Clearing the Fog of Notes Application Management

By Nigel Cheshire

A few years ago, I moved back to the U.K. after almost 20 years away. As you may know, Britain is not well known for its warm sunny climate. In fact, when many people think of London, the next word that pops into their minds is "fog". That's probably a result of too many old movies about Jack the Ripper lurking around the foggy backstreets of Victorian Whitechapel.

So fog is a fact of life here in Britain, and as with any regular weather feature, you learn to live with it. Back in the 1940s, during world war 2 and before the invention of GPS and instrument landing systems, this was a significant problem. So much so that the Royal Air Force invented a system to disperse fog on runways (named, in very British style, "FIDO", for Fog Investigation and Dispersal Operation). The system involved a perforated pipe running down each side of the runway. The pipe would have fuel pumped into it, which would then be ignited, like a pair of oversized gas grill burners. The heat from the flames would disperse the fog immediately above the runway allowing pilots to land safely (assuming they avoided the massive flames on either side).

So what does any of that have to do with Notes application management? Well, sometimes it can feel a bit, err, foggy when it comes to understanding your Notes application landscape and finding your way around it. How many Notes apps do you have? Who is using them? Are any of them totally unused? Who wrote the apps in the first place? How hard would it be to replace them? What would the business impact be if they broke, or just went away altogether?

These are questions that many Notes professionals would rather not ask themselves. But, increasingly, these questions have to be asked - and answered - by someone. 

  • You know you have too many Domino servers, and you need to consolidate. Are there applications you can get rid of? What about the usage patterns of the others?
  • You have N years to get off of Notes and migrate to <XYZ> platform. Which apps need to be migrated? Which can be deleted? What about archiving the data?
  • You're sticking with Domino as an application server, but you want to get rid of the Notes client. What modernization strategy should you adopt? Would it be easier to rewrite apps in a different language or use XPages? Would it be best to stick with Notes for some applications?

If you're grappling with any of these questions, you need to perform a thorough application audit.  Of course, I'm biased, but in my opinion the best place to start is with our own equivalent of FIDO: Teamstudio Adviser.

It'll scan your servers to identify all your apps and then perform usage and complexity analyses, providing a clear, comprehensive picture of the application landscape. If you need to delve into more detail on the application design, Teamstudio Analyzer can help with that. And of course, if you decide that there is a group of databases that you want to archive, then take a look at Teamstudio Export.

Whatever your aims and objectives, there's no need to feel foggy about your Notes application landscape. To discuss any of this in more detail, click the button below and we'd be happy to chat.