ICS/Lotus (mostly), Linux, Travel, Skiing, Mixology, and Random Musing of Interest

IBM Verse On-premises Architecture and Insight

Bill Malchisky  August 3 2016 12:30:00 AM
Yesterday, IBM provided a preview call for select customers covering IBM Verse On-premises (VOP). Those in attendance were amongst the first to receive updated particulars on this product. I explicitly asked and received permission to provide this information. Here is a subset of relevant items discussed/presented.

Disclaimer: As certain features are still being developed, anything and everything below is subject to change. The data below reflects what was presented to me and is believed to be accurate at the time of this writing.

Image:IBM Verse On-premises Architecture and Insight

Data Points
* IBM professed that the installation would be easy (second body paragraph in that post); from the diagram above and responses provided on the call, they are keeping to that promise
* The Indexing Service will be one of two options: Domino or another DB
   ** I asked if that would be No-SQL or an RDBMS? IBM offered that it would be either Domino or a simple No-SQL indexing solution; for me, this is very encouraging
* SOLR is used with Verse Cloud for high-speed searching, but is neither required for Verse on-premises nor should it be perceived as such; again, it will be a simple indexing service or Domino to run it
* IBM Techline will be Verse On-premises trained and knowledgeable very soon; so those with Techline access will be able to receive information on server sizing, for example
* Connections is optional. What it provides is the ability to receive the faces features at the top of the mail client, the Me to We capability, and sharing messages in a social space, for example
   ** If you incorporate Connections, you must use Connections 5.5; older versions omit enhanced key features that Verse On-Premises requires
* Fix Packs
   ** The latest Domino fixpack will be required; which will be either FP7 or FP8
   ** Domino FP7 has a target release date of August 27th, +- a couple of days
   ** Domino FP8 is well underway with planning, and may or may not be available in-time for the Nov/Dec VOP release

* IBM is looking to provide entitlements and keep it affordable
* Will be available in Passport Advantage as a option for all customers that are current on their licenses and support costs

I will blog more as I learn more and am permitted to do so. Once I enter the VOP beta program later this week, I may not be able to write as much as I would like (if at all). Let me know your thoughts.

IBM Verse On-Premises Coming Soon

Bill Malchisky  July 18 2016 07:00:00 PM
Today, IBM's VP - Offering Management and Design for IBM Collaboration Solutions (ICS), Ed Brill announced that select customer sites are using the Verse on-premises beta. This shows that since announced at Social Connections 10 in Toronto (Jun '16), they made adjustments to the 2016 calendar release schedule to better focus on priorities with a defined plan. The previous few years, it became painfully clear to business partners and some customers that the development team lost focus, impacting quality. Since the tenure of Inhi Cho Suh as the ICS General Manager in January '16, things are definitely different for the better. Despite Notes Domino 9.0.2 being delayed (again) til 2017, the on-premises version of Verse is a welcome piece in the ICS puzzle of innovation. In my opinion, this shows that despite some frustration with previous delays, IBM is keeping its word now and is focused on delivering quality products to its customers. The targeted release for Verse on-premises is December 2016; so with a customer beta now, IBM would appear to be on-track to make that milestone.

Additionally, I also learned at the Social Connections 10 Ask IBM session that the installation for IBM Verse on-premise is easy. "Very easy," as one product manager offered, and told me that he tested it himself. That is a nice change from what we learned a year ago in Boston for Social Connections 8, when IBM stated the installation would deviate from the normal Domino upgrade administrators preferred, and move into the IBM Connections/Sametime installation camp--in-terms of complexity. Great to see that IBM also evolved this part of the release model. To be fair, I do not have particulars on whether the test was on a plain vanilla environment or a more complex infrastructure when upgrading, but the installation message is more zealous than a year ago: a good sign.

All in all, I would say good news on two counts. Good luck to IBM on making the year-end release with easy installation and upgrade paths.

Image:IBM Version On-Premises Coming Soon

Integer Overflow Vulnerability Identified in IBM Notes via Pixman Library

Bill Malchisky  July 11 2016
Although this vulnerability will not affect everyone, in talking with my customer's AVL, I decided to post it. The CVE description indicates, "Integer overflow in the create_bits function in pixman-bits-image.c in Pixman before 0.32.6 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (application crash) or possibly execute arbitrary code via large height and stride values." The risk is low but real. Fortunately, the fix is easy.

The risk profile for CVE-2014-9766 is available here, IBM's Security Bulletin for CVE-2014-9766 is available here, and the IBM X-Force Exchange vulnerability report indicates this has a CVSS 3.0 base score of 7.3. Read the X-Force Exhance report here.

