IBM Domino Application and Server scanner

Introduction

Over the past 7 years Lialis has been assisting many companies in IBM Domino Application decommissioning projects. We have developed a proven method to supply clients with a full set of services and tools to facilitate the decommissioning of IBM Domino Application environment. We call it the Notes Domino Decommission Method (‘NDDM’).

NDDM is an end-to-end approach allowing companies to determine and manage the migration scope, communicate with end-users, close database access, etc.

Part of NDDM is a full Notes Domino server environment scan. This scan provides a very good insight in the usage and design of all Notes Domino applications. The Domino Application scanner determines the migration scope by identifying which Notes Domino applications:

  • are no longer needed (‘delete’)
  • are Notes system/admin tools (‘out of scope’)
  • have content that is no longer modified, but still read (‘archive’)
  • have content that is modified and hence need to be migrated or replaced (‘migrate’)

To summarize NDDM includes features such as:

  • A detailed scan of your Domino environment to determine usage, design, owners, etc
  • Batch closing of Notes databases access
  • Making databases read-only in Batch
  • Sending out batch emails to most recent Notes databases users with tailored info

Pricing Domino Application Scanner

Number of Domino servers to be scanned Price of the software
1 € 1.500
2 – 5 € 3.000
6 – 10 € 5.000
11 or more Please contact sales@lialis.com for a quote

 

Instruction Movie

This movie shows an older version of the tool. However, it still provides you a good insight in how the scanner works. 

Feature list Domino Application Scanner

The following list provides an overview of all available features.

Import all Domino Applications on the Domino server(s) and scan database properties like database size, title, template, replica ID and number of Notes documents. Domino Application - Lialis Lotus Notes database scanner 1
Notes database content scan, report last document created and modified dates, form and user. Forms used, Parent child structure Domino Application - Lialis Lotus Notes database scanner document links
Notes database user activity scan, allowing to exclude certain names like Domino servers and Domino administrators. Scan allows to scan users from a certain date to determine the usage in the last year for example. Domino Application - Lialis Lotus Notes database scanner user activity
Carry out deep Notes document link scan Domino Application - Lialis Lotus Notes database scanner deep notes document link scan
Notes database design element scan.
Export all details to Excel for detailed analysis Domino Application - Lialis Lotus Notes database scanner export to xls

 

Detailed Instructions – How does it all work?

First step is to place the tool on the Domino migration server that you wish to scan. When you have multiple Domino servers you make a Notes database copy on each Domino server (do not use replicas).

It is advisable you run this tool with Full Access Administration enabled in the Notes admin client on the actual server you are going to scan. This will give you access to all private documents for instance in TeamRooms and Document Libraries.

User activity scan

After importing all Notes databases in the scanner all is set to scan the user activity and the Notes database content. In certain situations it might be useful to delete all non-interesting Notes database records from this tool. For instance the Domino system databases, help files, restore database, mail files and so on. However, this is optional. You can also choose to scan everything or scan a selection of the database and clean-up the excel export later on.

One you’ve made your choice on which databases to scan you press option 04. ‘Analyze Databases’.

First we have to scan the headers and the user activity. Its important to understand that we provide two ways of scanning; from the Notes client or by the server itself. Only the user activity scan must be executed by the Notes client. For the other scan options you can freely choose either one. In general the server scanning will go faster. There are situations where the server scan fails. If this is the case its wise to switch to the Notes client scan.

The next step is to determine which users and servers to exclude from the user activity scan. For instance we are not interested in Notes admin and Domino server activity in the user activity analysis.

Domino Application - Lialis Lotus Notes database scanner - scan step 1

The option “and users from activity after” a certain date will allow you to determine the total unique users of the applications in a certain period of time.

Once the user activity scan is ready you go to the view Database Info, scroll to the right and sort the column ‘Last Read By’.

You will now find all servers and Notes admin accounts between the regular users. Copy all servers and admins you find in the text file. Do the same for the ‘Last Write’column. When you think you have found all servers, admins and other system accounts please select all databases again to run a second user activity scan. In the second scan option window add the servers, admins and accounts to the exclude list and run the user activity scan again (disable the header scan which has already been done in the first scan). In this second user activity scan the servers and admins you have excluded so they will no longer show up in the user activity. Other servers and system accounts may now show up. Similarly add these new servers and admins to the exclude list when you run a third user activity scan. Repeat this process till all servers, admins and other system accounts are removed from the user activity columns. The result is a ‘clean’ user activity result as displayed below

The unique users are the users from the complete user activity over multiple years. Note: we don’t value the user activity scan very much since it can be very misleading. In other words never base your inventory uniquely on the user activity details. Instead the Notes database content scan, which we will discuss in the next section, is much more reliable.

