Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Presentation from PACLUG

Hi to everyone who attended my PACLUG presentation on "Sametime for Administrators" - as promised, here is the updated presentation.
Let me know if you have questions or comments..and subscribe to my blog!!

Follow up to last blog

So now finally, I can post my findings on what I posted back in April.
The question was where do we get the Sametime community server from? It used to be in the Location document in the client but with the new embedded client, it's now in an XML file (community-config.xml) here:
There is actually a lot of information in this file and it seems to come from the plugin_configuration.ini file (PC.ini) (on first install) and from the managed-settings.xml (which can be called something else - it is referenced from either the PC.ini or from the Sametime Policy for that user.
So that's where it IS now... and for a new install it comes from the PC.ini file, but what if you're upgrading?
Well, for the embedded client it can be pushed using a Domino Policy i.e.

  This is where the Sametime chat server is configured and has been for sometime... but wait, there is another place where it can be set:

and this seems to be for the older "basic" clients (pre-eclipse and non-eclipse V8+) in the first part and for Standard clients in the second..... so how do all these play together?

It seems that the first screen was used first... and then as the product developed, the second screen came in to be for the new Eclipse-based  Sametime client..... and now we have the Plugin_customization.ini file for the current embedded client in Notes.

With V8.5.1.1, I have been told that the client now reads the PC.ini file every time it is started, so in order to push the server down, you need to set it in the PC.ini file with the line:

In my last customer deployment we had ONE community server and for safety's sake, we had it in every place it could be just to make sure that it was being set.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Which Sametime server field is used?

So now it's getting confusing.... with Notes 8.5.2 (and earlier versions), the Sametime server field has disappeared from the Location document... not sure exactly when this happened (i.e. which version) but in my reading I came across this useful link which explains some of the mystery. I still could see the Sametime server field in the Location document but only looking at properties.

 Regardless of all this, it is my understanding now that with respect to the ST embedded client, the location document simply is a holding place for the Sametime server name and nothing more. The actual place where it is set and where it matters is in the plugin_customization.ini (for new installs only), the desktop policies and in the corresponding community-config.xml file that is created under "C:\Lotus\Notes\Data\workspace\.metadata\.plugins\". This XML file is the important file and is what gets used for the corresponding preferences settings.

The confusing thing to me is now where the Sametime server name comes from when using Desktop policies as there are two places in the Desktop policies where you can set Sametime server name.."Desktop -basics" and "Desktop - Preferences - Instant Messaging".... and then there is the plugin_customization.ini which holds a value that is only used when the client is installed (or when you delete the workspace directory).

I have a PMR in with IBM to have them explain which field is used and when..... watch this space :-)

Friday, April 1, 2011

PACLUG and Admin2011 together

I will be presenting at the Pacific Lotus Users Group in Vegas this coming June. Check out the site here
I will talking about migrating Sametime users to 8.5.x and the corresponding pain :-)

Both the View's Admin2011 and Lotus Developer 2011 will be co-located and hosted at the same place, so make sure you attend this event for lots of great information

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How to configure Sametime embedded client remotely

I just posted this to the Sametime Community Forum and thought I would post it here too as it may be useful:

Information on how to configure your Sametime embedded client
Basically - I could never get the Domino policy and managed settings in there to work. I believe that with 8.5.x onwards the best way to control Sametime configuration is NOT with Domino policies but with the plugin_customization.ini file and managed-settings.xml

First thing is make sure the Sametime Community server is in your plugin_customization.ini file e.g.:

Then, I used a manged-settings.xml file pointed to by this line in the plugin_customization.ini:
(the above file was on the Sametime server served up by Domino HTTP server but could be anywhere accessible to the client)
 and I had managed-settings.xml with all the parameters in.

I actually added all my parameters into the plugin_customization.ini file and then any extra ones, like for meetings, I added to the managed-settings.xml

Also - BIG warning here - the parameters in plugin_customization.ini are case-sensitive... so as I found out to my cost:
works and:
does NOT work... (note the case of the u in startup)

Another BIG thing is that the plugin_customization.ini file doesn't get re-read at any time unless you delete the workspace... so in effect, there is no real way to "upgrade" apart from wacking the workspace. I tried deleting specific files in the workspace, like the community-config.xml and the Notes_Canonical_name.xml in subdirectories but I never got any solid results... as long as you don't mind losing the client settings that you lose when you delete the workspace, this would be the way to go... oh, and I deleted Cache.ndk for good measure too

And you need to stop and restart the Notes client a couple of times for this to work as the first time it pulls the changes from the plugin_customization.ini file and only gets the managed-settings.xml file the second time the client starts... so you won't see meetings until the second restart of the client

Friday, March 4, 2011

Rolling out users onto Sametime 8.5.x

It seems to me that there are serious issues with rolling out the newer version of the Sametime clients which are required to work with the new Sametime 8.5.x infrastructure. Apart from interoperability issues with older clients accessing the new servers (something we have been "spoiled" by having in past releases) it seems to me that there are no fixed methodologies laid out by IBM for client deployment. Specifically:
  • How to update Sametime preferences on the client automatically
  • What's the difference between updating the Embedded client preferences and the Stand-alone client preferences?
  • How do we keep tabs on all the different ways our clients are configured - we have policies (both Notes and Sametime), client settings, plugin_customization.ini files, Notes.ini files, to name but a few. It's all becoming way to complex.
What I'd like to see is some sort of management utility that could tie all this together.....

I am currently experiencing pain with a customer roll-out, so I am both learning and open to anyone who might be able to help :-)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Deploying scalable Sametime

I was just notified about this great article on IBM developer works written by Andy Yiu from IBM. It details how to deploy a scalable Lotus Sametime 8.5.1 environment on a minimum of two servers with the ability to expand as and when needed.
Deploying a scalable IBM Lotus Sametime 8.5.1 environment for small-to-medium businesses

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Things discussed at Lotusphere BoF session

There were a number of things discussed in out BoF session at Lotusphere that I would like to address in this blog:
  • HTTPS access to the meeting server - how to set this up (watch this blog space)
  • Red Book on Sametime deployment - only available online at present
    LINK: Sametime 8.5 Enterprise Scale Deployment
  • Can we get a VMWare image with everything loaded on it? (Andy Higgins will investigate)
  • Multi-tenancy Sametime install (Frank Altenburg to report on this option)
  • Setting configuration options as "grayed-out" options i.e. non-changeable. This is done through plugin_customization.ini and Frank Altenburg was going to address these.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sametime 8.5.2 released in beta

You all probably know that the beta release of ST 8.5.2 has been released. I have a copy and am installing it as I blog.... I need to read the fine print to see how much I can talk about it, so watch this space.

The first post

Hi all,
 This is the newly set up Sametime Discussion blog for all those people who attended my Birds of a Feather session at Lotusphere in 2011. I hope to be able to share ST information and provoke discussion on various ST topics on this blog. I hope to grow this blog too, so please feel free to add more people to the distribution.
  Andy Higgins