Within IBM Notes the aspect in-scope is IBM Expeditor version 6.2.3 and 9.0.1 (Notes client specific). This affects the following versions of IBM Notes:
IBM Notes 9.0.1 FP5 and earlier release
IBM Notes 9.0 IF4 and earlier release
IBM Notes 8.5.3 FP6 IF10 and earlier release
IBM Notes 8.5.2 FP4 IF3 and earlier release
IBM Notes 8.5.1 FP5 IF3 and earlier release
IBM Notes 8.5 release

To address, simply
Notes 9.0.1 -> Get the latest Fix Pack
Notes 8.5.3 -> Get FP6 IF11 or above

More good news, IBM is willing to create a custom fix for customers with different version of Notes. So, if you have a business justification to stay with 9.0.x for example, contact IBM support or your AVL about a resolution.

Good luck. Stay safe.

ICON US Slides

Bill Malchisky  May 23 2016 01:00:00 AM
Happy to provide my slides for the excellent event called ICON US, run a couple weeks ago. A very challenging travel schedule since then with the Park Avenue viaduct fire halting commuter rail service north of Manhattan and another track fire three days later eight blocks south made for a tough few days (fortunately no one was injured during the initial inferno). So, without further ado, my updated slides for The BASHing Admins are available. Thanks to the organizers for running a great event and for all the attendees. Fun experience.

ICS Summer School - Sign-up Now

Bill Malchisky  May 4 2016 11:00:00 PM
Don't let your kids, your sibling(s)'s kids, or even your neighbor's children be the only one's getting smarter this summer. The IBM/Lotus Community has some great opportunities to help you learn with your friendly community members and some of the most knowledgeable presenters anywhere. (European offerings will be posted soon.)

First, if you are in the college aged mind-set with the shorter school year, then early May offers a new event. ICON US makes its debut as a virtual user group: online only. Perfect for those who are unable to get any more travel time this year.
Registration: http://iamiconus.org/iamiconus/iconus2016.nsf/registration.xsp
Main Site: http://iamiconus.org/iamiconus/iconus2016.nsf
Dates: 9-10 May 2016

Second, in June, the largest user group event focused on IBM social software and Connections returns to North America in its tenth iteration. Social Connections 10 comes to Toronto to learn from some of the best community speakers in the world present...
Registration: http://socialconnections.info/#tile_registration
Main Site: http://socialconnections.info/
Dates: 6-7 June 2016

Finally, in August, one of most consistently awesome local user groups makes its way to Austin. Join MWLUG with its focus on all ICS software and a design theme this year.
Registration: http://mwlug.com/mwlug/mwlug.nsf/register.xsp
Main Site: http://mwlug.com/mwlug/mwlug.nsf/
Dates: 17-19 August 2016

So with these three great summer events taking place, be certain to take the time and show the young people you know that smart adults stay smart through continuous learning.

Image:ICS Summer School - Sign-up Now
Image:ICS Summer School - Sign-up Now

Image:ICS Summer School - Sign-up Now

Interested in Speaking at Social Connections 10 in Toronto? Last Call for Abstracts is Quickly Approaching

Bill Malchisky  April 8 2016 04:56:25 AM

If you are interested in speaking at the tenth iteration of this excellent conference, then please polish your prose and submit your abstracts. The submission deadline is Thursday, 14 April, Noon, Central European Summer Time (CEST)/6:00 AM EDT/5:00 AM CDT.  The conference team picked a great location in the city of Toronto, Canada. So if you are new to speaking or a veteran with a following, please consider submitting a session. If you have something to say that you feel can benefit the IBM community, here is a great way to help build your speaking credentials. There are no guarantees on acceptance of course, so ensure the topic is of value to the event's audience. The submission page lists all six tracks with substantiating details for each, plus additional insights. Good luck!

Submit an abstract

6th and 7th of June 2016
Toronto, Canada
Main site
Questions? Contact the conference team.
To convert to your local timezone.

Train Tips for European Traveling -- Chapter IV

Bill Malchisky  March 30 2016 04:54:11 PM
This month, I took another trip to Europe, with a smaller focus and duration. I took the Dutch commuter rail round trip from Amsterdam to Eindhoven. What I learned about ticketing is that the Dutch rail system has not improved much over the past several years, despite reports that it has. Yes, they do accept some non-Dutch bank cards for purchasing rail tickets--which is welcomed by many travelers--there are limitations which can cause you to miss your train.

