I have what amounts to the same problem using an @URLOpen specifying a Notes URL:
@URLOpen("Notes://" + @Name([CN]; @Subset(@DbName; 1)) + "/" + DbRepID + "Approved?OpenView")
The serverhint (same server that you are currently on) seems to SOMETIMES be ignored and falls through to the first server listed alphabetically in our domain, which in our case is unfortunately in Australia.
After digging around in the Forum and DeveloperWorks, the only entries I found that matched were these entries to which I'm responding. I then called in a trouble ticket and found some interesting stuff that I'd like everyone to know.
In April 06, TechNote 1094418 was issued: http://www-1.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?uid=swg21094418
This corrected a prior Notes Help documentation flaw and straightened out the algorithm Notes uses to select the server it will open your target database on. After 1) looking for replica icons on the user's workspace (which works fine), it then 2) performs a Catalog/Domain Search PRIOR to 3) using the serverhint specified. The following Note is given concerning the Catalog/Domain Search:
The Catalog/Domain Search server is specified in a user's Location document. The search will open the catalog and find the "best" server choice containing a replica. The best choice considers server availability.
I can't figure out why this step runs for me, as I do not have a "Catalog/domain search server" specified in my current location document, but it apparently does and I'm therefore never making it to my serverhint.
What I gleaned from my conversation with the helpdesk is that this step apparently grabs the first server listed alphabetically in your domain and checks it for availability. If it has good availability, it uses that server without ever reaching the step of checking your serverhint.
Unfortunately, in our case, one of our Australian servers is the first listed alphabetically and during a U.S. business day, it is the middle of the night for them...so of course their server is not very busy.
At the end of that Technote it says:
An enhancement request, asking that the Server Hint parameter be given precedence over Catalog/Domain Search when attempting to locate a replica, has been submitted to Quality Engineering (spr #EAVM4THH42).
I think this would help us all dramatically. The response to this SPR, however, is that there are no plans to change the code stream.
I would really appreciate it if anyone who has this problem (or even thinks they MIGHT have this problem someday :-)) would call the IBM helpdesk, open a PMR, and have them add it to the above mentioned SPR so that IBM might change their minds and reverse steps 2 and 3, thus giving the serverhint specified more weight than server availability.