherited or merged.


  1. thank you to give nice information i know about on blog for Lotus Notes Review look and at this one

  2. Everybody in my company complains about lotus client performance.. It is stremely slow! We are migrating to Outlook. (sorry)

  3. Anon, Don't be sorry, that is unless you are the admin. Management makes choices all the time. Some of those choices have high price tags, for a fraction of those high price tags they could have kept the environment in properly managed. Like taking your car for an oil change, servers need to get updated physically.
    While Outlook may seem faster, the things that slow it down, and your servers do not change just because you change server solutions.
    Should you need help during the transition, ask me, but don't expect everything to be roses on the other side.

  4. supporting lotus user in XP environment is more tiring than outlook. lotus client keep hanging like spiderman. need to kill process one by one then restart pc then okay. i dunno, what makes lotus looks not compatible here. maybe antivirus or hardware or problems during deployment. but after migrating to windows 7, things seems fine.

  5. Hi Fall Nish,
    Supporting the products relies on knowledge of what works together and the configurations involved. Often times, the problem is not Notes per se, but other products that do not interact.
    Best of luck, if you need help, contact me through one of the ways on top of the blog.

  6. I am sure the book is great, but Notes sucks as an email client. Recently transferred (6/12) to a company still laboring with Lotus Notes. The Notes email client does not seem to have made any attempt to keep up with other email clients. It is terrible. Most of the freeware clients are better than this - even MUCH better. And that's not even talking about Outlook or Thunderbird. The database sharing is nice, but pick a different email client or watch your productivity go down the tubes.

  7. Davis,
    Not sure what you consider a great email client. None are perfect.
    It has been a long time since I looked at freeware clients, mostly because few of them ever do anything except basic email functions.
    Most companies need an integrated calendar and scheduling add-on. Additionally one needs tasks or activities which have deadlines and want to be tracked and integrated into your calendar. at least I do and not having this, or needing to use 2-3 other programs, is not a better solution.
    My productivity has never been limited by Notes, in fact Gmail and Outlook both limit me in ways I find frustrating.
    I agree Outlook and other email clients may run faster or work faster but then they only are doing email.
    Glad you find the db sharing helpful, it is a key part of the program.
    In some cases, your own administrators and/or company executives, are limiting functionality for their users, which is a shame and something I do not advocate.
    Push your admins to help you or even ask me, or others, for what you are seeking to do or why Notes does or doesn't do something. You may find what you want is right in front of you but for lack of training you are missing these benefits.

  8. Hi Keith,
    Thanks for the sustential review. Unfortunately i am looking for exactly what you pointed ous as missing in the book.
    I am very interested in additional information abbout planning and applying an upgrade to 8.5.3.
    I would be interested in any source for best practices, recommendations etc. in addition to the known Redbook (8.5. Deployment Guide and upgrade cookbook. Any recommendations from your side?

  9. There are many things to think about, but it also depends what version you start from. I did a R6 to 852 upgrade last year and an R4 to R8 2 years ago. Each has things to think about, mostly good, but some pitfalls, especially with edited mail or nab templates.
    ODS, DAOS, Traveler, Program Docs, Backup software, Sametime entitlements and that is before you look at any apps you have, client changes and even webmail/device and iNotes items.
    Notes/Domino 9 will be here soon, I am sure a number of posts and documents will be done on the upgrade process. But you can always ask me via email or IM or Twitter.