IBM, please fix the Feature Packs installations !

Every time there is a HotFix applied on top of a FixPack or Feature Pack, the installation of the new version of the FP fails. It says it found the wrong version. You have to uninstall the HotFix reverting back to the Base FP, then you can upgrade to the newest FP.
Recently I had installed on my server, and my customer’s server the HF238 for FP8 and I could not upgrade that to FP9; had to revert back to base FP8 before upgrading.

This is a nuisance, to say the least. Can someone from IBM Dev have a look into this and allow the installation of a FP on top of whatever version of the previous FP is there ?

IBM has released Orient Me

Just received this:

Dear IBM Connections Orient Me Customer,

The IBM Support team is contacting you to inform you that a new update to Orient Me 6.0 is available. The recent release of Docker 17.06 has an incompatibility with IBM Spectrum Conductor for Containers Community Edition 1.1.0 which results in an install failure for Orient Me  The Orient Me development team has made available a new release of Orient Me ( to address the install failure.  The installation change is the only update in Orient Me  If you have already installed Orient Me with Docker 17.03 then no action is required.  Otherwise please download the latest version of Orient Me from Fix Central before deploying.

We apologize to any inconvenience that this might have caused you.

The IBM Support Team

Update on I am a bit worried about Pink system requirements

The very excellent Ben Williams and Nico Meisenzahl have dug deeper in Orient Me and found ways to reduce the footprint.
See their blog posts here and here.

I now have Orient Me running with 4 cores. I understand this is not a supported configuration, not until IBM comes up with a way to downsize Orient Me to less than 8 cores, but is definitely a big step forward.

Thanks Ben and Nico !

I am a bit worried about Pink system requirements

I finally succeeded in installing Orient Me on a single server. The point is that it needed 8 CPUs and 16 Gb RAM (thanks to Nico Meisenzahl for telling me that would not work with “only” 4 CPUs)

Now I am a bit worried. If these are the requirements only for Orient Me, I wonder where we will end up for the whole Pink when it will replace the actual Connections. A single server installation will be out of question. My problem is that all my customers are in the SMB space so they do not have tons of hardware to dedicate to Connections Pink.
I do really hope that dev and the performance labs can come up with some suggestions on how to make it work on a smaller hardware; they said they are aware of this problem and are working on it. Let’s hope they do the right thing.

Something to look for when reinstalling Orient Me

I have some issues when installing Orient Me, so I ended up uninstalling and reinstalling several times. All of a sudden I found my / directory without free space. This is because every time you reinstall CfC it keeps tons of Docker files in the /var/lib directory. I checked and I had 8 docker.timestamp directories in my system. Once I deleted those I gained 39GB of space free.

So have a look at your /var/lib and delete all the docker.timestamp directories.

I will be speaking at DNUG 44

I have just been notified that my session has been approved 😀.

My session is “integrating IBM Connections Docs with Box” and is scheduled for May 31 in the afternoon.

As usual the DNUG team has set up a great event, suffice to say that the keynote speech will be given by ICS General Manager, Inhi Cho Su.

You can check the full agenda here

There will be several IBM Champions speaking and it will be an occasion for me to meet again many friends.

panagenda ApplicationInsights. A first look

In April panagenda has announced the release of ApplicationInsights, a tool to analyze your Domino environment. The most important features are geared towards the analysis of the applications both from the point of view of utilization and the complexity. It allows me to see how complex is my environment, drilling down to the single applications measuring complexity, code quantity, external dependencies and so on. Apart from the obvious usefulness of being able to see and measure the status of the environment, the results allow us to analyze where to work in case we want to migrate an application, move it from a server to another, optimize it or modernize it.

A note: if you want to test it, take your time. ApplicationInsights needs to run for a couple of days in order to collect meaningful data; do not think you can install it and see the results in a couple of hours.
The test have been done on our server, this means a lot fo code to analyze but few accesses.

