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Oh, headlines are fun to write. Mr. "firefighter-risk-his-life-and-health" Pollack too wimpy,... Image:Agree with Mr. Pollack, but he’s too wimpy: Notes cradle-to-grave client management is almost there.

On to the point:  Mr. Pollack raises some excellent issues.

As with any thick client, for Notes, there's a lifecycle:
+ Install
+ Initial config for user
+ Ongoing management
+ Upgrade
+ Ongoing management
+ Migrate to new hardware
+ Ongoing management
+ Chrysalis*
+ Vulcan*
_________________
* OK, those are not serious. I think.


Notes/Domino have all the pieces to make this lifecycle a breeze:

- SmartUpdate
- Policies
- Eclipes Update Site
- Roaming User
- ID Vault
- CA Process

What's missing, or, why is it still hard
?

 There really are two pieces - one is what Mr. Pollack talks about. With the built in replication and secure RSA key-based encryption inherent in Notes/Domino, there's no technical reason we can't automatically get software updates from IBM onto our servers and clients. Microsoft manages to do it with WSUS - for free - and that's a much more difficult technical process.

 The other piece is purely a matter of fit & finish, and this is something that IBM is really lacking on. [CraigRANT]They build great, robust software. Software that is highly configurable. Configurable, but not flexible and light-years away from "easy to work with". What do I mean by saying not flexible? The distinction I'm making is this - TDI, WAS, Sametime 8.5, ST Gateway are all awesome pieces of software that you can twiddle with (ie, configure) and get to work wonderfully. An example of the flexibility I mean is like with LDAP - you should just be able to point the software at an LDAP server and it should ( 99.99999999% of the time) be able to figure out - without your help- how to read and work with that LDAP server. Crikey, LDAP's been around for decades, I shouldn't have to figure out the search string, the software should query the server and suggest the correct search string. And yes, I can figure it out, but I shouldn't have to - clients shouldn't have to. And that's just a simple example. Another? Install Sametime 8.5 on Windows, and it doesn't set up services - you have to use a batch file to start the silly thing. Yes, in 2010. A batch file.

This is great software that needs someone to say - "no, you actually have to finish the last .01% of it before you ship it".  

And it's endlessly frustrating to explain to customers why the software (that they've paid rather large sums for) doesn't just work without having to twiddle with it.

I'm all for a SmarterPlanet - let's start in our own backyard with SmarterSoftware, huh? [/CraigRANT]

But I digress.

The focus here is someone at IBMotus taking a look at the whole install-config-maintain-upgrade cycle and making it both easy and flexible for customers.

The SmartUpgrade process is a good example - One of my tasks lately was "knowledge transfer" of how to set up and config a SmartUpgrade to a smaller customer with not-very-technical on site folks. A Redbook, two internet PDFs, and a couple hours later I think they've got it. This process should be clearly documented and easy to work with - all the pieces are there it's just not stitched together well.

Another example question: How do I automatically config a new 8.5x standard client install to point to a particular Sametime server, use Domino SSO, and add a particular group to the user's chat list?

Go google that one.

Yeah, it's ugly. It's shouldn't be - that's what polices and the Eclipse update site are for. Except, NOT.

Fit

and

Finish


Virtually all the pieces are here, now and the rest of the parts needed are relatively trivial. Here's how I think this should work. Note - this should be able to be done by someone who does NOT know XML, text editors, or scripting.

1. Paying customers should be able to download a Notes client install package.
2. Paying customers should be able to download a tool that let's them config that package and determine what pieces are installed (NOT config'ing those pieces - that's next)
3. Paying customers should be able to easily set up  ID Vault, Roaming User, polices, eclipse update site, etc. to fully provision the client so that all that's required is the user's password:
   = Notes ID,
   = location(s),
   = connection records,
   = local replicas of mail, directories, custom apps
   = replication schedules,
   = Widgets/plugins
   = etc.
4. Paying customers should be able to set up the Domino server to download fixes, Fix Packs, and new releases from IBM.
5. Paying customers should be notified of new updates and be able to see the fix list to determine whether/how to deploy.
6. Paying customers should be easily be able to select what users to deploy the updates to.
7. Paying customers should be easily be able to move users to new machines and have all their data & config (including plugins, etc) move with them.

I've raised these kinds of points before, and one response has been that, hey, competing software is no pleasure island either.

I've never been a fan of the "we suck less" argument.

Comments (8)
Craig Wiseman April 15th, 2010 07:59:18 AM

 Comments
1) Agree with Mr. Pollack, but he’s too wimpy: Notes cradle-to-grave client management is almost there.
Nathan T. Freeman http://nathan.lotus911.com 4/15/2010 10:16:05 AM

I'd suggest amending your list of 7 to all say "from the Notes/Domino software itself." Otherwise the argument is that you can find all these things on ibm.com. But they really should be directly accessible from within Notes/Designer/Administrator.

2) Agree with Mr. Pollack, but he’s too wimpy: Notes cradle-to-grave client management is almost there.
Brett Hershberger 4/15/2010 11:24:08 AM

Hi Craig, surely (don't call me Shirley) you must know about policies?

"How do I automatically config a new 8.5x standard client install to point to a particular Sametime server, use Domino SSO, and add a particular group to the user's chat list? "

Policies, policies, policies! They work great and can do all that.

Cheers.

3) Agree with Mr. Pollack, but he’s too wimpy: Notes cradle-to-grave client management is almost there.
Craig Wiseman http://www.Wiseman.La/cpw 4/15/2010 11:29:15 AM

@2 Thanks for the comment!

You need to re-read my exact question.

For the *standard* client policies currently do not fully and adequately address the question.

4) Agree with Mr. Pollack, but he’s too wimpy: Notes cradle-to-grave client management is almost there.
Craig Wiseman http://www.Wiseman.La/cpw 4/15/2010 11:35:20 AM

@2

You might find this post helpful: { Link }

Mr. Nashed is one of the many Yellowverse blessings.

5) Agree with Mr. Pollack, but he’s too wimpy: Notes cradle-to-grave client management is almost there.
Brett Hershberger 4/15/2010 11:41:50 AM

That's weird, I have implemented this in a policy with our R8.5.1 upgrade and it's working fine for hundreds of users so far. If I remember correctly I didn't have to do anything except fill in the appropriate fields on the policy form...

I'm loving it!

6) Agree with Mr. Pollack, but he’s too wimpy: Notes cradle-to-grave client management is almost there.
Craig Wiseman http://www.Wiseman.La/cpw 4/15/2010 11:51:49 AM

@5

You're lucky - I just checked and ours aren't applying.

Are you sure y'all didn't config that in the install package?

Even if that worked, it doesn't let you pre-config any groups which would be an appropriate function.

You should also be able to set "save chat logs" to they user's mail files, at a minimum.

Again, all for standard client....

7) Agree with Mr. Pollack, but he’s too wimpy: Notes cradle-to-grave client management is almost there.
Brett Hershberger 4/15/2010 11:59:25 AM

Yup, only standard client, no basic clients after the upgrade. Nuthin in the SU install package except the ST feature itself. Oh sorry, we are not pre-setting any groups. We also disabled all Save Chat Transcript options too.

8) Agree with Mr. Pollack, but he’s too wimpy: Notes cradle-to-grave client management is almost there.
Craig Wiseman http://www.Wiseman.La/cpw 4/15/2010 12:07:08 PM

@5

More directly, even if the sametime config WAS working, there are lots of other areas that .don't. config properly (locations & connection records for new users, local mail replicas, etc).

It all needs some attention. Not a lot, actually, but some.


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