How to Speed Up Lotus Domino Transaction Log

Transaction Log is a must have feature in Lotus Domino. If configured correctly, it’s almost speed up the whole Lotus Domino process. You can read more about Lotus Domino Transaction Log in here.

Transaction log need the fastest disk available, and also support failover. So, at least you need to have a dedicated raid 1 configured hard disk for transaction log files.

So, I follow the steps, using 2 x 15 k RPM SCSI hard disk and configure it as raid 1, and dedicated only for transaction log.

But, I still fell that the configuration is not fast enough, and I can’t get the faster hard disk, something is wrong.

After carefully studied, I found that to improve the hard disk performance of transaction log you need to use the non standard allocation unit size. The standard allocation unit size is 4092 bytes, don’t use it, manually change it to 32 kilobytes or even 64 kilobytes.

If somehow you already format the transaction log hard disk using the standard allocation unit size, to improve the transaction log performance, you need to re-format it with the new allocation unit size. There is third party software where you can change the allocation unit size without re-format, but you can do it with your own risk.

  • Shut down the Lotus Domino server
  • Backup all the transaction log files in ( no need special backup, just copy it into another disk).
  • Format the disk, but do not use the standard allocation unit size (normally 4092 bytes), but change it into 32 kilobytes or 64 kilobytes. Do not use the quick format, use the slow format (just be safe)
  • Restore the transaction log files.
  • Start the Lotus Domino server

Now, your transaction log will work faster.

Last, do it in your own risk. It works in my Lotus Domino environment:

  • Windows server 2003 x64,
  • Lotus Domino 8.5.2 FP2 x64

And full backup will never hurt.

 

 

 

How to Safely Delete Lotus Domino Transaction Log File

Transaction Log is a must have feature in Lotus Domino. If configured correctly, it’s almost speed up the whole Lotus Domino process. You can read more about Lotus Domino Transaction Log in here.

If you enable the feature, and you should, than you need to have a proper backup system that support the transaction log. Without the proper backup system that support transaction log, the disk will filled up by the transaction log files. The backup system will backup the transaction log files and then delete them, thus will free up space in your hard disk.

But, what happen if the backup system somehow not backup thing properly? What happen if the backup system do not backup the transaction log files and do not delete them? What should we do?

Recently, I had the same problem. Somehow my backup software did not delete the transaction log file after backup. My raid 1 transaction log disk was almost full, and need to free up some space quickly, before it crashed.

The first rule is you should not delete the transaction log manually, it will crashed the Lotus Domino server, believe me, I tried.

This is the workaround.

You can disable the transaction log, restart the server, enable the transaction log again, and then restart the server again. The minus point is, after you re-enable the transaction log, the Lotus Domino will do some database fixup on all of your databases in the server, it may take hours or even days.

Or you can,

  1. Change the transaction log from archival style to circular style
  2. Restart the server. It will safely delete the old transaction log files, and than it will create around 4 GB of transaction log files.
  3. Change it again to archival style
  4. Restart again, it will delete the transaction log and than again re-create the transaction log files again.

With this method, you can safe the time for database fixup.

Last, always do it in your own risk. It works in my Lotus Domino environment:

  • Windows server 2003 x64,
  • Lotus Domino 8.5.2 FP2 x64

And full backup will never hurt. ūüôā

About Lotus Domino Transaction Log

One of the feature ¬†of Lotus Domino that I can’t live without (as Lotus Domino administrator) is Transaction Log. Transaction Log help me a lot when the server crash (very rarely) and backup time.

Without the transaction log, when the server crash, it will take hours for the server to recovery. It will check every databases one at a time and try to check and fix if it found any problem. And when the database if being fix, the user can’t access it. If the database is big, more than 10 GB, it will take hours to complete it.

With transaction log, after the server crash, the server will ready in less than 15 minutes.

Without the transaction log, the backup procedure will become a problem. In my case the total databases size is more that 1 TB, and it will take almost 24 hours to complete the full backup. And it’s almost impossible to me to run full backup everyday.

With the transaction log, I only to run the full backup every week, and I only need to backup the transaction log  for daily backup. Yes the full backup will take up to 24 hours for 1 TB data, for for daily backup, it take less than 1 hour backup.

So, if you have a medium size or large lotus domino server, I highly recommend that you to run it with transaction log enable.

Before that, these are a few tips.

  1. Use the fastest and dedicated hard drive that you can use for transaction log. I’m using IBM SAS drive with 15000 RPM, and that still too slow to me.
  2. Use raid 1 for transaction log, it recommended by IBM. So if one drive is failed, you still have one to run the transaction log.
  3. Backup, backup, backup. Transaction log rely on good backup that support transaction log, it will only clear up the old TXN files after the backup is complete. Without a good backup, your hard drive will filled up by the TXN files.
  4. If possible, use the latest Lotus Domino version. I have problem with Lotus Domino 8.5.2 FP1 that crash because the size of the transaction log, even the hard disk still have many free space. After consult with IBM support, they suggested me to upgrade the fixed pacth to FP2, after that the problem is gone.
I will keep on update the tips for the transaction log, and hope that you can added one or two tips.

