A Lotus Technical Blog by the MartinScott Team

    Pain Free Server Upgrades or Hardware Moves

    Franziska Tanner  September 21 2009 07:20:36 AM
    Sparked by a challenging Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) and Domino move and upgrade over the weekend, here some migration tips that might save you a headache or two in the future:

    - This one is the most obvious of the obvious tips, but get a full backup of the server you're upgrading or moving off of. Not only that, make sure there is actual, restorable data there as I cannot tell you how many times I ask for something to be restored only to be met with "well, uh, turns out that backup hadn't been tested in a while, so there is no actual data"

    - Check all your third party apps for compatibility, including browsers. BES 5.0 for example isn't certified (and won't work) with IE8 and these are the sort of surprises you don't need DURING an upgrade.
    Also, before you upgrade anything, have all your software ready, even for things you already might have installed. Also make sure to search for patches, hotfixes and any other SPR's, such as this one here, that you might need.

    - Speaking of third party apps, they're likely going to need to be re-installed after a hardware move, AFTER Domino is back up, so make sure your project plan accounts for that. Sometimes the team that deals with Domino isn't the same team dealing with AV, so plan ahead and make sure you've got the appropriate people on call.

    - Whenever you are upgrading or moving a BES, have your SPR identifier, SPR authentication key and CAL handy as you'll need it during the install.

    - If you're moving hardware, make sure you stop and DISABLE all services on the old box in case anyone ever feels the need to re-start it again, for re-purposing of the old box, for example.
    On that note, we're big fans of recycling or re-purposing of old hardware, IF it makes sense. Perhaps you can use your old box as an archive server?

    - Another obvious tip that is obviously not so obvious since I am writing about it.... , also have your IBM support information and those of third party apps, like BES handy in case you need it. IF something unexpected should happen, you're not going to want to waste more time looking for that stuff.

    - You know how you get rid of a TON of junk whenever you move to a new place? A server move is an excellent opportunity to go through your server with a fine tooth comb as well.
    Are all those databases really used and need to move? Are all those ports and tasks in the notes.ini really used?
    Small word of caution here, while minor changes to the server are ok to perform as part of a migration, don't make fundamental changes at the same time, as it could make troubleshooting more difficult in case something goes wrong.  Instead, make a plan (it's called change control, guys) and implement your clean up actions in stages, AFTER your server has been moved or upgraded and proven itself in the "wild".

    - For BES 5.x, the admin interface has changed some. Here an awesome tutorial link I send to my clients, that's really more of a "how to" for anything you could possibly want to do on the new BES 5.x admin console.

    - If you're moving hardware, carefully consider if you REALLY have to change your server IP or host name information as your Notes clients are most likely tied to one or the other or both. There's nothing like getting a nasty surprise on Monday morning when half of your users can't connect to the server anymore. Unfortunately, as a server admin you're blind as to what information your clients are using and only third party apps can help you "audit" Notes clients and take preventative measures for things like connection docs pointing to an IP address, BEFORE an upgrade.

    Those are the things that came to mind, this list certainly isn't conclusive.
    What other server upgrade or hardware move tips do you use?


    Comments

    1Keith Brooks  09/21/2009 3:47:18 PM  Pain Free Server Upgrades or Hardware Moves

    Backups, HUGE, but for BES remember it's not just the Domino Directory or even one directory under Program Files.

    Get it all backed up properly.

    This takes the most time so have the client do it for you or log in early/late in day to start it.

    BES taxes your patience especially on older systems it can drag and act dead but it's just thinking.

    Have someone else test BES for you, not your decvice always.

    And don't forget to make sure all your apps get pushed out properly after the upgrade to BES users.

    And always get the latest .xml files for devices to throw in the BES.