Adminlicious – My Favourite TCO Features in Domino 10

This is my presentation from Icon UK on Thursday 13th September.  There are lots of TCO features coming in Domino 10 that I’ve been working with and look forward to putting into production.  In this presentation I cover things like cluster symmetry, pre send mail checking, deletion logs and the newrelic statistics reporting.

Say it with me….

28 days until the Domino 10 release.

Folder Sync v10 #DOMINO10 #DOMINO2025

Next up in “cool admin things coming your way in v10” – folder syncing.  By selecting a folder on a cluster instance you can tell the server to keep that folder in sync across the entire cluster.   The folder can contain database files (NSFs and NTFs) but also NLOs.

Well that’s just dumb Gab.. NLOs are encrypted by the server ID so they can’t be synced across clustermates but a-ha! HCL are way ahead of you.  The NLO sync involves the source server decrypting the NLO before syncing it to the destination where it re-encrypts it before saving.

So no more making sure databases are replicated to every instance in a cluster.  No more creating mass replicas when adding a new server to the cluster or building a new server and no more worrying about missing NLOs if you copy over a DAOS enabled database and not its associated NLO files.

Genius.

File Repair v10 #Domino10 #Domino2025

If you follow this blog you know that v10 of Domino, Sametime, Verse on Premises, Traveler etc are all due out this year and I want to do some – very short – blog pieces talking about new features and what my use case would be for them.

So let’s start with FILE REPAIR (or whatever it’s going to be called)

The File Repair feature for Domino v10 is designed to auto repair any corrupted databases in a cluster. Should Domino detect a corruption on any of its databases that are clustered, it automatically removes the corrupted instance and pulls a new instance from a good cluster mate. Best of all this happens super fast, doesn’t use regular replication to repopulate, doesn’t require downtime and the cluster manager is fully aware of the database availability throughout.

I can think of plenty of instances where I have had a corrupted database that I can’t replace or fix without server downtime.  No more, and another good reason to cluster your servers.

 

V10 Roadmap: What’s new in Mail, Chat, and Verse on Premises?

Following on from our presentation at IBM Think, on Thursday May 24th I will be presenting a follow up webcast with Ram Krishnamurthy, Chief Architect, Notes, Designer and Xpages (HCL) and Andrew Manby, Director of Project Management (IBM).    On the webcast we will be showing the latest additions to Notes client mail, calendaring and Verse on Premises all of which comes from live code and will ship with v10 of each product later this year.

If you saw our presentation at Think there have been more additions and changes since then – the speed at which the products are being developed is something I haven’t seen before and there are some great new features and UI changes I think you will like.

We have a lot of content to cover in 45 minutes and Andrew will have some news you will want to hear too so go here to register for the webcast starting 10am EST, this Thursday the 24th of May.

If you want to stay up to date with all the changes happening to Domino, Sametime, Traveler, Verse and other products then keep an eye on the Destination Domino site where all the news and announcements appear first, and while you’re there why ot sign up for the newsletter.

As we all get ready for v10 of the products later this year I will be blogging more of my own preparation work on my blog at https://turtleblog.info and also populating a Youtube playlist called Perfect10 with a series of 10’ish minute videos to help you prepare.

Path To A Perfect 10 #perfect10

Here’s an intro to a new blog series I am starting to hopefully take us all through preparing for v10 of the ICS products due out later this year.  If you have suggestions for what you’d find useful outside of the things I mention in the video please let me know.  I’ll be using the hashtag #perfect10 for this which I’m sure isn’t used anywhere else and won’t lead to any confusion 🙂

Any feedback as to format is welcome.  Most blogs will have both slide content and video to match as I thought that the most engaging.  I am trying this as a YouTube channel.

 

Creative Ideas For Docker (and Domino)

In an earlier post I mentioned that I have been working on new technology projects since the end of last year and I wanted to share here what I’m doing as well as plan to keep you updated on my progress if only to keep pressure on myself.   I have been working with, and speaking about, Docker and containers for the past year and it was good news to hear that IBM will now support Docker as a platform for Domino (as of 9.0.1 FP10). http://www-01.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?uid=swg22013200

Good news, but only a first start.  Domino still needs to be installed and run in its entirety inside a container although the data would / could be mapped outside.  Ideally in a microservices model Domino would be componentised and we could have separate containers for the router task, for amgr, for updall, etc, so we could build a server to the exact scale we needed.  However that is maybe in the future, right now there’s a lot we can do and two projects in particular I’m working on to solve existing issues.

