New features in Lotus Domino 7.0

Perhaps the most significant new functionality introduced in Lotus Notes/Domino 7.0 involves the Domino server. This article examines the major new features offered in Lotus Domino 7.0, including better performance, easier administration, and tighter integration with Web standards and other IBM/Lotus technologies, such as DB2, WebSphere Application Server, and WebSphere Portal.

Dick McCarrick, Content Developer, IBM

Dick McCarrick is a content developer for developerWorks: Lotus. Previously he was a member of the Domino/Notes Documentation team for over 11 years, playing a variety of roles in documenting many major components of Domino and Notes. He also wrote the occasional article for Iris Today (including Ask Professor INI) before joining the Notes.net/Lotus Developer Domain team permanently in 2002. In his spare time, Dick's leisure activities include running, fishing, woodworking, and reading about the natural sciences. An avid astronomer, he's former director of the Bridgewater (Mass.) State College Observatory. Dick lives in Vermont.



14 November 2006 (First published 30 August 2005)

Also available in Russian Japanese

In a separate article, we describe the new features introduced in Lotus Notes and Domino Designer 7.0. In this article, we talk about enhancements to the Domino 7.0 server, including:

  • Enhanced performance and scalability
  • Administration and TCO advances, including Domino Domain Monitoring, improved policy management, automated client installation and upgrade, and other features
  • Integration both with industry standards and with other IBM/Lotus products, including DB2
  • Messaging and anti-spam protection
  • Security
  • Directory

The following sections briefly discuss each of these areas. For detailed information, see the Lotus Notes/Domino 7.0 release notes. This article assumes that you're an experienced Domino administrator. If not, we suggest you read the article, "The History of Notes and Domino," to help you understand the terms and concepts we discuss.

Performance and scalability

Performance is a topic always foremost on administrators' minds. Lotus Domino 7.0 offers good news in this area: Server scalability has improved by 80% for NotesBench R6Mail and R6iNotes workloads on one Domino partition on all platforms! Lotus Domino 7.0 provides enhanced performance in other ways as well, including:

  • Reduced server CPU utilization (up to 25%)
  • Linux thread pools allowing threefold improvements in Linux capacity
  • IIOP performance improvements
  • Networking performance improvements
  • Mail rule scalability improvements
  • Improved scalability for Domino Web Access mail servers

These "behind the scenes" features help make your job as administrator easier -- and your users happier and more productive. And Domino's increased capacities and scalability may translate into lower infrastructure and less hardware, helping reduce both cost and overhead. In addition, an internal API gathers CPU times for the Domino Domain Monitoring (described in the following section). Plus, CPU utility and performance statistics are collected and analyzed via an improved process.


Administration enhancements

We're always looking for ways to make the life of the Domino administrator easier, so Lotus Domino 7.0 has been enhanced to include the following administration and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) advances:

  • Domino Domain Monitoring
  • Improved policy management
  • Automated client installation and upgrade
  • Linux/Mozilla Web Administration client
  • Serviceability, including autonomic data collection
  • Administration scriptability
  • Rename reversion approval

Domino Domain Monitoring

Domino Domain Monitoring (DDM) provides a single location in the Domino Administrator client that you can use to view the status of multiple servers across one or more domains. To do this, DDM uses configurable probes to gather information across multiple servers. These probes check for issues involving the Directory, SMTP, routing, replication, ACL, security, and agents. DDM then consolidates and reports that information on specially-designated collection servers in a Notes output database called the Domino Domain Monitor (DDM.NSF). From the Domino Domain Monitor, you can select an event and view detailed information about it. You can then click Probable Cause Possible Solution (PCPS) to view information explaining the cause of the event and (in some cases) to access a link to the database from which you can correct the error.

