Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Moving a Domino Server onto New Hardware - Part 2

Following on from Part 1, we should now have a working Server running fully patched versions of Windows and Backup. If we've been really sensible, we've even tested a backup and a restore.

The next step is to obtain copies of databases on your live server.

Getting Databases off your Live Server
In a perfect world, this would be easy. Simply shut down your Domino server and go in with a USB hard drive.

Unfortunately, in a world where your server is expected to be up 24x7 or at least conform to one of those 98%** SLA's it's not possible to shut the server down for very long - even when doing a migratory backup.

** One interesting point that most people forget; A 98% uptime figure in a 30 day month allows for up to 14 hours of downtime. Of course, you'd never see management admit or accept that amount of downtime but it is technically allowable under contract.

So, how to get the data off your domino server for a speedy migration....

Attach a large USB drive - not a stick unless you enjoy waiting and don't have too much data to copy. Then go right through your domino folder structure (the Data folder and all folders below) noting the following;

Archived Databases
Databases which are read-only or contain info that doesn't change. If you've only got a few days to go before you switch servers, you could consider asking your people to not update the company web site (if it's hosted in Domino). The same goes for other non-essential systems.

You should copy all archived databases to your usb drive (operating system copy - not notes copy).

If you've got the mail files of terminated employees on your server, you can treat them as archived files and either copy them over without worrying about downtime - or back them up and remove them altogether.

Full Text Index Directories
These take a lot of room but shouldn't be transferred to the new server. It's much better to rebuild them from scratch.

Other Directories
Make a note of all other directories and build them into your usb hard drive version of the notes\data directory. This will save time later.

Large Internal Notes Databases
Notes generates a lot of databases which aren't all that important, except for statistical purposes. These include logs (log.nsf and domlog.nsf) and the statistics reporting database (statrep.nsf). You shouldn't bother copying these across, but should let them get recreated automatically - so cross these off your list.

You can probably do the same for mail.box

Log Files
You may find a bunch of folders on the server containing hundreds (maybe thousands) of little log files. These add up, but again, they're not of any immediate value on the new server, so leave them alone.

Non-NSF Files
Your server will also possibly contain a lot of html files, id files, certifiers, ssl files etc. Most (all?) of these can be safely copied while the server is running.

Remaining NSF Files
All the other NSF files are things that change on a regular basis. You need to make a list of these and copy them when the domino service has been shut down - just prior to migration.

Copying the Files
So... The procedure is simple; go onto your domino server and
  1. copy whatever files you can
  2. ignore any files you don't need
  3. list any files that you can't get yet.

Then, once you have your copy;

  1. Install Domino on your new server but don't start it.
  2. Copy all of the files from your portable hard drive to the \data directory of domino (don't forget notes.ini)
  3. Reinstall Domino over the top of your copy - just in case you've gotten any version changes.


Shutdown the Old Domino server service and disconnect the box from the network.

Leave your old server running windows and copy the remaining files (on your list) to your portable hard drive - or directly to the other server if you've established a gigabit peer to peer network.

When the file copy completes, change the IP address on your new server to match the old one and change the ip name to match too (not as important - but nice to have).

Connect your new server to the network and restart.

Domino should be up and running in no time at all.

Try doing that using exchange ....


Charles Robinson said...

I did the copy method of moving a Domino server once. It was slow and involved a lot of sitting around doing nothing while gigs of data copied, and the server was down while it happened.

My new favorite method is to bring the new server up with a dummy server.id, cluster it with the existing server, then use AdminP to create replicas and just let it run. Start it a few days before the final migration and you'll be sure to have everything replicated over. Non-NSF files will need to be copied through the OS, but that can be done at any time or even scripted and done as a scheduled task.

When you're ready to cut over to the new hardware you can take the new server offline, copy the old notes.ini, reset the IP address on the NIC, change the host name if needed, and you're done.

I have moved Domino servers from old hardware to new (and to different OS's) in as little as 15 minutes using this method, and if you couple it with a Domino cluster you can do it with no downtime. I did this live at ILUG in under an hour, including registering servers and creating the cluster. :-)

Moving Exchange to new hardware can be done using a similar process, actually. The big deal with Exchange is how heavily it hooks into Active Directory while Domino includes its own.

Gavin Bollard said...

That's a great idea. Clustering first... I'll try it next time.

As far as sitting down waiting for files to copy is concerned, one of the main points of this post was to help identify files you can copy "any-time" and files you don't need to copy. If you copy what you can, you can avoid having to copy a large amount on the day of the change.