Category Archives: IBM Software

The (not so) wonderful world of Lotus Notes in SBC & VDI, Guide Updated.

Just a quick note to say I’ve updated the original Guide to Lotus Notes in SBC / VDI environments with another 2 years of begrudging, pain and bug fixes.

A link to the updated article is here. Best of luck!

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Date and time shift when using Lotus Notes in Server 2008 R2 / XenApp

This was an extremely strange / rare issue, so I figured I would share it.

In this customers environment, they are using XenApp 6.5 on Server 2008 R2 for published desktops, this environment is a hosted desktop environment for a number of countries in Europe.

Infrequently an issue could be observed where the users timezones would shift out by one or two hours within the Lotus Notes application. This would case SameTime conversations and Calendar times to display out by the aforementioned value above.

When this issue occurred, it happened to all users on the server. A restart of the server did not fix the issue.

Interestingly, a “TZUtil /g” was reporting the client was in the correct time zone:

If you ran “TZUtil /s GMT Standard Time“, then closed and opened Lotus Notes… The problem was resolved for that user, in that session until they logged off.

It’s worth pointing out, that this issue was only seen in Lotus Notes, not in any other application, java or otherwise.

When comparing the TimeZone settings from a problematic server to a working server, I found the following difference:

These keys are stored under:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlTimeZoneInformation

And the working server looked as follows:

 

Now that is weird! So we copied the correct keys from the server to server and the issue was resolved. On all servers once users closed and opened Lotus Notes again.

But what caused this?

With a work around in place, I began to dig deeper into what caused the timezone to change on the servers despite the fact that no users have the ability to do so.

Analysing the logins to the servers, I spotted an administrator account logging into each of the servers as the day went by. This user didn’t log into the correctly working servers so this was the first clue.

Now if you’ve used Lotus Notes combined with XenApp and timezones before, you’ll know its a complete nightmare, interestingly the administrator in question (me, shamefully), was logging onto a XenApp session with a linux timezone to replicate an issue.

More embarrassingly, I then decided to Remote Desktop inside of the XenApp session to the affected servers, and with my admin account being who it was… inadvertently changed the timezone for the servers it seems.

That doesn’t sound right? You rdp’d from a client in a different time zone and it changed the server timezone?

I agree, but I have since been able to replicate this in a test environment. As with Server 2008 Microsoft now handle the timezone redirection themselves as part of group policy and administrative accounts will change the timezone of the server intermittently.

Now most customers probably wouldn’t even notice this, unless they are using lotus notes, as all other applications behaved correctly.

How do you work around this issue?

Ensure that the Group Policy you use to configure timezone redirection is configured to “not apply” to any local administrator on the XenApp server that may log in.

Lotus Notes in SBC & VDI, surviving the pitfalls of an aging client.

Should all this be necessary? definitely not, but if you plan right you’ll be better prepared for failure.

Note: The Following post has been updated to include the latest fix information for running Lotus Notes 8.5.3 Feature Pack 2.

To start, I think I should open by saying I’m not an IBM software fan, in fact I’m the furthest thing from an IBM software fan. I feel they write unnecessarily complicated, Java heavy and buggy applications. They completely miss the point of the MSI standard and their application architecture is a mesh of static files, misleading registry keys all rolled into what I consider a really ugly eclipse platform.

Finding accurate information on how to install Lotus Notes in an SBC / VDI environment including all fixes and improvements can be from difficult to impossible, so below you will find a roll up of the considerations, caveat’s and some silly hang ups to deploying Lotus Notes in the above environments.

I’m not a Notes expert, I’m just the poor idiot that’s been forced to support it for the last five years. I don’t intend to update this post frequently, consider this my knowledge dump as I move away from a Lotus Notes environment.

So to begin, some fun Lotus Notes facts!

  • Windows Remote Desktop Services isn’t supported, at all.
  • XenApp 6.5 is only supported on Notes 8.5.3 Fix Pack 1.
  • XenApp 6 is only supported in 8.5.3.
  • XenDesktop isn’t supported, so by extension VMware View shouldn’t be either.*

*I think it’s hilarious they don’t support desktops if a hypervisor is involved.

Update: A new up to date list of supported configurations has been added by IBM here, it seems a bit of work has been done.

  • XenApp is supported.
  • Raw Terminal Services / Remote Desktop Services is still not supported. (Ridiculous)
  • is XenDesktop supported? Good Question… the jury is out it seems. (dead link)
  • No love for Micrsoft VDI, or VMware view sadly.

For more specifics on earlier clients, check here:

So now let’s get right to it. Below I’ve broken this post into categories to base your decisions on. Even if you veer off course and use a network drive, there is still useful information to be had in optimising and pruning.

Continue reading

IBM iSeries connection with Citrix Single Sign-On.

Recently during a proof of concept for Citrix Single Sign-On, I had great difficulty using SSO to identify and submit credentials to the IBM Personal Communications suite. The exe in question was pcsws.exe and googling for help with the issue resulting in no luck what so ever.

Below are the steps to take in order to ensure this application will work for you:

The below tasks are to be completed on the SSO Client machine

  • Locate the mfrmlist.ini in c:Program FilesCitrixMetaFrame Password ManagerHelperMFEmu
  • Ensure at the top of the document, an entry exists as  follows: EMU$$=Client Access. Where $$ is the relevant number.
  • Find the entry for client access below in the document and ensure it looks like the following:

[Client Access]
DisplayName=Client Access
RegistryLoc=IBMPersonal CommunicationsCurrentVersionInstallation Directory
ValueName=InstallDir
DLLFile=ehlapi32.dll
Process=shared
ConvertPosType=long
QuerySessionsType=long
QuerySessionStatusType=long
StartNotificationType=long
IntSize=32
WindowClass=PCSWS:Main:00400000
WindowTitle=Session $s

  • create a registry Reg_SZ called InstallDir, in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREIBMPersonal CommunicationsCurrentVersionInstallation Directory.
  • Populate this registry entry with the directory path to the client access emulator folder: e.g.  C:Program FilesIBMClient AccessEmulator
  • reboot the server.

Go ahead now and create your application definition and it should work happily.