Match up the migration benefits

If you're like most Windows NT administrators I know, you're in the midst of planning your network's upgrade to Windows 2000. The part of the planning process that has most administrators working overtime is evaluating how current applications fit into a Win2K environment. You can use this information to decide whether and how you can upgrade (i.e., to determine your migration strategy). If Lotus Notes and Lotus Domino are part of your environment, you need to evaluate how these applications affect your migration strategy.

When making your plan, keep in mind one fact: Before you migrate to Win2K, you need to migrate to Notes and Domino 5.0.3. This release is the earliest version that supports Win2K Server, Win2K Advanced Server, and Win2K Professional. Lotus doesn't support earlier Notes and Domino releases under Win2K.

Lotus' Promise
Before you can plan your migration, you need to know what Lotus has planned. In the strategy paper "Lotus Notes and Domino Strategy for Windows 2000 Integration" (http://www.lotus.com/news/news.nsf/ 55afa4d833187fcb85256659005cfe4f/dea6827bb7adb0dc85256888004c2881?opendocument), Lotus describes its plan to support Win2K. Essentially, Lotus will support Win2K's features as long as the company can continue to support Notes' and Domino's features. Lotus won't give up its platform flexibility to provide Win2K functionality. Platform independence remains a Notes and Domino advantage in the collaboration and messaging arenas. However, Win2K and NT are vital platforms for Notes and Domino, so the integration between Win2K and Notes and Domino is equally as important to the Lotus strategy as platform independence is to the Lotus strategy.

Lotus divides its Win2K plan into two phases: providing immediate support to customers who want to upgrade their environments quickly and later providing close integration with Win2K to exploit Win2K and Active Directory (AD) features. The first phase coincides with the Notes and Domino 5.0.3 release, and the second phase will coincide with the next major Notes and Domino feature release. The goal for Notes and Domino 5.0.3 is to run reliably and efficiently on the Win2K server. The goal for the second phase is to attain the Microsoft "Powered by Windows 2000 Server" logo.

Supported Win2K and NT Features
In the "Lotus Notes and Domino 5.0.3 Release Notes," Lotus promises that you can continue to use Notes and Domino 5.0.3 under Win2K the same way you used earlier Notes and Domino versions under NT 4.0. (For more information about Domino on NT, see "Related Articles in Previous Issues.") Notes and Domino 5.0.3 supports the major features on Win2K that Notes and Domino support on NT 4.0.

Integration between NT User Manager and Domino users and groups. You can continue to use the integration between NT User Manager and Domino users and groups that the Notes User Manager Extensions provide. However, this release doesn't include support for the Win2K Microsoft Management Console (MMC) Active Directory Users and Groups snap-in. Therefore, you need to manage users and groups with User Manager rather than MMC.

Importing users and groups from NT 4.0 to Domino. You can use Domino Upgrade Services and Domino Administrator to import users and groups in bulk from NT 4.0 to Domino running under Win2K. Single sign-on (SSO) services haven't changed, so if your Notes users currently sign on once for both NT and Notes, they can do the same with Notes running under Win2K Pro.

Microsoft IIS integration support. Lotus provides the same level of IIS integration support in Win2K as in NT 4.0. Therefore, you can continue use IIS to serve up Domino databases.

Monitoring events and performance. You can continue to use NT Event Viewer and Performance Monitor to monitor Domino events and performance.

The release notes document functionality and features that Notes and Domino don't support under Win2K. For example, Notes and Domino 5.0.3 doesn't support the full integration of AD. This release supports AD integration only to the extent that Domino's directory assistance and other directory services can view AD as a remote Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP)-compliant directory source. In addition, companies that migrate to native-mode Win2K and AD won't receive some features such as a one-directory environment.

The release notes also mention known problems with Win2K compatibility. Running Domino's HTTP service on Win2K might require additional testing, and when you're running Domino's HTTP service, you can't run the IIS World Wide Web Publishing Service. Although this incompatibility is old news, in the Win2K environment, you need to ensure that you can run required OS features without this IIS service. During installation, Win2K enables the World Wide Web Publishing Service by default, so you need to configure Win2K to not install this service, or you must stop this service before you run Domino's HTTP stack.

To determine whether you can safely migrate Domino servers running HTTP to Win2K, you need to perform additional testing of the HTTP service in your upgraded environment. If you determine that you can't perform an immediate upgrade of the Domino servers because of HTTP problems, you need to know whether those servers are on domain controllers or member servers. If your Domino servers are on domain controllers, you might need to add extra steps in your migration strategy.

Domino 5.0.3's Win2K support lets you use the MMC to administer only the OS. NT 4.0 let you use native administration features, such as User Manager for Domains, to manage Notes and Domino. Although you can continue to use the NT-based administration features in Win2K, you can't use the MMC replacements in the same way. Therefore, you can't use the MMC snap-ins to administer Notes and Domino.

The missing features aren't necessary for a successful implementation. The level of Win2K integration Notes and Domino 5.0.3 provides is sufficient for most companies to perform their migration. These companies should feel as if the migration is a simple upgrade.

Future Support for Win2K
In future Notes and Domino releases, you can look forward to a slew of integrated Win2K features. Lotus plans for bidirectional Win2K certification: Win2K will become a certified Notes and Domino platform, and Notes and Domino will obtain the Win2K logo.

Win2K-certified Notes and Domino releases will provide AD integration. Although Lotus hasn't released the details of this integration, the company plans to go beyond LDAP referrals to closer synchronization. Lotus is planning a snap-in for the MMC that will provide Domino-specific administration. Lotus also wants to offer Windows Installer Service (WIS) integration. Domino will be more than a generic application for Microsoft Cluster Services (MSCS); Domino will be MSCS aware. Lotus will also add support for Windows NT Load Balancing Service (WLBS).

Related Articles in Previous Issues
You can obtain the following articles from Windows 2000 Magazine's Web site at http://www.win2000mag.com/.

CHAD M. AMBERG
"Installing Lotus Domino Server on Windows NT," September 1998, InstantDoc ID 3763
DAVID CHERNICOFF
"Domino vs. Exchange Server," February 1999, InstantDoc ID 4776
TOM GREER
"Lotus Domino Delivers NT Solution," August 1998, InstantDoc ID 3676
GREG NEILSON
"Lotus Domino 5.0," February 1999, InstantDoc ID 4775
Can You Upgrade Now?
The bottom line is that many administrators can and should upgrade their Notes and Domino environments now. Many Win2K benefits affect Notes and Domino positively. You can test Notes and Domino 5.0.3 in most environments, then perform a straight upgrade. You might not perform as much Domino administration with Win2K as you hoped, and AD might not integrate as tightly as you'd like. But, you'll have the same successful environment you have now. However, if you're running HTTP, you need to consider additional testing or a migration strategy that includes restructuring.

I'm looking forward to tighter AD integration and the MMC snap-in in the next Notes and Domino release. Although Notes and Domino 5.0.3 provides basic integration, only when I can work with my Domino environment from within the MMC and have one directory will my environment feel fully integrated.