After working with many customers, the IBM Lotus SWAT team has seen and resolved a variety of problems and pitfalls directly related to upgrading to Notes 8.5.1. Here are a few tips to help you avoid some of the more common issues.
Perform an uninstall and reinstall
- Perform an uninstall and reinstall
- Install Notes before launching any other applications
- Run the install from a local drive
- Reduce the size of the install kit
The first question that many customers are asking is ‘Do we upgrade or uninstall the old version, then install the new version?’. There are multiple things to consider when answering this question. The first is what would you lose if you uninstall. The answer can be ‘nothing’, but that requires that you properly configure your installation. In 8.5.1 we have included an XML file, which controls the features that are installed. This file is installation_directory
/deploy/install.xml. As an example of what you might lose, the embedded Sametime client is NOT enabled by default. It is installed, but will not be visible to the end user.
<installfeature default="true" id="Sametime" name="Sametime" required="true" show="false" version="126.96.36.19990929-1223">
In one case, a complete uninstall of Notes 8.0.2 was performed. When they installed 8.5.1, the Sametime client was not visible to end users. A simple change to the install.xml would have prevented this.
Secondly, many customer believe that if they upgrade it will be faster than an uninstall / reinstall. In many cases, this is not true. In testing, we identified that the time to uninstall / reinstall was the same as performing a straight upgrade. This is caused in part to the installation code performing multiple checks and backups of files. This extra processing is not required for a clean install.
Install Notes before launching any other applications
Depending on your method for upgrade, you can run into a variety of problems. The most common problem is ensuring that the Notes client is completely shutdown. The two most common methods to automate the installation of Notes include the IBM provided SmartUpgrade tool and a 3rd
party system management tool – such as Microsoft’s SMS.
If there are Notes components running at the time of the installation, the installation will fail. In previous versions of Notes, there have been reports of Notes processes not shutting down in a timely manner. These processes will trigger an error in the Notes installation code causing the installation to fail. While the Notes client is left in a working state, it has not been upgraded.
In addition to the Notes process, we must be sure that all of the files in the Notes program directory that need to be upgraded are free of file locks. For instance, there are times when a Notes client is used to launch a web browser. This leaves a link between the browser and the Notes program directory. We have documented cases where there are open files in the Notes Eclipse directory. The provisioning portion of the installation will fail and can leave the end user with a broken installation. It will be a mix of the original versions and the new version of Notes.
Run the install from a local drive
Disk storage is getting cheaper however install kits are getting bigger. The question of a local or network installation is unique for each company and in many cases for each location. A company with a large network might not want to ‘download’ a 400 MB install kit to each of their thousands of computers. But then there is the question, ‘Can the network support thousands of installations over the network?’. The best location will depend on your location. A local installation will run faster but requires that the installation files be pre-staged. One method to pre-stage the installation is to use Microsoft's SMS or SCCM to drop the installation files onto the local workstation. This can be performed off hours and reduce the impact on the network during production hours. A network installation will run slower and can have a negative impact on other applications or users if many users are performing the installation at the same time.
Reduce the install kit size
The standard install kit can be quite large and includes many features that may not be part of a company's plan. In addition to the install.xml mentioned earlier, there is an updatesite.zip file which contains many of the features and add on components to the Notes client. This file can be reduced in size by removing components that will not be needed in your environment. As part of the Notes install kit, there is a Utility directory, which includes a set of tools to modify the updatesite.zip file. In addition to removing unwanted components, you have the option of adding additional customized components. Details on how to add and remove components are included in the zip file in the Utility directory, as well as in the Lotus Domino Administrator 8.5 Help,