by Len Barker, Managing Partner – Lotus Practice
Perhaps the biggest news around the release of Domino 8.5.3 is the free entitlement to Lotus Connections Files and Profiles. This is really big news. I can’t think of a single customer of mine that does not have some method of sharing files and some method of providing access to a directory of employees. The fact that they now are entitled to the foundation of what is arguably the best business social networking software on the market should have them all planning for the upgrade. While the entitlement to the software is free, there are still costs involved in implementing Lotus Connections. This article will help get you started with the planning process.
Start the planning process by becoming familiar with what Lotus Connections Files and Profiles (and the status updates that come with it) are. IBM has a nice demo of these features being used within the Notes 8.5.x standard client. A web browser can be used to access the same functionality, so if you have any licensed Notes users that don’t use the Notes client, they can access the Connections server directly. Once you understand what the software can do, you’ll want to decide which features will be used in your organization. You may decide to use this as a trial of the full Lotus Connections feature set. In this case your planning for server deployment and configuration should be adjusted accordingly
Installing Lotus Connections
Let’s assume that you have decided to take advantage of both the Files and Profiles portions of Lotus Connections and you are ready for a full production installation of both. The installation is fairly straightforward, especially if you have experience with WebSphere Application Server (WAS). If you haven’t touched WAS before I recommend reading this short tutorial on WAS for Domino Admins so that you are familiar with the terminology that is tossed around in the installation guides. Most organizations of any size will need two machines (or virtual machines) to host Lotus Connections Profiles and Files. IBM tech line can help you with the sizing of these servers. You can download Lotus Connections for Domino 8.5.3 from the Passport Advantage site.
Profiles provides the directory of users to Lotus Connections. This is where email addresses, phone numbers, pictures, expertise, and organizational structure is stored. It is also the piece of Lotus Connections that provides the Facebook-like status update functionality. The wonderful part of the installation process is that you can use your free entitlement to Tivoli Directory Integrator to import and later synchronize the Profiles directory with your corporate LDAP source (e.g. Active Directory, Novell eDirectory, etc). I can’t overstate how powerful TDI is. It will make getting started with Profiles a breeze.
Notes client side bar plugins for Lotus Connections status updates and files are available from the catalog at IBM Greenhouse. If you haven’t already done so, you will need to create an Eclipse Update Site on your Domino server to hold your plugins. Once you have put your configured plugins into the catalog you can push them to your Notes clients via policy.
Once hardware is available, the total installation of Lotus Connections for Domino 8.5.3 can be completed in all but the largest organizations in three weeks or less. For a clean path to success, make sure your implementation team consists of a representative from the network team, LDAP group, server team, desktop support and Lotus Domino administration. A good internal marketing campaign that advertises the upcoming new features and how they will be used in the organization is very helpful as well.
Davalen can remove the uncertainty in your upgrade plans by leading the effort for you. We have done many full installations of Lotus Connections and have created a Lotus Connections installation for Domino 8.5.3 service just for you. Contact me for more information.
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