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.

 

Are You Ready: Domino #Perfect10

In today’s edition of my #Perfect10 webcast I discuss some steps in finding your Domino servers, reviewing their dependencies and auditing database access.   This is a 15 minute presentation which I’ve tried just as slides with my voice instead of video.

As always please let me know what you think and anything else you would find useful.

Next Up: Are you ready – Traveler, Sametime and Web Mail

 

My Favourite Things From Yesterday’s Call – What’s Coming …

Yesterday IBM and HCL hosted a call introducing some of the changes on the way with Domino, Sametime, VOP, etc, as a result of the worldwide Domino Jam sessions they have been running this year.  I attended an earlier Domino Jam in London in January which was jointly hosted by IBM and HCL and was very pleasantly surprised by how receptive they were to really unusual ideas as well as honest criticism so I was looking forward to hearing the results.

To start with it’s worth knowing that the strategy is continually evolving, what we were told about and what HCL are committing to is just a first step on a multi-year multi-release journey and that’s good news.

  • Modern development tools and frameworks
  • Easier and extended authentication and admin options *
  • Core performance improvements *
  • Slimmer, faster, better looking Client *
  • Adding mail and calendar features
  • Improved integration for mail and productivity with Microsoft Office

The items with asterisks were those I certainly raised (ok, went on and on about) during the Domino Jam and it’s great to see others did too and pushed them onto the priority list. I was also pleased to hear them talk about Domino as the original NoSQL database server which it was and remains – I honestly believe customers need to be reminded that before NoSQL was what everyone was doing, Domino was doing NoSQL 🙂

The application development innovations include support for Node.js integration and the ability to deploy applications on an iPad – we saw some code but it’s early days for a release due in Q4 and involving such huge amounts of work. There was a definite amount of “teasering” (made up word)  going on and a promise of hands-on access to beta code at Think in a few weeks as well as at user groups like SNOUG (in Switzerland), Engage (in Rotterdam) and Collabsphere (in Ann Arbor).  If you can make it to Think there’s going to be a lot to hear about and get your hands on, but if you can’t then there will be continual opportunities throughout the year before everything hopefully ships in Q4.

One very interesting thing that came out is that a lot of enhancements were already developed by IBM but never released into the product (for whatever reason) and HCL have been able to use those to leapfrog forwards.   Things coming to v10 of Domino include:

  • automated database repair (fixup is nice but wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t have to do that at all)
  • removal of the 64GB limit and a new 256GB limit (which suggests a lot of efficiencies in database structure)
  • investment in Domino docker images to be made available with installs
  • update of SAML (to SAML 4) and improved integration with AD

Obviously this isn’t everything, there are more things appearing every day and much is still under NDA but we’re months away from release and there’s a feeling of a team pushing hard and breaking through old models and definitions to modernise and breathe oxygen into these products.

I have always believed that Domino is the best NoSQL database server and mail server out there and it seems HCL believe that too and are going full out to prove it.  Not to mention some of the most exciting stuff being produced is in the area of application development which I’m not best to comment on but still like what I am hearing.

If you were on the fence about attending Think I would suggest climbing off it – not just so you can benefit from learning whilst there but to grab the multiple opportunities to feed back your own ideas.  There are people behind these products who want to hear them.  If you can’t make Think then sign up for whatever user groups you can.  I will be doing the same.

 

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.