IBM Connections, Exchange, Kerberos and the Tale of External Non-Collaboration

It is a longer tale, so to make keep it short I decided to busy the lead and give you the synopsis right here:

If you are running IBM Connections integrated with Exchange as your ICMail setup you are using Kerberos. If you want to enable external collaboration by adding another LDAP source for your external users – it will not work.

You can create the repository, add it to WebSphere, you can do all the TDI settings to import the users in it as external users .. but they will not be able to authenticate. The reason is that WebSphere has the authentication mechanism at it’s top level of security (global) and not at the repository level. That means, once you use Kerberos you have to use Kerberos for ALL authentication that happens. Trust me, I have tested. I had PMRs open (with both Connections and WebSphere support). I talked to the IBM Connections Product team and verified that this specific scenario was never actually tested so nobody appears to have known of this, which is also why it never made it’s way into any documentation.

I don’t think there are many clients for whom this might be an issue currently, but I do see many environments wanting more security and wanting to tie in other back-end systems and if that client environment is running AD as their LDAP source , then KERBEROS will be right there as a feature request – or a necessity.

Is External Collaboration Dead when Using Kerberos?

That is an easy answer – No.

But you are now forced to add those external users to your AD forest and either add them to some branch/OU that you can treat as external users or add some AD/LDAP attribute to identify them as external users.

Feature Enhancement Request for WebSphere – PLEASE VOTE!

I entered a feature enhancement request to move the authentication method from a global setting to the repository level – either in general or as art of a security domain setup in WebSphere, thereby allowing non-Kerberos repositories to be used for authentication alongside a KERBEROS enabled repository.

Here is the link to the feature request – the more people look at it, follow it and vote for it the more likely it is to make it’s wat into a future release. you will need to have an IBM website ID to even just look at it but I’d appreciate the effort!

IBM Sametime 9.x – Linux Install Errors – Installation Manager Failed Validation

I am blogging this one becuase when it happened to me I did not find a solution for it anywhere.


Problem Scenario

Installing ST9 Video Manager on Red Hat 6.4 – using either built-in IBM Installation Manager that comes with the installation package or a preexisting Installation Manager (used to install WebSphere first). When starting the install you get as far as choosing the package to install and then you get an error – “Validation Failed” in the Installation Manager interface. In the console used to execute the Installation Manager you see the error:

IBM installation manager error “Failed to determine a hostname for WAS to use”

I looked far and wide for this one in Google and bing to no avail – until I had a hunch: the host configuration for the server was incorrect.



In the ssh session execute the command [system-config-network] to verify the fully qualified host name entered there. In my case there was a typo in the name so the Installation Manager was never able to look up the Red Hat server it was running on successfully. Edit/fix the entry and then save it. A restart is not necessary, though this change did kill the X11 forwarding I had going so I simply ended the ssh session and reconnected again and then the install went flawless.

2014 – What is waiting at the starting line for this year?

Since I finally got back to my bog and wrote a short / brief “2013-in-a-nutshell” post, I thought it might be time to also look ahead. There is allot hat I am working on, here the short list:



Yes, I mentioned I am going and what my (not very short) list of must-see presentations are. The other reason I like to go is that is a great time to talk to vendors and colleagues to see where the market and technology is going and what clients are (likely/maybe/hopefully) looking for for the future. It is not just fun and golf – even if my wife thinks otherwise.

Connections Training

I speak frequently at LUGS and seminars on IBM Connections administration, that goes hand-in-hand with the Connections training that I offer as part of my business. This last year has seen allot of one-on-one / one-on-many training where I make the whole Connections install a training seminar for the client where they learn not only how to install but how to document, what decisions they need to think of ahead of time and then how to think ahead to production / operations. I also do class-room hands-on training where I bring in a VM environment and the participants get hands-on and get to break it and repair it. When necessary I actually created “broken” snapshots that I have them fix. Hands-on is the only way to go really

For 2014 I am thinking slightly larger …. I am partnering with a good friend of mine to munch off his good reputation and experience … 😉 there will be some more detailed announcements on this later in the 1st quarter. for right now it is still  “Pssssst .. it’s a secret

Technology Trends

Over the last few years I have seen a big uptick in my IBM Connections business and a decline in Domino work. Not because I think Domino itself is declining but because the base knowledge in the market place out there is good and clients see less need in bringing in outside talent – upgrades and migrations yes – or integration work with other systems but not really for basic Domino operations.

