Cleaning Out the Basement: Declutter Your Domino Servers with Teamstudio Adviser

By Nigel Cheshire

Decluttering is big business these days. Just look at Marie Kondo. In 2011, Kondo published her first book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up“, which quickly became a New York Times bestseller, and has now been published in more than 30 countries. The book lays out Kondo’s “KonMari” method of decluttering, which includes the intriguing concept of identifying any items in your life that don’t “spark joy”, and then thanking those items for their valued service before throwing them in the trash. This approach has proven so popular that Kondo’s gone on to create a TV series about it.

The point is, that Marie Kondo, at the age of just 34, has built a successful media business around the concept of tidying up. In this age of consumerism in which we live, we inevitably seem to end up buying more stuff than we need, stuff which accumulates in our attics and basements until we bite the bullet and get rid of it. Whether you subscribe to the KonMari method or not, eventually everything needs to be decluttered. Looking around an untidy garage or garden shed can be quite depressing, and just getting rid of all the stuff we don’t need is often a positively cathartic experience.

Many of us look at the Notes and Domino applications stacked up on our Domino servers and feel kind of the same way. Of course, it isn’t excessive consumerism that has created all those apps. In many cases, it has come about by virtue of the fact that, for many years after its first release, Lotus Notes was a product that turned power users into application developers. It was easy for users to create their own simple forms-based applications in the early days, which over time turned out to be as much as curse as it was a blessing.

Historically though, in many organizations, hundreds, thousands, even tens of thousands of applications have sprung up, many of them uncontrolled by, or even unknown to the central IT department. In many cases, Lotus Notes has been around an organization and users have been creating applications for as many as 20 years.

The biggest challenge, when it comes to decluttering a Domino server, is of course determining which applications are candidates for archiving. When it comes to decluttering my own attic, I subscribe to the notion that, if anything hasn’t been touched for 12 months or more, it’s a candidate for the recycle bin. And so with Notes and Domino databases: the best place to start is to map out database usage. If an application hasn’t been touched by a human user in 12 months, it’s probably worth consideration for archival.

While the Domino server itself does store some rudimentary log data about usage, (a) it’s pretty hard to decipher, and (b) data is only stored for 14 days, so it’s hard to aggregate enough data to learn anything useful. Which is where Teamstudio Adviser comes in handy.

Adviser collects usage data from the server log and provides a friendly, web-based UI for creating reports from that data. Of course, because the server logs don’t store data for more than a couple of weeks, you need to run Adviser over some period of time to be able to build up a picture of usage patterns. So the sooner you start collecting data, the better.

Once you have usage data collected, you can use the comprehensive reporting features of Adviser to determine which databases might be candidates for archival. Critically, Adviser distinguishes between usage by humans versus usage by agents and servers. And in the human usage category, it’ll differentiate between web and Notes client access.

This makes it a breeze to find databases that have not been used at all for some period of time. You can map usage trends, find how many people are using each database and even drill down to see exactly who those people are. To get into the nitty gritty of what Adviser can show you, feel free to browse the online documentation.

Of course, decluttering doesn’t just apply to databases. You can also flip the usage data around to see which user IDs are not being used. Maybe someone left the company or moved to a different group but their Notes ID still exists (and you’re still paying for a license). Getting a handle on both database and user ID usage can pay dividends in many different ways.

Once it comes to archiving the databases, we have a great solution for that too! But that’s a different story.

To learn more about Teamstudio Adviser, click below. Meanwhile, I’m hoping that someone will invent a usage tracker for all the junk in my basement.