Steps to upgrade Domino 32-bit to Domino 64-bit in windows platform

Just did the upgrade both Windows server 2003 32-bit and domino 8.5.2 32-bit to 64-bit version.

After all it run well, then I found this technote.

Duh, I hope I found that technote much more earlier, before I upgrade my windows and domino into 64-bit version, that will make it a lot easier.

Please take a special attention on point seven (or six), “7.¬†Before restarting the Domino server, run the offline maintenance on the following system databases from command prompt.”

If you have a large domino databases, and you have only limited down time, than copy entire domino data directory may be is not an option. In my experience, copy 1,2 TB of domino data will take more than a day. And after we start the new server, it give a lot of  error messages and the fixup process run almost on all databases.

So we did it with another way, we create a additional server, create replica of all databases to the new server, and after that we only need to switch server id. It take a longer time to replicate (almost a week), but the down time is minimum, less than a hour.

So, which way is your choice, either copy the data all create replicas.

 

 

Can’t open mail database, “Can’t find view”

One of the user reported that he can’t open his mail database, and when I tried to open his mail database, I have this error message

“Can’t open view”

and displayed a blank database

Tried to run the following tasks:

  • Fixup
  • Updall
  • Compact
  • Convert
  • Replace design
  • Search the internet
Without any luck. ūüôā
Then I try to open the database in lotus designer, and luckily it can open.
Click the list of view, and there is no view, just empty. Now, I see the problem.
So what I do next,
  1. Create one empty view, and close.
  2. Open the database, can’t open, still have “can’t find view” error message.
  3. Replace design, now it working
  4. Open the database, now it working.
It seem somehow all the views in the database got corrupted, and without a view, you can’t open lotus notes database.

 

Lotus SameTime entry server

Maybe this is my bad luck, when installing Lotus SameTime Entry server 8.02 I always having problems.

Installing Lotus Domino is not a problem, I use Lotus Domino 8.02.

Problem start when I’m trying to install Lotus SameTime entry 8.02 server, when it starting to install, it always says something about Lotus Domino or Lotus SameTime processes still running.

Unlike Lotus Domino, it seems that Lotus SameTime installation is not as smooth as it should be. It detected others processes as it own. From IBM website it listed mostly because of anti virus software.

But, even I already disable or even uninstall the anti virus software, I still have the problem.

So I try to disable all the softwares and services that running in the background one by one.

All disabled but still having the problem.

One software left, TightVNC that I use to remote the server.

So temporarily I disable the TightVNC and replace it with Remote Administrator.

And it working.

After I disabled the TightVNC, I can install the SameTime server without any more problem.

I’m not sure why there are so much problem when installing sametime server, I also have the same problem when installing SameTime entry 8.51.

Some suggestions when installing sametime server.

  • Copy the source into your local haddisk
  • Disable network connections
  • Disable all anti virus software
  • Run the installation
  • Enable the anti virus sotware
  • Enable network connections

Hope you will not have the problem as I’m.

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How to make global out of office

This is a how to enable global out of office for everyone.

Thanks to Maria Helm for her advise.

To continue the steps, you should have knowledge about mail journaling, mail-in database, server rules, and how to create a simple agent. Don’t worry this is a very simple agent, you do not need to write a single script.

1. Create a mail in database, give it a easy to understand name.

2. Enable the mail journaling, make sure that mail journalling use send email to not copy to.
Send email to the mail in database that we just created.

3. Create a simple agent to reply every email with your custom message.
Dont worry, this is a simple agent, no script required.
When you in simple agent, enter will close the simple agent, it is better that you type the out of office notice somewhere else like in the
notepad, and then copy paste it into the agent.
Run the agen from non ordinary users, in my case i run it with an administrator account.

4. Create server rule to journal every documents excepts, email from your own domain, and you can add more exceptions if you want.

So now every emails from outside of your domain will be captured and then sent to a mail in database, where an agent will be ready to reply with an out of office message.

Three things that need to consider for new server

You need to buy a new server for your most critical data, the server should be able to run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

What are to consider?

Brand of the servers? Of course. The softwares? Sure.

Anything else?

These are three things that cross my mind.

Raid 5

If your data are important, and mostly are, than use server that support Raid, at least Raid 5.

With Raid 5, we use at least three hard disks with the same capacity (and better with the same brand and model) and configure it as one drive. If one hard disk failed, the data still can be accessible.

Without Raid 5, if you have three hard disk, and one hard disk is failed, that all the data in ¬†that hard disk will be lost. ¬†You need to rely on your latest backup and pray that restoring the data won’t be a problem.