Recently I also see a large uptick in Sametime inquiries – ST9 is making allot of clients thinking of upgrades and they want help. Also, they want ST to integrate with more – video, telephony, awareness in every other system they can get it to work in … ST9 looks good for me and I like the changes and (some of) the simplifications in the product – and I think that the licensing changes that IBM put into place will drive allot more adoption.

International Work

I also see an uptick in my “international” work. Whereas my focus used to be 99% North America I do get more inquiries for Europe and Asia … I speak several languages which helps but that is not the real reason, I just guess this internet thing really makes the world smaller and brings us closer in many different ways. Now, if I could just somehow get an app that does something about time zones and jet lag …..



I am curious to talk to my colleagues out there and see what the technology barometer is showing them – that is one of the reasons I always try to attend Connect (LotusPhere) – but for now all I can say is that 2014 looks good!

Open Mic Webcast: Troubleshooting Duplicate Mail Messages in IBM Notes – 24 July 2013

Looks like a good webcast again. I often get duplicate mail messages and it drives me nuts …. I will likely listne in to this one.




You are invited to join an Open Mic Webcast on the topic “Troubleshooting Duplicate Mail Messages in IBM Notes.” This event will be held Wednesday, 24 July 2013 at 11:00 AM EDT (15:00 UTC, or GMT -4), for 60 minutes. After a presentation, you will have the opportunity to ask questions directly of IBM Developers and Support Engineers. See more details below. (Note: To view this information online, go to

When Date: 24 July 2013
Time: 11:00 AM EDT (15:00 UTC, or GMT -4), for 60 minutes
Bookmark Webcast Technote
# 7038764
Title: Open Mic Webcast: Troubleshooting Duplicate Mail Messages in IBM Notes – 24 July 2013
Doc #: 7038764
URL: the call, the technote will include:

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A couple of weeks after the call, the technote will be updated to include:

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To be notified when the Webcast technote is updated, subscribe to IBM My Notifications and select “Webcasts” as a document type of interest.

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Social Connections V – StarWars all over again?

If you are reading this you are social and somehow are involved with the whole IBM software stack relationship social thingamajig or another …. So, unless you live under a rock you have heard of the – very successful – SOCIAL CONNECTIONS shindig that happens on a regular basis and is instigated (among several other, very hardworking individuals) Stuart McIntyre.

In spite of being the model of British reserve and gentleman-ship, Stuart is well know and renowned for his strength in the “the Social Stuff”, or as we like to say – the FORCE is strong in him . . .

Social Connections V is coming up this June and somehow I managed to weasel my way into it and am speaking this year. Thank God Stuart chose the neutral country of Switzerland to host it, that way my antics are unlikely to break up the European Union (it is not a member), set off a minor border conflict (nobody messes with the Swiss) or cause a rise in sea levels (no ocean, but they do have part of the Alps).

Here is a link that the very kindhearted and capable Femke Goedhart tweeted earlier today with a sneak peek of what is in store. Personally, I think most people will come of the Swiss chocolate, the alphorn blues band that will be playing in the lobby and lederhosen that Stuart is planning to wear in celebration of his newly discovered Swiss ancestor who is distantly related to Wilhelm Tell. It is a fascinating story that he is sure to recant to you if you just prod his modesty enough – he is quite shy about his fame as we all know. I also surmise that Tim Clark might have an interesting tidbit or two to share and with Gab “No Problem” Davis around there will be enough interesting content to cover for the fact that my session will be dealing with the finer points of Swiss Cheese Fondue . . .

So, if you think you are interested …. and have the time to watch all the amazed/shocked Swiss who will be gather around the hotel to stare at us in wonder – you should attend … even if it is only to hear hear Gab say “Not a Problem!” in that droll accent of her’s ….

PS: if you are wondering why I mentioned StarWars in the title – no reason other than the big Roman Numeral “V” in the title and that I turn green and shriveled like Yoda when I drink green beer on St. Paddy’s day . . . Switzerland will never be the same after this. I pity the Swiss, really . .

