Friday, January 26, 2007

Very positive LotusSphere 2007

I am traveling back from LotusSphere 2007 and am very excited about Notes 8, Quickr (QuickPlace 8), and Lotus Connections (Ventura/Activities). I have been to a few LotusSpheres over the years and this was my first that I was not there from IBM or Iris. The positive energy around Notes 8, Quickr and Portal Express reminded me of when I did my first QuickPlace talk. The Notes developers and my old team were getting beaten up in the meet the developers lab about all the bugs and feature requests - where I was in the QuickPlace lab soaking up all the positive energy and excitement from the business partners and guests. This year, the positive energy was there for the Notes 8 client developers to enjoy.
The Ask the Developers section at the end was the most telling for me. Although there was a fair share of difficult questions, it was so positive to hear everyone preface their questions with admiration for the work and effort the development teams had put into Notes 8, Quickr and Connections.
The proof will be when the code is shipped and people start to adopt the composite application model for delivering applications. It will give IBM customers and partners a really powerful way to extend and deliver value.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Running Domino on an Amazon Elastic Cloud

I was recently accepted into the Amazon EC2 limited beta and was able to create my first instance following the getting started tutorial.
As they currently have no support operating systems for Domino, I asked Daniel Nashed which he thought was most like the supported system. He suggested the CentOS as he has run 4.3 but not 4.4.
I then loaded up that instance using the Amazon tools. It is a very raw image without a web server but came up very quickly. After that I downloaded and installed Domino for Linux to the machine.
I had to authorize the domino port and remote setup port for my machines:

ec2-authorize default -p 1352
ec2-authorize default -p 8585

Then, I created the notes user:

useradd notes

Uploaded the latest rc_domino script and then ran the server in listen mode:

server -listen

The server complained about a missing library (/opt/ibm/lotus/notes/latest/linux/tunekrnl: error while loading shared libraries : cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory), so I had to install this via yum:

yum install compat-libstdc++-33

This resolved the startup problem, and the Domino setup ran as normal.
I have the server up at:
(I will probably take the server down after LS2007).
It seems to run as you would expect from 1.7GHz with 1.75Gb RAM. When I pull the statistics through the admin client, it looks perfectly healthy and I can create databases as you would normally.
For the money, it works out at about $73/month (10c/hour) for a small server plus bandwidth and storage. It is in a totally different league to AIX LPARs (you scale by adding more instances rather than making your current instance larger) but for a small business is it a really good alternative to running your own domino server. Looking after a rack in a colocation facility is a lot of work and Amazon gives the technical users a cheap alternative here.

Monday, January 01, 2007

QuickPlace Clustering over a Wide Area

I have started to experiment with wide area clustering of QuickPlace 7.0. In QuickPlace 8, it will use more Web 2.0 technologies and libraries such as Dojo. The impact of this will mean the QuickPlaces will become more chatty (more smaller and lighter requests). As a result, any latency issues might become more noticeable. To make the most of this, having your QuickPlace server as close as possible, will make the place much faster.
Once I can sort out any clustering issues, the next stage is to use directional dns from Neustar. This will direct the user to the closest server to the users location. For Australian users, this will be Sydney (latency of 20ms instead of the current 300ms), West Coast USA will be San Francisco (10ms instead of 80ms) and East Coast will keep hitting our main servers in Somerville, MA (10ms or less from New York). So far the Australian server is keeping up with the load and the West Coast should be online soon. I hope to have the world wide cluster working before LotusSphere 2007.