Domino server coexistence - IBM Lotus Notes

This section discusses the coexistence of Domino 8.5.3 and the previous versions of Notes/Domino. This will occur as soon as you upgrade your first server. This state is called a mixed environment due to the existence of the Domino 8.5 server code as well as the pre-Domino 8.5.3 code. The following sections detail the areas where coexistence issues can and do appear.

Domino Directory

One of the first things to do is to upgrade the design of the Domino Directory to Notes/Domino 8.5.3. This can be done in advance, before the server code upgrade, or at the same time as you upgrade your administration server. There are Domino 8.5.3 features that may not function on pre-Domino 8.5.3 servers. These features are mostly found in the server and configuration documents.

If you have applications that rely on custom views in your Domino Directory, we recommend that you test your applications with the new Domino Directory design. If possible, before upgrading from a previous release, clean up any unneeded views and agents in the existing Domino Directory. After the design of the Domino Directory has been upgraded, the next phase is to upgrade the server code. One of the biggest issues found after an upgrade is that the directory does not properly upgrade. There are several techniques and tools to help determine if the directory design has been upgraded correctly. One example is where the "person" form has not upgraded correctly. If this happens, then the "new" person elements will not be displayed correctly. One simple technique to check for a design difference is to use the Lotus Notes Designer and check if the design date is different in the Pubnames.ntf template from the design element in names.nsf after the upgrade.

On-Disk Structure (ODS)

In Domino 8.5.3, the default On-Disk Structure (ODS) is the same as in Notes/Domino 7—ODS 48. There is a new ODS in Domino 8.5, ODS 51. This new ODS is optional, and should be applied if you need to utilize these new features. In particular, you will need ODS 51 in order to use the Domino Attachment and Object Service (DAOS).

Administration Requests and events databases

After you upgrade your server, the Administration Requests database (admin4.nsf) and events database (events4.nsf) will automatically be upgraded. There should be no issues because the design of these upgraded databases replicate to the other servers. It is recommended that you check to make sure the design elements upgrade correctly.

Rooms and Resource Reservations database

The Rooms and Resource Reservations database has not changed from Notes/ Domino 7. If you are upgrading from Domino 7, then you will not need to make any changes. If you are upgrading from the Domino 6.x code stream, some changes will be necessary. Resource Reservation databases with a design of 6.x or earlier are not supported on the Domino 8.5 server. In releases prior to Notes/Domino 7, the router was the task that processed reservations in the Resource Reservations database. Starting in Notes/Domino 7, there is a new task that performs this duty—the Rooms and Resources Manager (RnRMgr) task. This new task was added to prevent some of the issues such as double booking that was seen when the router task was used.

The RnRMgr task is now responsible for processing all reservation requests. This task will also update the busytime.nsf database with room and resource requests. One very important consideration with the new RnRMgr task is that this task must be loaded in the Server tasks line in the notes.ini settings of each server that requires this task.

The Schedule Manager (sched) task is no longer responsible for updating the server busytime for rooms or resources.

One potential advantage of the RnRMgr task is that all servers can now run SMTP as both the internal and external mail routing service. Historically, the NRPC service was required due to the fact that the router was integrated into the rooms and resources process.

One new web functionality has been added to the room and resource reservation database in 8.5.3. When an end user accesses the rooms and resources database from the web, the user can delete reservations and also create repeat meetings. This requires the 8.5.3 Resource Reservations database design.

Domino Domain Monitoring

Domino Domain Monitoring (DDM) was first introduced in Domino 7. Most DDM probes do not function on a pre-Domino 7 server. There are also some new probes that are specific to new features and functions in Domino 8.5. For the new features in DDM in Domino 8.5.3, refer to the Domino 8.5.3 administrator help.


There are several new policies that have been introduced in Domino 8.5.3. New policies that were introduced in Domino 7 or 8 will not be recognized by Notes 6.5.x or earlier clients. Newer policies will not adversely affect the earlier client; they will not be recognized or enforced until the client is upgraded to Notes 8.5.3. One example of a new 8.5.3 policy that will only work on 8.5.3 clients and above is the machine-specific policies.

Message recall

While in a mixed environment, if the message recall functionality is enabled, users will not be able to recall a message for a user on a pre-Domino 8.5 server. Message recall is no longer enabled by default.

Cluster coexistence

A new feature in Domino 8.5. code is Streaming Cluster Replication (SCR). SCR takes advantage of the fully-connected nature of clusters and Notes data streaming to produce a low-impact cluster replicator. SCR provides a significant reduction in cluster replicator latency.

In a mixed cluster, the SCR feature will not work. Both servers attempting to replicate in the cluster need to be at a minimum Domino 8.5 (or at least 8.x) code stream in order for SCR to occur. In a mixed cluster, the Domino 8.5.3 server will attempt to initiate SCR. When it cannot do so, it will fail and revert back to a regular replication. Cluster replication will function as it did before the upgrade and mixed cluster state. Once two or more of the servers in the cluster have been upgraded to a minimum of Domino 8.5, Streaming Cluster Replication will automatically occur between them.

In the Domino base code 8.5, there have been some minor changes to the cluster database directory or cldbdir.nsf. These changes are all backward compatible with pre-Domino 8.5 servers. You can have mixed releases in a cluster. However, we suggest you upgrade the cluster mates in quick succession.

As with all upgrades, it is recommended that you check the data consistency of all your databases before the upgrade:

  • Check to make sure that the data in names.nsf was not modified
  • Make sure that any changes to cldbdir.nsf are retained after the upgrade
  • Make sure that admin4.nsf is clean (upgrade and docs approved ) before you upgrade


There have been changes to the Out-of-Office (OOO) functionality. Now there is the option of having the Out-of-Office feature as a service rather than as an agent. If one of the servers in the cluster is running the pre-Domino 8.5 code, the Out-of-Office feature must be run as an agent. The original Out-of-Office agent was based on a LotusScript agent that was integrated into the Lotus Notes mail template. Once enabled by the end user, the Out-of-Office agent automatically responds to mails that arrive into the end user's mail file. Once this message arrives then the agent, based on a scheduled time, will execute and respond with a user-based message stating that they are out of the office.

The service provides the ability for instant response for out of office responses. The following table shows the differences between the Out-of-Office agent and the service:


The Out-of-Office service requires a minimum of the Lotus Domino 8 server, the Lotus Notes 8 client, and the Lotus Notes 8 mail template.

Domino Web Access

Domino Web Access requires two aspects to work properly:

  • Mail file template: In Notes/Domino 8.5.3, the mail template is built into Domino Web Access.There is no longer a separate mail file template for all Domino Web Access.
  • Forms database: New features are added to the Forms Database with each release. In Notes/Domino 8.5.3, the Forms Database is called Forms8.nsf. So if you upgrade the template to Domino 8.5.3, make sure there is such a file on the server. If a web access issue occurs and is affecting all users, then most likely it is a template issue. If the issue only affects users on a single server, then it is most likely an issue with the Forms8.nsf on that server.

ID files In each Domino release, there have been changes to the encryption key length so as to provide enhanced security. Older keys can be used on new clients, but they are not forward compatible. This means that newer keys cannot be used on older clients. It is advisable to upgrade your ID files after you have completed your entire upgrade to Notes/Domino 8.5.3. This will provide you with the enhanced security offered by the longer key length. Also, be sure to check out the ID vault feature, new with Notes/Domino 8.5.

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