After the installation and configuration ( pretty easy and fast, it just needs a Notes ID able to access to the servr and the applications ) AI begins to analyze the environment; I let it run for 48 hours and came back to see the results.
After the login it shows me the dashboard. Apart from the number shown at the top ( but we really do have so many files on the server ? ) I see the results I expected: few activity and variable complexity

Drilling down I can see how my databases are split

Now I drill further down, I search for an application listed as complex and check what the reports says

Now I have a better idea about how the application is complex and by how many elements is composed. As you can see we’re not talking at all of the data contained in the application but only of the design, since the analysis is done on this part. Drilling down more I can see, for example, how may agents are there in the application and how are they split

In this case I have 72 agents for a total of 7758 lines of code and of those agents 26 are scheduled. This is a good point to consider if I wanted, say, to move the application to another server; in this case I can foresee i need to check those 26 agents to change the schedule.
Continuing to drill down into details, to check what I can see and actually I find a lot of information, analyzing the application AI has checked all the design elements and now it can say me category by category what has found

Here I can see if something sends a mail, how it does, if I have connections to the Domino NAB or if I perform some operations at the OS level. This last information is useful if, say, I am planning to move the server from Windows to Linux.
Below I can see if the application works with connectors or if uses Lotusscript extensions: in this case the application has connections to DB2 and AI reports it correctly.
Still below I found if the application does External C Call, e.g. OLE, if it writes and/or reads extrnal files of the OS, executes calls to external programs and so on.

I finish this post with some considerations based mostly on experience: Notes/Domino is present since many years at customers and the applications written during the years have stratified. Often we need to work on applications written years ago end finding someone who knows exactly what it does and how this applications works is difficult. Maybe the person who developed the application is not working there anymore or, having a lot of time passed, he does not remember what he did and maybe has not documented everything.
In all those cases I believe that having a product like ApplicationInsights can really make a difference and be very useful.
Apart from this, ApplicationInsights is very useful to make an assessment of the environment and check the usage and the complexity.
If we want to work on the applications to modernize them or add other features, that is where a tool like this becomes essential in order to have a correct idea of the situation and of the points where to work. I have the feeling that dedicating more time to the study of ApplicationInsights, I will find other useful features I have not yet seen and used.

OrientMe in a test environment. How to make it work

For all my test systems I do not use a real domain name, I usually go with something like server.roberto.local or the like. This is a problem when you try to install the new OrientMe component that IBM has shipped with Connections 6.

The install scripts perform a nslookup and check the domain name then add the resulting IP address to your host file, then it will try to connect to that address and obviously fail. The strange thing is that it will return an IP address also for .local domains, so basically whatever is your fake domain name, it will find a valid IP and fail the installation.

There is a workaround to make it work, it requires changing a few lines in four files.
When you install OrientMe, the instructions say to copy the deployCFC folder to /opt; open a terminal and go in /opt/deployCFC. There are several files in there, we need to modify the following four:

Open for editing the file and fine the following line
then change it to
ip=your ip address (192.168.1.x or whatever you use)

Open for editing the file and do the same as above

Open for editing the file and find the following 3 lines:
master_ip=${resolve_ip_return_result} and change it to master_ip=your ip address
worker_ip=${resolve_ip_return_result} and change it to worker_ip=your ip address
proxy_ip=${resolve_ip_return_result} and change it to proxy_ip=your ip address

Open for editing the file and fine the following line
master_ip=${resolve_ip_return_result} and change it to master_ip=your ip address

Make sure you have your server name and IP address in the /etc/hosts file

Now here comes the fun bit 🙂 In the /opt/deployCFC directory there is a file, manifest.md5, that contains the MD5 hashes of the script files, e.g. MD5 (deployCfC/ = f826bfd38a81ecafc55020563dc3db75
So if you try now to run the modified scripts it will not work throwing a checksum error.
You have to do the following: for each of the 4 modified files, compute a new MD5 hash, use the command md5sum to do that, e.g md5sum you will get

For each file get the new string and put it in the manifest.md5 file replacing the original one and save the file.

After those changes the installation script will connect to your server and the installation will proceed successfully.

A word of caution: do try this only for test environments where you do not have a real domain name available. Do NOT do this for production systems, those will have a proper domain name and you do not need to do this, also because if something goes wrong IBM will not support you if you have changed the script files.