DDM provides:

  • Monitoring that you can schedule any time, 24/7
  • Fast recognition and reporting of critical server and client issues
  • Top-down, feature-oriented view of the domain status (from which you can selectively view detailed information)
  • Automated problem determination and probable cause in multiple feature areas
  • Visual indicators that identify which problems remain unresolved and which have been addressed
  • Configuration defaults for easier setup
  • The option to combine data generated on one or more DDM-enabled servers into a single database on another server

Lotus Domino 7.0 comes with a default set of Probe documents. These contain the probe name, a description of the probe, specifics on what the probe monitors, and scheduling information. You can use these Probe documents with their default settings. You can also create new Probe documents tailored specifically for your environment to monitor feature areas, such as application code and operating system. You can schedule probes to run daily, weekly, during the first or last week of the month, or at almost any other time. You also specify the repeat interval for the probe. These probes include:

  • A database probe that ensures a database can be opened (Optionally, the probe can check the database for unused space and user inactivity.)
  • A database probe that monitors key locations in the database software layer and generates events for errors (You can define a list of errors to be ignored.)
  • Directory probes that check the health of a number of directory-related tasks and processes, including the LDAP task, replication, indexing, NRPC, and secondary LDAP search response times, and so on
  • Mail probes that verify local mail routing by sending a message to a known destination and verifying its delivery, that notify you if the router cannot keep up with mail flow, and that alert you if too much mail is pending to a particular destination or if mail to that destination is failing
  • SMTP probes that verify that mail can be delivered to an SMTP recipient via a Delivery Status Notification (DSN) report, that check the SMTP task by verifying the processes threads, and that verify protocol requests
  • Replication probes that check for replication errors and conditions (such as databases that are not replicating according to their schedules), for last successful replication, and for replication conflicts
  • Security probes that verify a database ACL against a predetermined configuration and that check for inconsistencies in security configurations across multiple servers
  • Agent probes that report total number of agents run, agent security errors, time-out errors, and other agent-related information

In addition to probes, DDM components include an administrative interface and Domino resource modules.

Activity Trends

To help maximize resource utilization on your servers, Domino 7.0 introduces Activity Trends. Activity Trends (part of the Domino Administrator) collects and stores statistics on activities involving the server, databases, users, and connections of users to databases. With Activity Trends, you can chart statistics for a specified server or server group. You can review Activity Trends information to determine how database workload is distributed among your servers. To help you with this, Activity Trends provides recommendations for balancing database workload across servers, based on specified resource goals. Activity Trends also provides a workflow to assist you in implementing these recommendations.

Improved policy management

Policy-based management was introduced in Lotus Domino 6. Release 7.0 extends this functionality further by offering a new Mail policy document. With it, you can define a set of corporate information that you want to apply to your mail users. In addition, a new client policy lockdown feature lets you specify which policy settings your users can modify.

Automated client installation and upgrade

Lotus Domino 7.0 includes a number of enhancements to Lotus Notes Smart Upgrade. For example, Smart Upgrade now detaches kits in the background to prevent lost time due to a non-working client. Smart Upgrade also provides failover from a shared (network) upgrade kit to another server's attached kit. In addition:

  • Administrators are notified via a mail-in database of the Smart Upgrade status (success, failed, or delayed) by user/machine.
  • In clustered environments, Smart Upgrade can switch to another member of the cluster if the first server is unavailable.
  • Provisioning is available for the Smart Upgrade Tracking database.
  • Smart Upgrade governor limits the number of downloads from a single server to avoid excessive server load.

Another installation feature introduced in Lotus Domino 7.0 is InstallShield Multiplatform (ISMP) installation. This is a new Java-based installer for Windows from InstallShield.

Linux/Mozilla Web Administration client

You can run the Domino 7.0 Web Administration client from a Mozilla Web browser on a Linux system, enabling an end-to-end Linux deployment of Lotus Domino and Domino Web Access with no need for Windows in the environment.

Serviceability

To help administrators service and maintain their servers, Lotus Domino 7.0 offers autonomic diagnostic collection. This feature lets you evaluate call stacks generated from a Notes client or Domino server crash, using the automatic diagnostic collection functionality introduced in Lotus Notes/Domino 6.0.1. Autonomic diagnostic collection extends the capability of automatic data collection by analyzing call stacks located in the Fault Report mail-in database, and then evaluating this data to determine whether or not other instances of the same problem have occurred.

