Steve Pitcher 

Ramblings, musings and technical tips about Lotus Domino and IBM i on Power Systems 


I had to load a new Domino server this afternoon for a new product we’ve purchased.  Once I hit the Enter key to set the server installer program into action I got up, walked twenty feet and refilled my cup with black coffee.  I had a quick look out the window and walked back to my laptop with the server ready to rock n’ roll.

That was pretty fast…so I did another installation test and timed it at 76 seconds.

I traded tweets with Keith Brooks who interestingly did a upgrade time trial on Windows a few years ago.  Three minutes is pretty darn good for an upgrade, especially for a couple of years ago.

I decided to record a test installation and a test upgrade tonight on my Power Systems hardware and IBM i operating environment.  To be fair, I knew I could do better than my own 76 second test because it was in the middle of the business day with a few hundred users on the system hitting our ERP to Domino to Sametime and everything in between.

So tonight I installed an 8.5.1 server with Fix Pack 5.  First, how is that possible?  On this particular IBM i partition I have versions 8.5.0, 8.5.1, 8.5.2, 8.5.3 and 9 installed with a fix pack assigned to most of them.  The 8.5.1 licensed program has been “augmented” with FP5 which means any new or upgraded-to 8.5.1 server is by default at 8.5.1 FP5.  Any new or upgraded-to 8.5.2 server is at 8.5.2 FP2, etc.  This is just how Domino on IBM i works.  A Fix Pack patches all existing or future Domino servers for it’s corresponding release.

This installation took 57 seconds.  Not half bad.


The upgrade from 8.5.1 FP5 to 8.5.3 took 1 minute and 50 seconds:
20 seconds to shut the server down.
70 seconds to update it to 8.5.3.
20 seconds to start the server back up, upgrade the NAB and load all tasks.  Note that a server reboot (IPL) is never required for this type of activity.


I would really like to see someone do this with some serious iron.  Not that mine is anything to laugh at, but I’d want to see how fast you can do this on a higher end Power Systems server like a 770 or 795.  I’m running IBM i 7.1 TR5 on a lower end 6-way IBM Power Systems 8202-E4B (Power 720 Express) with 96 GB RAM.  The auxilliary storage pool Domino runs in has 2.5 TB disk on 20 drives.  How fast can a Domino install or upgrade really get?  If you can shave more seconds off then I’d love to hear about it.

OK, this post is far from technical but I wanted to share it because I’m a big food guy. gh

I do a lot of the cooking in our house.  In the last few months I’ve been trying my hand at baking sweets, cookies, breads, etc.  I may even start a different blog for that type of content.

I’ve made some decent chocolate chip cookies in the last little while but they turned out flat like a normal homemade cookie.  I wanted to get more “fluff” so I began playing around with cream cheese as a partial butter substitute.  They ended up really good. Almost like little fluffy chocolate chip cookie cakes but still retaining the “chewy” texture.


2 & 1/2 cups white flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 & 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
a dash of salt to taste
8 ounces (around 250g) cream cheese
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter

Soften the butter and cream cheese.  Mix them together…it will start to look like cottage cheese at this point.  Add the sugar, brown sugar and vanilla and mix into a paste.  Add the eggs and mix.

Whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder.  Then add it slowly to the wet ingredient bowl stirring gradually.  The key is not to mix it too much.  Stir in the chocolate chips.

I scoop the cookies using a 1/4 cup measuring spoon.  I probably fit 11 or 12 onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 15 minutes on 350 degrees.  Note that these won’t brown up as normal cookies will so they’ll look undone.  Take them out of the oven and cool on the pan for 1 minute.  Then transfer to a wire baking rack.

You can adjust the amount of cream cheese to taste.  If it’s too sharp tasting, then use 4 ounces instead of 8, and add 1 cup of butter instead of 1/2.

At IBM Connect, Tim Rowe, Roxanne Reynolds-Lair and I will review how business value can be achieved with the state-of-the-art collaboration solutions running on Power Systems while keeping a simplified, agile and efficient IT environment.

For me, just maybe.  I’m going to at least give this a solid look.

We have a loose migration plan for all of our x64-based Microsoft Windows servers to IBM Power Systems.  All except our Active Directory servers.  We use those for Group Policy, Domain authentication, Domino web authentication, DNS and a few other familiar functions.

As per ZDNet, the release of Samba 4 appears to be a viable alternative to Active Directory.  More to come once I dig a bit more information about it.  I wonder if I can run it on IBM i?   :)

Here’s a piece I wrote for MC Press Online.  Check it out.

In the Wheelhouse: Selling the Metal

Let’s dissect two studies that put IBM i at the top of the list for lowest total cost of ownership, total cost of acquisition, and total amounts of awesome! You want justification? You got it.


International Technology Group (ITG) recently published two studies that talk about total cost of ownership, total cost of acquisition, risk exposure, cost of downtime, and security/malware considerations for the IBM i. The contents, in general, are things we know already: IBM i on Power Systems is the best platform to run our businesses on because of the cost reductions, consolidation, integration, security, simplicity, and the operating environment’s virus resistance. Although some of this is old news, there are some great facts in here, so we need to dissect it a little bit. Why? Have you ever had to justify IBM i to a decision-maker? Wouldn’t you love to have some key published information at your disposal? Absolutely. Those platform features I mentioned are a tall order to fill on most systems and may even sound like a bunch of hot air to those outside the IBM i community. Think about it. If you were a Windows administrator and lived only in the Windows world, what would you think if I told you that I could sell you a widely deployed operating system that had no known viruses? You probably wouldn’t believe me.

Read the full article here.

Yes!  Now the real work begins!  All sessions are listed here.

Session Business Agility and Efficiency with Consolidation
Program Lotusphere – For IT Practitioners
Track Track 08: Customer Case Studies (from an IT perspective)
Activity Type Lecture
Speaker(s) Tim Rowe, IBM; Steve Pitcher, Scotsburn Dairy Group; Roxanne Reynolds-Lair, Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising
Abstract In today’s flat world, successful businesses have their staff, customers and business partners connected. Critical collaboration technologies include: email, instant messaging, internet meetings, mobile access and social networking. This enables better and smarter decisions to be made quickly. Collaboration can mean IT environments are getting more complex forcing companies to spend time managing their environments and not their businesses. Steve Pitcher of Scotsburn Dairy and Roxanne Reynolds-Lair CIO of Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising will review how business value can be achieved with the state-of-the-art Collaboration Solutions running on Power Systems while keeping a simplified, agile and efficient IT environment.

Today IBM announced their 2013 IBM Champions for Collaboration Solutions.

I’m humbled to be included in this group for a second year.  Thanks for giving me the opportunity.