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I believe it is time to improve the auto-update capability of the IBM Lotus Notes and Domino Infrastructure

By Andrew Pollack on 04/15/2010 at 07:23 AM EDT

I probably make as big an effort at keeping up with new versions of the Domino server and Notes client software as almost any admin, but with the increasingly rapid pace of change it's getting somewhat more difficult all the time. Many of us have wished for some better automatic update capability for a long time. It's starting to get important enough to demand attention. With 8.5.2 due fairly soon, we'll have had several fairly important updates all within the space of a few months -- 8.5.1, 8.5.1 fp1, 8.5.1 fp2, and 8.5.2 in fairly rapid succession.

Sure, the pace of change is in part due to IBM's desire to get new features out faster and to more quickly address any serious issues with those new features as quickly as possible -- but it does leave administrators scrambling to keep up. What follows is my preference for how IBM could drastically improve this process.

Improvement does not (and should not) mean automatic upgrades without administration planing or management. That's inappropriate for enterprise infrastructure software. IBM can still address many of the major pain points without putting environments at risk.

Key Pain Points:

Pain Point #1 is knowing the update is available, and what it fixes. If you don't follow the community very closely it can be very hard to know if and when you need to perform the updates.

Pain Point #2 is finding, selecting, downloading, and preparing the upgrade software. The download process from IBM is painful and time consuming. It's very easy to find the wrong package or to download some, but not all the versions you need for the number of serves and clients in the environment.

Pain Point #3 is getting the updates prepared for installation -- moving them to the servers, unpacking them, preparing scripts on some servers, and setting up the upgrade packages for workstation roll out through policies.

What Should IBM Do:

1. Allow the Domino servers to automatically download the upgrade packages. This should be configurable on a per-server basis -- so that each server can be designated as an upgrade download point for the Domain. This should be either a single server or multiple servers depending on the environment. Let the admin decide which servers will be configured to download which sets of upgrades.

2. Notify the Admin when new packages have been downloaded.

3. For Client side upgrades, provide a very simple action button that turns a downloaded package into a prepared update to be rolled out through the policy based upgrade system. Once the server has the files, the admin should not have to spend more than a couple of minutes to schedule its roll out to users. The upgrade process already exists, but getting the upgrades into it properly is too painful.

4. For Server side upgrades, provide a very simple action button that turns a downloaded package into a "ready to upgrade" server. The result should be that the upgrade package is moved to the selected servers, unpacked to a specified path, and is ready for upgrade. Once done, the administrator gets a notification indicating the steps necessary to complete the upgrade.

I believe these small steps (small compared to a true automatic patch system -- that I am at this time not in favor of) will drastically improve the adoption of point level updates. Better adoption means better served IT customers and end users. License maintenance will also improve under a system like this.


There are  - loading -  comments....

re: I believe it is time to improve the auto-update capability of the IBM Lotus Notes and Domino InfrastructureBy Tim Lorge on 04/15/2010 at 08:09 AM EDT
Let's not forget Smart Upgrade. If there is any way a Notes client can be
deployed, Smart Upgrade needs to be able to upgrade that deployment.

The Notes client can be deployed as a multi-user install; has been for years.
Smart Upgrade has never been able to work in that instance thus requiring a
visit to the user to manually upgrade them.
re: I believe it is time to improve the auto-update capability of the IBM Lotus Notes and Domino InfrastructureBy Andrew Pollack on 04/15/2010 at 08:14 AM EDT
What I'm proposing would feed into smart upgrade -- but you're right, that
process itself does need to work better and more universally.
[SPAM ATTEMPT DELETED]By Charles Reid on 04/15/2010 at 10:48 AM EDT
I agree
re: I believe it is time to improve the auto-update capability of the IBM Lotus Notes and Domino InfrastructureBy Jason Ungerer on 04/15/2010 at 11:57 AM EDT
I agree. One of the customers that I am working at, is going through an upgrade
process for the Notes client. And boy has this been a challenge thus far!!!!!
re: I believe it is time to improve the auto-update capability of the IBM Lotus Notes and Domino InfrastructureBy Marc Champoux on 04/16/2010 at 08:14 AM EDT
Hi,

I also agree with your idea, it would be really nice if it could download
everything by itself and simply let me know about it so that I can approve the
update.

In regards to Smart Upgrade, I feel the pain of everybody who's tried to use
that. In fact, I decided to share with the community my Smart Upgrade
methodology. I wrote a post on my blog titled "Lotus Notes R8.5.1: SnTT u2013
Updated (V2) Step-By-Step Presentation on Deploying R8.5.1 Clients using Smart
Upgrade, the Install Shield Tuner, SURunAsWizard and Policies" and you can
download the 160 page step-by-step presentation here:

http://www.thenewdominoadmin.com/blog/?p=636

Marc
re: It is WAY PAST time to improve the auto-update capability of the IBM Lotus Notes and Domino InfrastructureBy Tony Austin on 04/16/2010 at 11:41 PM EDT
Yeah, Andrew, oh so true! ... It should have happened years ago, and should be
as easy as we've become accustomed to for other products' version/feature/fix
pack updates. Dare I mention Windows Update as a model that works pretty well
most of the time, and I can think of quite a few others that tend to be doable
more easily than Notes/Domino updates.
re: I believe it is time to improve the auto-update capability of the IBM Lotus Notes and Domino InfrastructureBy Stephan H. Wissel on 04/28/2010 at 04:17 AM EDT
Well though. I second that!


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