Speaking of automatic diagnostic collection, when this tool collects information about a server crash, it now checks the server to determine whether or not it is run under the Domino Controller. If so, automatic diagnostic collection uses the Controller logs. Otherwise, the server is checked to see if console logging is enabled. If it is, automatic diagnostic collection uses the console output. If neither the Domino Controller nor console logging has been set, automatic diagnostic collection pulls its data from log.nsf. In addition, you can define (via wildcards) which files are collected by the automatic diagnostic collection tool. This lets you collect diagnostic files from other IBM products (and also third-party add-ins).

You can also set a time limit to forcefully terminate a server that remains running after you issue a quit or restart server command. To allow you to do this, the Basics tab of the Server document now includes a section called Automatic Server Restart. You use this section to define the time limit, which by default is five minutes. During this interval, no shutdown activity occurs. When the server process successfully terminates, the timer restarts. An NSD log is generated before termination. (You can disable this feature with the new Notes.ini setting SHUTDOWN_MONITOR_DISABLED=1.)

Administration scriptability

Lotus Domino 7.0 gives you three powerful new notification methods to enhance server monitoring and event handling. For example, you can now open the Event Handler combobox and choose to run an agent.

Rename reversion approval

The administration process (also known as AdminP) no longer automatically reverts name changes. It now requires the administrator to either approve or reject the name change reversion. To provide uninterrupted access to a user's databases while a name change is in progress, there is a period of time in which both the old and new names are allowed access to the systems and databases. By default, this period is 21 days, but you can set it to any whole day value from 14 to 60 when the rename is performed. At the end of this period, the old name will no longer be supported.

In some situations (for example, when the user is away for an extended period and cannot accept the name change), the old name must remain active and the new name abandoned. In such cases, the name change needs to be reverted to provide continued access for the user. In earlier releases, the reversion was performed automatically at expiration time. With the addition of the new approval process, the administrator can now approve or reject a name change reversion.

Other Domino administration enhancements

Lotus Domino 7.0 also offers the following features to make administration easier:

  • The ability to write the status bar history to a log file
  • The ability to suppress the Roaming User Upgrade prompt

DB2 support and other integration enhancements

A major new feature in Lotus Domino 7.0 (one that is sure to draw a great deal of attention and interest) is its support of DB2 as a data store. In Lotus Domino 7.0, you can use both DB2 databases and Domino databases, accessing and viewing data stored in either format. Users experience no visible difference between the Domino data and the DB2 data. Nor do they need a DB2 ID or DB2 connectivity. And you can replicate a DB2 database just as you would a Notes database.

NOTE: In the first release of Domino 7.0, DB2 integration features are for test and evaluation purposes only, not for production or development work. For more information, see the Lotus Notes/Domino 7.0 release notes. You can also participate in the DB2 features for Domino 7 trial program.

Running Lotus Domino with DB2 provides advantages to both Domino and DB2 users. For example, Domino sites gain access to DB2 features, such as relational constructs and SQL-based views. For DB2 users, Lotus Domino provides improved XML/collaboration support, Domino services, Notes application development support, and integration of Domino data into DB2 applications. Perhaps most important, Lotus Domino with DB2 gives users the full benefits of Domino security.

Domino 7.0 server administration tools have been enhanced to support DB2-based databases. These include:

  • A tool to enable Lotus Domino to run with a DB2 data store
  • A tool to allow configuration of a connection document from DB2 to Lotus Domino
  • Support in the Status and Analysis panels
  • An integrated API to allow DB2 user names/passwords to be added
  • DB2 management features available from the Domino Web Administrator client

NOTE: DB2 is only a storage option for Domino servers. Databases on the Notes client remain in NSF format. For more information on planning your Lotus Domino/DB2 environment (including hardware/software requirements, installation, and configuration), see the Lotus Notes/Domino 7.0 release notes.

In addition to DB2, Lotus Domino 7.0 provides enhanced integration for IBM WebSphere Application Server and WebSphere Portal. Lotus Domino 7.0 also offers better integration for Web standards, such as Java 1.4.2 and external Java debuggers and Web services hosting. (See the article, "New features in Lotus Notes and Domino Designer 7.0," for more on these features.) Other enhancements in standards support include DXL Importer/Exporter improvements and IIOP/Java API extensions.