This Year's Story
What really surprised me that is today, in 2016, the antiquity of the Dutch rail system ticketing. As a couple people I know said they used their credit cards with ease, I resisted my usual approach of pre-purchasing the ticket whenever possible. Instead, I arrived early at the Eindhoven rail station (5:15a) for my 5:31a train intent on buying a ticket via the machine. This should be about a three minute process. For me, the machine would not accept my bank card, nor would it accept paper money, only coins and I could not get EUR32 in coins in the train station.

There were no ticketing agents available to assist at that hour, but I did find two rail employees who spoke English. After several tests, we all concluded my best option was to take a cab back to the hotel (another EUR10), get my fare in coins, and return. That would have me missing two trains and put getting through increased security at risk for the baggage check cut-off, which would then introduce a change fee and a fare increase. Upon running the numbers, I told the taxi to redirect to AMS (Amsterdam Schiphol Airport) and we ultimately negotiated a fare of EUR225 (down from EUR300) - much cheaper than the alternative airline fee, plus missing a customer meeting.

Lesson Learned
So, if traveling in The Netherlands by rail, you can not guarantee that your American bank card or non-bank charge card will be accepted at either the rail ticket purchasing machines or the ATM for that matter--my ATM card was declined, despite working fine in two other countries recently. Ensure that you research the fare before leaving the hotel and convert your paper money into coins (as heavy as it may be) to ensure that you get your ticket with ease, and avoid the hassle of missing the target train or an expensive taxi ride to the airport.

Additional Reading
Rail Europe --- tickets, schedules, deals, and maps for all European train networks --- offers two booking sites:
US Site
World Site

My Engage 2016 Slides

Bill Malchisky  March 28 2016 07:30:00 PM
After a great week in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, I worked with my co-presenter on last minute edits and ensure that we were happy with the final product.

Title: Adm01. Back from the Dead: When Bad Code Kills a Good Server

It's Friday and a new customer calls. Their mission critical app is taking :05 to open documents and the users are quite concerned. Where do you start when handed a 20 year old application you have never seen, on a server you barely know? Join two IBM Champions as they dissect a complex Domino performance problem from both the administration and development side to provide a complete customer solution. The session includes best practices around problem solving techniques and a checklist you can use internally to solve quickly problems you encounter.

Time slot (as per agenda): Thursday, March 24 | 08:00 - 08:45 | C. Jupiter

Get the file here.

IBM Connect 2016: IBM Champions Program Praised by Media Analyst

Bill Malchisky  February 1 2016 06:05:00 PM
Today, Monday, 1 Feb, during the OGS (Opening General Session) at IC16 (IBM Connect 2016), the attendees arriving early got to see on the big board, a rolling display of sponsor logos and quotes from Champions (e.g. one, two, and three) on the main hall-wide display. Rob Enderle being in attendance, liked what he saw and wrote a nice piece on how he respects the program and what IBM did by recognizing technical leaders in their community. The part creating intrigue is that he offered the same suggestion while working at Microsoft, but describes the poor execution of said good idea. He gives praise to IBM for a great job with their own idea. It's a quick article, but one that displays the good job IBM is doing here. Enjoy!

"The Magic Behind IBM Champions", by Rob Enderle, IT Business Edge, 1 Feb 2016

Image:IBM Connect 2016: IBM Champions Program Praised by Media Analyst

Linuxfest VII Gets a Slot at IBM Connect 2016

Bill Malchisky  January 28 2016 02:00:00 AM
Linuxfest VII - The Penguin Awakens

After many months of planning and working with the events team, we are pleased to announce that Linuxfest is back for our seventh year. This is the only session at IBM Connect dedicated exclusively to Linux and IBM software. As we moved back to the last day lunch break, be certain to bring your box lunch and join us for an informative session. New this year, we are in IBM Event Connect and Session Preview Tools.

Date: Wednesday, 3 February
Time: 11:45 AM - 12:45 PM
Place: Orange G
Session ID: TI-1118
Audience: Admins, Developers, Architects
Speakers: Bill Malchisky, Wes Morgan, and Daniel Nashed

Ask questions and get informative answers from three passionate leading IBM on Linux SMEs.

New this year -- find us online!
Registered attendees: Event Connect Link
Public curiosity: Session Preview link


Whether you've already deployed IBM technology on Linux or are "just interested," join us for the seventh installment of what has become an IBM Connect tradition. In this open discussion of the latest on Linux from IBM, you'll hear Business Partners, IBMers and IBM Champions talk about the most recent developments around our favorite operating system, share tips and tricks, and open the floor to your questions, successes and commentary as well. This is not a roadmap/strategy session; instead, it's a chance for you to learn what's out there for Linux, pick up technical know-how to ease your deployments, and connect with other IBM customers using Linux.

Image:Linuxfest VII Gets a Slot at IBM Connect 2016

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