Issue 1: A DR-Only Domino Cluster Mate

It’s a common request for me to design a Domino infrastructure that includes clustered servers but with at least one server at a remote location, never to be used unless in a DR situation.  The problem with that in a Domino world is also Domino’s most powerful clustering feature, there is an assumption that if a server is in a cluster then it is equally accessible to the users as any other server in the cluster and, if it’s not busy and the server the user tries to connect to is busy, the user will be pushed to the not-busy server.   That’s fine if all the cluster servers are on equal bandwidth or equally accessible, but a remote DR-only server that should only be accessed in emergency situations should not be part of that failover process.   It’s a double edged sword – we want the DR server to be part of the cluster so it is kept up to date in real time and so users can fail over to it without any configuration changes or action on their part.  We don’t want users failing over to it until we say so.

I tend to tackle this by designing the DR server to have a server_availability_threshold=100 which marks it as “busy” and prevents and client failover if the other servers are online.  It works ‘ish’ but someone has to disable that setting to ensure all users failover neatly when needed and it isn’t unusual to have a few users end up on there regardless.

So what can Docker do for me?

I don’t see that much value in a standard Domino image for docker in my world.  When I build a Domino server it tends to have a unique configuration and set of tasks so although it would be nice, my goal in deploying Domino under docker is very different. It is to create identical containers running identical versions of Domino with identical names e.g Brass/Turtle and Brass/Turtle. Both containers will point to external data stores (either in another container or a file system mount). Both will be part of a larger Domino cluster.  Both will have the same ip address.  Obviously both can’t be online at the same time so one will be online and operating as part of the cluster and only if that server or container goes down would the other container – at another location – activate. In that model we have passive / active DR on a Domino server that participates fully in workload balancing and failover.  I don’t have to worry about tuning the Domino server itself because the remote instance will only be active if the local instance isn’t.   I would use Docker clustering (both swarm and kubernetes can do this) to decide to activate the second container.

In principle I have this designed but I have lots of questions I need to test.  Not least deciding the location of the data.  Having a data container, even a clustered data container would be the simplest method.   That way the Domino container(s) would reference the same data container(s) however Domino is very demanding of disk resources and docker data containers don’t have much in the way of file system protection so I need to test both performance and stability.  This won’t work if the data can be easily corrupted.   The other idea is to have a host-based mount point but of course that could easily become inaccessible to the remote Domino container.  I have a few other things that I am testing but too long to go into in this post.  More on that later.

Issue 2: Domain Keys Indentified Mail for Domino

In its simplest explanation, DKIM requires your sending SMTP server to encrypt part of the message header and have a public key published in your DNS file that enables the receiving server to decrypt it, thereby confirming it did actually originate from your server.  It’s one of the latest attempts to control fraudelent emails and, combined with SPF records, constitutes requirements for DMARC certification.

The DKIM component of DMARC is something Domino does not support either inbound or outbound.  It may do in the future but it doesn’t right now and I am increasingly getting asked for DMARC configurations.  Devices like Barracuda can support inbound DMARC checking but not outbound DMARC encryption. The primary way I recommend doing that now is to deploy Postfix running OpenDKIM as a relay server between Domino and the outside world, your mail can then be “stamped” by that server as it leaves.

My second docker project therefore is to design and publish an image of postfix + OpenDKIM that can be used by Domino (or any SMTP server).

More on these as I progress.

 

Champions Expertise – 2018 Technology

IBM Champion Expertise presentations are a new initiave we are starting this month whereby Champions can provide audio presentations on a particular topic.  This month is “2018 Futures and Technology” and here is my presentation on what I think is going to be big for 2018, containerisation vs virtualisation and where it goes next.  This presentation has audio and I tried to keep it short but feel free to double speed me if 14 mins is too long.

I mention in my presentation that I have a more detailed presentation on docker architecture on slideshare and if you want to see that it’s here.  I’d also be grateful for any feedback on the length, style or other aspects of the presentation and what you think of the Champions Expertise idea.