IBM Open Mic Webcast: What’s the Latest with Notes Traveler? – 24 April 2012

I just received this in my in-box – definitely looks like something everybody should put into their calendars:


You are invited to join an Open Mic Webcast on the topic, “What’s the Latest with Notes Traveler?” ” After a presentation, you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions directly of IBM developers and support engineers. You can post questions in advance of the call as a response to this entry in the Notes/Domino/Traveler forum.

The event will take place on Tuesday, April 24, 2012 at 11 a.m. EDT (15:00 UTC or GMT -4) for 60 minutes.

Bookmark Webcast Technote #7024152 Title:     What’s the Latest with Notes Traveler? – 24 April 2012
Doc #:  7024142

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Connections and Sametime Proxy Server 8.5.2 IFR1 fix OBEN-8SDLGS – RECALLED

I just got a mail from IBM support on the Sametime Proxy Server 8.5.2 IFR1 fix OBEN-8SDLGS that is mandatory for awareness between Connections 3.0.1 FP1 and Sametime.  It appears this HF was recalled (not sure what he exact problem is) which explains why I have not been able to get awareness to work with Connections – no mater what I do.

That there is no updated, specific documentation for Connections and ST awareness is not a good sign either but that is why I opened a PMR with IBM when I could just not get awareness to work correctly – and here I am a week later and still nothing to show for my efforts .

I will blog again once I hear back from IBM and a new ST HF is released.

Java: it’s your fault! Connections on AIX

Just a quick one during my lunch hour …. ran into an issue yesterday at my current client that shows once more that when you do not work with a specific OS for a while, you really loose your touch for the small details.

The Saga of WAS, AIX and the damn Java Cache

We installed iFixes yesterday and that all went well. However the syncing of the nodes (kicked off from the Dmgr console) took forever, and then one of the app clusters on one of the nodes would not restart (it eventually did after 4 hours).

To clean the system and get rid of any old temp files we:

  • Stopped all WebSphere servers:  /WAS_Profile/bin/ xxx -user xxx -password ****
  • Stopped the NodeAgent:  /WAS_Profile/bin/ -username xxxx -password ****
  • Cleaned all temp files /WAS_Profile/temp  and /wstemp (everything inside of both folders)
  • Ran  /WAS_Profile/bin/
  • Ran  /WAS_Profile/bin/

Note: you can also use the command “./ –stopservers -username xxxx -password ****” to shut down the node agent AND the servers at the same time. We wanted to see the individual servers come down as we had issues with one of them.

We then tried to restart the node agent ….. and it failed. We found this in the startserver.log for the node agent:

ADMU3011E: Server launched but failed initialization

Damn, nothing worked … re-cleaned, checked, cursed, cried ….. and then opened a Sev 1 ticket with IBM support online. (had a REALLY fast response – thanks guys!)

The Cavalry to the Rescue …

The Connections support guy had a look at the logs and brought in a WAS support specialist who had me repeat the clean-ups steps above AND clean this location as well (everything in this folder, but not delete the folder itself):


The IBM tech thinks we had a corrupted system level java cache that was causing the issue.  After that a ./ worked like a charm and the servers started fine as well.

Total Clean-up

Incidentally, we ended up shutting each AIX WAS server (including the Dmgr) down one by one so we do not have a service outage and ran the above maintenance once more. On the nodes we also ran a “./” with the node agent turned off – just to eliminate any possibility of the nodes maybe being out of synch (thanks for the idea Stuart).

We will also be going through our automated scripts to test adding some more items to them (email notifications when individual steps are done, add the “/temp/javasharedresources” to the list of folders to be cleaned,  etc.).

Lessons to be learned:

  • When you don’t work with an OS for a while you forget the important SMALL stuff (/tmp/javasharedresources) – I had run into this very issue a few years ago and totally forgot about it. I actually did not remember it until this morning, the day after.
  • When in doubt – call support RIGHT AWAY, if for no other reason than to validate your thought process is correct and you are not barking up the wrong tree. We did not wait very long to call, but sometimes even 5 minutes can mean the difference between failure and success.