Monitoring Lotus Domino

An organisation I was talking to is interested in putting in MOM but wanted to know about monitoring Lotus Domino. I know that there is the XMP from NetIQ but as I am not sure if they will develop it for SCOM 2007 I looked around for alternatives and found an offering from eXc Software but using SNMP traps from the Domino server. So not ideal. 

I then asked myself whether it would be possible to create a basic custom MP. Unfortunately they way that Domino works is that it stores all its events in a Notes database which is proprietary. This means that it is easy for them to port Domino onto Linux, UNIX, AS/400 etc (it was originally designed to only run on OS/2 in the early days) but makes it harder for an external program to get that information. Although you have a choice of using a Notes database or a standard web log for the web server part of Domino. In version 7 there is a new feature called Domino Domain Monitoring (DDM) which consolidates all the events into a single database but it is still a Notes database. 

There is the Lotus Domino service and some performance counters that I found (on Domino 6.5) so you could use the Custom Management Pack Wizard to create an MP for those but no events. I looked around to see if there were any utilities that could dump the Notes database entries into a log file in real time but did not come up with anything. There are some monitoring utilities but they seem all to be stand alone and from what I gather even those have to get their information using the API provided by Lotus. I am not a programmer so I did not fancy going down that route. Most of the programs were a hybrid of administration tasks and well as some monitoring but most lack interfaces to then push that information into MOM. Although I did find one that would do SNMP traps from GSX. In fact when you look at their web page they are using Domino for their web site. 

So I would be interested to learn how organisations that use Domino monitor it (whether or not they use MOM) and how good they have found that program.  

Or I could always suggest they migrate to Exchange with SharePoint and LCS. Everyone else seems to have done so. J

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2 Comments

  1. Monitoring Notes/Domino environments has always been interesting, but things have really gotten easy in R6 and R7. Lotus has always had event reporting (Events4.nsf) and statistics reports (statrep.nsf), but DDM takes things to the next level by proactively letting you know what you are not monitoring and helping you solve issues you might run into. In most of the environments I have managed, I usually just setup notifications for the most severe errors and log everything else. Because Domino has mail built in, getting notification on any mail enabled device has always been a cinch. In fact, I used to have my agents send me notifications to my cell phone back in the late 90s before anyone had ever heard of a Blackberry. The admin help database has a nice little chapter on setting up monitoring and statistical reporting that is very easy to follow. Plus, the Administrator client has all kinds of little goodies to help you manage you domain, like a live server console (gasp), a server monitoring page that polls servers on a regular basis, stats, messaging and replication topologies, and much more.

    If you really need to access the events from an external application, get a copy of the NotesSQL driver and access it via ODBC. Or you can by Tivoli and really get a good idea of what your environment is doing.

    In reality, unless my server is on hardware that is having an issue, there really isn’t much monitoring that needs to be done. You can run a Log Analysis on a weekly basis, but most of the time you won’t find much unless you are looking at an application server. Also, if you setup your server configurations and policies correctly, you can check the Domino Fault Tracking db to keep an eye on any crashes that occur on any server or client.

    I think you’ll find that if you look closely at what Lotus offers out of the box as far as administration is concerned, you will understand why not too many other programs have been built to help administrators do their jobs.

    Sean—

  2. I found this post by chance while searching for a document on the web. If there’s a single server to administer, at it seems to be for Sean, the Notes built-in tools may suffice. However, for larger networks, they fall short and a quick search on the web would find many tools to complete this offer. IBM provides several tools such as Tivoli to monitor Notes, other products include Patrol, NWorks, DYS Analytics, DNA, Unicenter and many other ones. Building your own monitoring tool doesn’t make sense since it requires lots of experience to understand Notes’ specificities and years of development.
    I work for such a software editor, GSX (www.gsx.net), specialized on Domino administration software. Our product, GSX Monitor, allows to interface MOM and doesn’t require any specific skills.

    Hope this helps …

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