Notes database content scan

The Notes database content scan is crucial to determine the Notes database activity. It has more value compared with the Notes database user activity scan. You can find an example of the content scan below.

The most valuable piece of information from the content scan is the ‘Last Doc Created’ and ‘Last Doc Modified’. They determine if a Notes database is in use or not. This analysis is explained in a later section. In addition the number of documents per form, details on parent child response structure and document encryption are displayed. Both the usage of responses and document encryption will pose challenges during the migration project. In other words its nice to know these details way in advance.

Depending on your Domino estate the ‘Data Document’ scan may take a long time. In some cases weeks when there are many large Notes databases on the server.

As mentioned you can run the scan on the server or on the Notes client. When the Domino server executes the scan it will normally run faster. However, there is no feedback to the Notes client what the scan is doing compared with the option Run agent on client. We always advise to use a dedicated computer for the scan.

When the scan stops you can quickly sort the column ‘Forms used’ to see which databases where not scanned because the forms used value is empty. Select the Notes database with no value and start the scan again.

The design scan gives a summary on the design elements that are present in the Notes database. We only use this in the excel export to combine Notes databases with a similar design. We explain this later on.

The ‘Deep Scan Doc Links’ indicate where the Notes document links are linking to. For instance:

Export to Excel for further analysis

When the entire scan is ready it is time to export all details to excel. Select all documents in the Notes database and press the button ‘Export for Detailed Analysis’.

This will export all details stored in this Notes database to Excel (note; more information is available in excel vs. what you see in the view).

Now the fun starts which is to analyze the output and determine which Notes databases are in use, or only read or are not accessed at all. Add a new column to the Excel file named ‘Target’ so you can classify the databases in respectively ‘migrate’, ‘archive’ and ‘delete’.

If you want to have an impression on how we perform this analysis please read the following instruction. It is just an example and might differ from your specific situation since each Domino environment is different. Feel free to email your xls file to marten@lialis.com for review (note: only if you have purchased the content scan license).

Analysis instruction

  1. Set all Domino Applications with number of documents 0 to 10 to delete because it holds almost no content (so sort this column)
  2. Sort on the column ‘Last Doc Modified’. This column will always show year, month, day in this order. In other words sorting on this column will sort the dates in a chronicle time order. When the date is very old you can set the target of the database to ‘archive’ or ‘delete’. You can use any time period depending on your company policies. Subsequently use the column ‘Last Doc Created By’ and perform the same sorting. You will sometimes see a big difference between ‘Last Doc Created By’ and ‘Last Doc Modified’. You will have to investigate why. Use ‘Last Doc Created By’ as well to determine if a Notes database can be archived or is still in use. Please also double check the user activity details for these databases to see if they match up with the document creation and modification dates.
  3. For all actively used databases (in other words for which the ‘Last Doc Created By’ and ‘Modified By’ are recent) do a double check with the User Activity. Normally the User Activity is similar to the document creation and modification date. As mentioned above only use the user activity details to run this second validation. Don’t rely on the user activity alone too much because this might be misleading. For instance when a database has been modified a lot recently and there is no, or old, user activity, this can be due to an agent creating content all the time. In this case you can archive or delete the applicable database. I hope this gives you an idea on now how to work with the excel file.
  4. Notes databases where the Notes content has not been modified recently can be archived or deleted. On the other hand if these Notes databases still show user activity archiving might be the best option. Note: in case you are interested in archiving Notes databases to SharePoint, we offer a user friendly and efficient solution to do that. When there is no user activity at all it is safe to delete the Notes database.
  5. Within NDDM you have an option to automatically close the Notes database ACL. This is very useful in Notes decommissioning projects when you suspect you can delete a database is no longer in use. Use NDDM to close the ACL and when there are no complaints from within the organization you can assume that nobody is still using the database.

Conclusion

In any IBM Notes and Domino decommission project its crucial to get a good understanding of the scope before you start planning. This will save you a lot of headaches and avoids allocating large budgets. Therefore we offer NDDM.

NDDM gives you the opportunity to do a proper analysis on the number of Domino Applications or Notes databases that you can delete or archive. Above all it gives you insight on which databases are in active use and need a new working solution on another platform (e.g. SharePoint). For this last group please read this article.

After the scan and analysis you can use NDDM to contact the Domino Application owners and verify your findings and migration targets. Our experience is that users normally agree with the analysis and assigned targets. Of course, as in any project, there are differences but these are mostly minor. In conclusion, NDDM takes a certain investment up front but will eventually safe huge amount of effort, money and frustration. Remember the saying; “Penny Wise and Pound Foolish”.