Messaging and anti-spam protection

Lotus Domino 7.0 continues the never-ending battle against unsolicited junk email. Lotus Domino 7.0 now features private blacklist/whitelist filters for SMTP connections and DNS whitelist filters for SMTP connections. Most spam filtering involves blacklists in which email from addresses on the list is rejected or filtered. Whitelists do the reverse -- they contain a list of addresses from which you expect to receive mail and filter messages received from other sources. You can implement whitelist filters both privately (on the client) and at the DNS level. Also, the Mail Rules feature has been expanded to allow users to select blacklists. The Server Mail Rule dialog box now includes a BlackList option to allow you to select the blacklist you want to enforce:

Figure 1. BlackList option
BlackList option

Message disclaimers

Lotus Domino 7.0 now features support for message disclaimers. These are short text notices appended to outbound Internet mail messages often used to protect a corporation's legal interests (for example, to inform the recipients of the message that the organization is not responsible for anything written by the message's author). You can also use disclaimers to inform the reader that the message is company confidential and should not be shared with unauthorized individuals. For more on message disclaimers, see the tip, "Using message disclaimers in Lotus Notes/Domino 7."

Domino 7.0 messaging also includes improved fidelity for MIME-to-CD conversion.


Other Domino 7.0 enhancements

In addition to the preceding features, Lotus Domino 7.0 offers improvements in the following important areas.

Security

As with previous releases, Lotus Domino 7.0 offers enhanced security features. New security functionality includes stronger keys for encryption (1024-bit RSA keys and 128-bit RC2 for Notes cryptographic operations). Domino 7.0 also provides improved support for single sign-on (SSO), as well as new security-related APIs to allow handling of encrypted mail. (See the developerWorks: Lotus article, "Security APIs in Notes/Domino 7."

Directory

The Domino 7.0 Directory provides enhanced LDAP support, including LDAP alias support.

Network

On the network side, we've upgraded IPv6 protocol support to include additional platforms and services. IP address pattern strings now support the CIDR format, and we've added IOCP support on Linux Intel.


Activity Trends

To help maximize resource utilization on your servers, Domino 7.0 introduces Activity Trends. Activity Trends (part of the Domino Administrator) collects and stores statistics on activities involving the server, databases, users, and connections of users to databases. With Activity Trends, you can chart statistics for a specified server or server group. You can review Activity Trends information to determine how database workload is distributed among your servers. To help you with this, Activity Trends provides recommendations for balancing database workload across servers, based on specified resource goals. Activity Trends also provides a workflow to assit you in implementing these recommendations.


Lotus Enterprise Integrator

The Lotus Enterprise Integrator (LEI) 7.0 also offers several significant enhancements. For instance, the LEI Administrator incorporates new functionality, such as presence awareness and form-based connection testing. LEI administrators will also welcome improved failover and better error handling. In addition, LEI 7.0 supports external updates and deletions to Virtual Documents, NSD integration and generation of SYM files, and support for the latest version of DataDirect ODBC Drivers. LEI 7.0 also lets you control how dependent activities are run, based on the results of the calling activity.

Other LEI enhancements include:

  1. Data Management activities that use Notes connections can run under different Notes IDs.
  2. Domino remote script debugging can debug scripts used in Scripted Activities.
  3. Scripted Activities now record connections used by the scripts.
  4. Virtual Documents now handle back-end update and deletion synchronization.

For more information, see the developerWorks: Lotus article, "New features in Lotus Enterprise Integrator (LEI) 7."


Lotus Domino 7.0: Faster, better, cheaper

Lotus Domino 7.0 delivers increased productivity through faster performance, greater scalability, and lower total cost of ownership (TCO). And customers everywhere should welcome the tighter integration with IBM technologies, especially DB2, WebSphere Application Server, and WebSphere Portal. As we mentioned earlier in this article, we're always looking for ways to make your life as Domino administrator easier. We think you'll find Lotus Domino 7.0 does exactly that -- which should be welcome news for your users, your management, and (last but not least) yourself!

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