Candle’s IntelliWatch Monitors Keeps Watchful Eye on Lotus Notes

In the two years since IBM announced native support for Lotus Domino on the AS/400, the platform has surged into second place behind Windows NT as the most popular Domino server. Riding on Domino’s coattails has been Lotus Notes, which is also increasing in numbers on the AS/400. The proliferation of the collaborative messaging client adds an AS/400 management burden that Candle Corp. (El Segundo, Calif.) hopes to help alleviate with its IntelliWatch Monitor for the AS/400, scheduled to ship in September.

IntelliWatch Monitor analyzes replication, mail management, log message back-ups and gateways.
Described as a Lotus Notes performance management tool, IntelliWatch Monitor analyzes replication, mail management, log message backups and gateways. Based on preset “triggers,” the software takes appropriate action to automatically correct a range of server problems.

“With the release of Domino and Notes R5 and performance improvement in OS/400 V4R4, we’ve been seeing growing numbers of Notes clients on the AS/400,” says Bill McKernan, Candle’s worldwide director of sales and marketing for IntelliWatch. “Prior to the release of R5, Notes engines tended to be more popular on NT, Solaris and AIX. Now, approximately one-third of all new Notes servers are AS/400-based, and our existing AS/400 customers are saying, ‘Where are the Notes management tools?’”

Although IBM’s Tivoli products can provide single-point management of widely deployed Notes clients, McKernan says IntelliWatch Monitor offers more detailed Notes analysis and problem-correction. It includes more than 200 preprogrammed triggers, which are basically “if-then” equations that look for and automatically respond to specific Notes activities. The software will automatically execute many error recovery actions normally taken by administrators, including server console commands (LOAD, FIXUP), automatic shutdown and reboot (after server crashes), automatic restart of Notes and/or operating system, and writing to the Notes/Domino log.

“The Notes server does a very good job of keeping track of problems and reporting on itself,” says McKernan. “But Notes administrators have to sift through thousands of activity log lines per day. Among all those, there may be only a couple of real gems, like database corruptions. Using its preset triggers, IntelliWatch Monitor will find those and issue the requisite Notes recovery message.”

Triggers detect when a preset application threshold is exceeded. For example, a message exception trigger isolates problem messages and removes them from message queues. Another trigger forecasts replication success by automatically prechecking the network’s communications, CPU and storage availability. Yet another checks replication integrity by auditing replicated databases to verify their accuracy to the source database. Users can configure the triggers to fit their network management needs.

IntelliWatch Monitor notifies Notes administrators when problems occur, and again when it corrects the problem, via email, SNMP trap, Windows NT Event log, alphanumeric pager or Candle’s ServerWatch console.

IBM officials welcome products that help users manage Domino and Notes on the AS/400, and the IntelliWatch Monitor in particular provides a very detailed look at Domino transactions.

“With the new AS/400 hardware and Dedicated Server for Domino, there are a heck of a lot more users on each AS/400 server,” says Kelly Schmotzer worldwide marketing manager for Domino on AS/400. “IntelliWatch lets Domino users not only view the server, but also to get deeply into the database activity. This is especially important because many AS/400 users are consolidating servers, so they have more than just Domino running. If you have DB2, JD Edwards, and Domino, the closer you can monitor what people are doing is to anyone’s advantage.”

“Notes is neither inexpensive nor easy to install,” adds McKernan. “You’re not just migrating from your previous email system to Notes, it’s a lot more than that. IBM is combating the notion that Notes is just for email. You might also use it for HR databases, telephone directories and intranet applications. You might have fifteen different Notes databases to manage. It’s a mission-critical infrastructure. We lower the cost of management of the Notes environment and change Notes administration from a reactive mode to proactive mode.”

IntelliWatch Monitor for AS/400 is priced at $2,700 per instance of Domino server. The software is a component of Candle’s IntelliWatch Pinnacle Suite, and the first part to ship for the AS/400. The suite also includes tools for network measurement, graphical reporting, and diagnosis of problems. Candle plans to announce availability of the entire IntelliWatch Pinnacle Suite on the AS/400 in the first quarter of 2001.

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