Lotus Notes Global Inventory

Industry: Manufacturing

Customer: A global provider of industrial automation, power, control, and information solutions.

Project Overview

The project is designed to draw up an inventory of Lotus Notes databases with an eye to create a new tool to plan migration of Lotus Notes databases to other platforms. The new tool Lotus Notes Inventory Catalog automates the process of collecting information about all databases stored on the production servers of the customer.

Lotus Notes Global Inventory is a company–wide initiative that affects all users of the Lotus Notes database. Customer employees were informed through the intranet portal and via email to ensure their participation in the inventory process.

The key asset of the project — The Lotus Notes Inventory Catalog – ensures the following processes of the customer:

  • Tracking of database status and ownership validation
  • Registering of new databases
  • Identifying of abandoned databases
  • Support of environment clean–up process (revoking access to abandoned databases, deleting databases)
  • Maintaining of the inventory information
  • Forming of “applications” from a group of databases for future migration activities
  • Providing of metrics and statistics.

Project Execution

Launched in March, 2010, the project is ongoing, IBA Group being a contractor.

IBA developed the inventory database from scratch, created the necessary utilities, and tuned up the processes to ensure its proper functioning.

Environment

Lotus Domino R5, R6.5, R8.5

Development environment: Lotus Designer, Lotus Administrator R6.5, R8.5

Lotus Sametime

VPN direct connection.

The Inventory Catalog Database

The Inventory Catalog Database (IC DB) is a database built on the standard Catalog template. IC DB extends the template with additional information about databases and enhances it with a number of new functions. It contains records of databases stored on all production servers across all domains.

As a result of communication with customer and/or IT owners, information about databases listed in IC DB is gathered.

Unlike a regular production catalog database, once the database is removed from the server, it does not disappear from IC DB, but only gets marked as deleted.

As the database incorporates the email sending and receiving capabilities, it stores the sent and received messages.

IC DB has stationery mail templates. Based on these templates, emails can be sent to application owners, editors, and users.

Following the established procedure, the IC DB administrator selects databases to perform a particular action. For example, to validate database ownership and End of Life information, notifications are generated and sent to the respective database owners.

In the emails, owners/editors/users are asked to provide their response and can update information in IC DB right from their mail boxes using action buttons. Such emails are usually sent to a batch of selected databases.

The entries in IC DB contain a History tab that saves the history of actions. All outgoing and incoming emails are saved in the IC DB and can be accessed by clicking the blue links in the history table.

Processes

  1. Synchronization with production catalogs
  2. Database ownership and End of Life (EOL) validation
  3. Memo to manager
  4. Reconciliation report
  5. Revoking access
  6. Backup
  7. Deletion of Requests in UAR (User admin requests or any identical DB)
  8. Restoration Procedure.

During the project implementation, IBA also faced the following challenges:

  • A difficulty in attracting database owners and users to inventory reconciliation. The solution was to conduct an information campaign. In cooperation with the customer's team, namely editors and administrators of the customer's Intranet portal, IBA published the announcements of this initiative.
  • A large amount of automatic messages that are sent to the former owners and users to identify the current database owner.
  • Some of the database users don't speak English and would ignore requests.

The inventory process is quite complicated and partly manual. It is impossible to automate such functions as identification of DB owners or interactive communication with users. However, a special process developed by IBA for that kind of activity has received positive references from the customer.

Project Results

Having created a stable Lotus–based application, IBA Group automated the process of collecting information about all databases stored on the production servers of the customer. The information obtained during the Lotus Notes Global Inventory project helps define the roadmap for migration of the data stored in Lotus Notes to other technologies.

Most of manual operations were replaced with automatic processing. The application was successfully launched at the customer site. Workload per person reduced, enabling the employees to switch to more sophisticated operations. The project is currently at the maintenance and support stage. It goes on according to the processes that were developed and tuned up by IBA and that have already received positive feedback from the customer.

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