Minor side with Raid 5 is that Raid 5 will use one hard disk capacity as it parity, so if you have three 1 TB  hard disks, than the total of your capacity is only 2 TB.

And also with Raid 5 , the performance is slower.

With at least Raid 5, you will have redundancy and more capacity compare to Raid 1. There is also Raid 6 that extend the Raid 5.

More about Standard Raid Levels

Hot Swap

Ok, now you use Raid 5 for your critical servers that should run 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

If one hard disk failed, at least your server still able to run with slower performance.

Now, you still need to replace the failed hard disk with a new one. If your server support Hot Swap capabilities like most IBM xseries, than it should not be a problem. You just need to unplug the failed hard disk, wait for 30 seconds and plug in the new one. Total time should be less than one minute.

But, what if your server do not support Hot Swap?

You need to shutdown your server (when? ), open the server case if necessary, detach the cables, unplug the failed hard disk, then plug in the new disk, attach the cables, close the case then power it on again.

How much time do  you need for that?

And you need a spare time to do it, you can’t just shutdown the server on office hours, you need to do it after office hours, or maybe before office hours or maybe on weekend?

Warranty

Make sure that your servers have good support and spare parts availability.

One thing that I like the most from IBM server is their warranty and support.

While I’m working with the IBM servers, I have two mainboards problem and four failed hard disks.

The longest time it need is to replace one mainboard from the old server (very old), because they need to ship it from Singapore.

Recently I have one failed hard disk (one of the reason why I wrote this), call IBM support and describe the problem, and all they need is our machine type, serial number and the FRU of the hard disk. Then hard disk replacement already in the office in the next morning.

That what I called a good support.

If they need a month to replace a failed a broken part, that the support, the warranty is useless.

If your warranty going to expired, or already expired, you should, you must extend it. It’s not cheap, but for me, very worthed.

With IBM, you can choose 5 days support, or 7 days support. With 7 days support, if you call them on weekend, they still come.

Not sure for other brand, if they support as good as IBM. I only works with IBM brand.

Note, I’m not an employee of IBM.

CA BrightStor ARCserve Backup R11.1 Problem with Lotus Domino Agent

I used to backup my Lotus Domino server R8.02 with CA Brighstor Arcserve backup R11.1 with Lotus Domino agent, without any problems. CA Brighstor Arcserve backup for my opinion may be the best backup software that support Lotus Domino available.

But recently, I have problem with my domino server, it crashed with error message that the transaction log is full.

I do full backup every week, and incremental backup daily, it should be enough. I check the web for what might cause the problem, and all point to the transaction log problem.

Restarting the domino server, fixed the problem, until than it crashed again, with the same error. ¬†But now, I’m really curious, is there something wrong with my transaction log?

I found the problem accidentally, when I tried to backup individual mail file, I can’t found many mail files from Brighstor Arcserve backup user interface.

Than I realize that all the mail files that Brighstor Arcserve backup can’t found are under the directory link.

Recently, I added a new harddisk into the server, and make it as a additional drive (drive E). Than I moved several mail databases to that drive, and than created a directory link so Lotus Domino can see the mail databases.

Yes, the Lotus Domino can see the databases, but not Brighstor Arcserve backup. That maybe the problem.

I can’t found anything in the web, so join the CA forum and ask the question, the answer is that I should pacthed the software.

But, than I upgraded to Brighstor Arcserve backup R11.5 instead.

Now, with Brighstor Arcserve backup R11.5, it can see all the databases that are under directory link, I hope that it can solved the problem and no more crashed.

Evaluate, the bridge between Lotus Script and @Formula

In lotus notes programming, I usually use Formula for simple program and Lotus Script for more complex program. I try to avoid many lines of Formula, because it difficult to read and not structured.

But, Formula have many method that Lotus Script do not have, like @Implode and @Explode. Even we can write our ownLotus Script function to do that, it just a waste of time and energy.

But, we have Evaluate in Lotus Script.

Evaluate  function is one of many of my favorite functions, because it able to run Formula and than pass the result of that Formula intoLotus Script variable (variant).

This is the syntax of Evaluate

variant = notesSession.Evaluate( formula$, doc )

We can use Evaluate function to pass the result from any kind of Formula,  from simple formula like @UserName to more complex formula like @Implode.

Recently, I use Evaluate in my program, to shorten the length of theLotus Script.

I need to calculate the difference in days between two date, but only in business days ( so saturday and sunday will not be counted also holidays).

Formula already have the function to calculate that, so I don’t need to create another lengthly Lotus Scriptfunction just to calculate that. I use the formula instead, so I need the Evaluate function.

varDay=Evaluate(“@BusinessDays(@Date(datFinal);@Date(@Now);1;datPublicHoliday)”,doc)

Remember that Evaluate function return value is variant.

With Evaluate, Formula and Lotus Script can coexist together.