Monday Apr 27, 2009

The Tradition Continues

On the Record reports. As does Paul Hinz.

Wednesday Jan 28, 2009

Some Communications Suite Points of Interest

I've been collecting a few items of interest for the Communications Suite community. So, in no apparent order, here goes:

  • Communications Suite 6 Update 1 requires that you install Application Server 9.1 Update 2 (enterprise version including HADB support) as the web container for Convergence 1 Update 1. The Communications Suite 6 download site provides links to the Application Server 9.1 Update 2 bits for Solaris SPARC, Linux, and Solaris x86 packages. Note, however, that these bits are not multi-language versions. If you require the multi-language version of Application Server 9.1 Update 2 (enterprise version with HADB support), you'll have to first install the older Application Server 9.1 Update 1 version, then obtain and apply the patch for Update 2 to yield the Application Server 9.1 Update 2 multi-language version.
  • There's a recent SPECmail2008 benchmark with the Sun Fire X4540 server and Messaging Server. (Unfortunately, it's for Messaging Server 6.2, but it's of interest nonetheless.)
  • Shane Hjorth has updated an old BigAdmin article, and placed in on the Comms wiki now, on how to configure Messaging Server for SSL and the Solaris Cryptographic Framework (SCF) to use the Cryptographic Accelerator of the UltraSPARC T1 and T2 processors. Wiki version is here.
  • Grab a cup of coffee, kick back, and watch some Comms Videos. This is our first foray into video-tizing Comms so by all means let us know what you think.
  • Virtual images for Communications Suite 6 Update 1 are in the works. Apologies that we pulled the Communications Suite 6 virtual images, in anticipation of the new ones coming online. (In the future, in retrospect, we should probably leave the older images around.)

Friday Jan 16, 2009

Which One: Communications Suite 6 Update 1 or Communications Suite 6?

Just in case you're wondering what happened to the Communications Suite 6 download page, it has been taken down. Now that we're shipping Communications Suite 6 Update 1, that's the software that we are providing. The Communications Suite 6 Update 1 download page is here.

And in case you're wondering about the availability of VirtualBox and VMware images for Communications Suite 6 Update 1, yes, they are in the works. There is currently an issue with the Instant Messaging configurator that is being worked on.

Tuesday Jan 06, 2009

Communications Suite News

In case you missed it, Communications Suite got an update and a new add-on:

  • Communications Suite 6 Update 1: For more information, see What's New and Get the Software.
  • Mobile Communications 1: A new product, Mobile Communications acts as a gateway to provide synchronization services for business users, synchronizing their Sun Java Communications Suite accounts with their mobile phone. Mobile Communications supports synchronization of contacts, calendar events and tasks between SyncML enabled mobile phones and the back-end server. For more information, see Mobile Communications 1 Documentation.

Tuesday Dec 09, 2008

On the Horizon: Communications Suite 6 Update 1

Expect the release of Communications Suite 6 Update 1 in the very near future. For a summary of all features in Communications Suite 6 Update 1 that are new or have been enhanced, see the What's New document on the Communications Suite wiki.

Monday Aug 04, 2008

It's Nearly an Email Cocktail Party

Actually, based on the amount of mail I receive from Barack's surrogates, I think we're closer than 6 hops.

Thursday Jul 31, 2008

EMAIL or EFAIL: How Big Is Your Inbox?

Emailus Interruptus:

According to a report to be published in October by the New York-based research firm Basex, interruptions such as spam, other unnecessary e-mail and instant-messages take up 28% of the average knowledge worker's day.

On top of that is what Basex chief analyst Jonathan Spira refers to as recovery time -- the time to get back to where you were before you were interrupted, which Spira says is 10 to 20 times the duration of the interruption. These interruptions account for up to 2.1 hours per worker per day. Multiply that by 56 million knowledge workers in the U.S., he calculates, and the cost is $650 billion per year.

Wednesday Jul 30, 2008

Comm Suite: Ho Hum, So Not News

News? Certainly not to Messaging Server admins.

Some of how to deal with this might be news.

Thursday Jul 24, 2008

Migrating to Comm Suite: Gives Us Your Poor Notes, Your Tired Domino Users...

From Global System Services Corporation (GSS):

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., July 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Global System Services Corporation (GSS) today announced the GSS Migration Toolkit for Sun Java Communications Suite to move customers from IBM Lotus Notes and Domino to the Sun Java Communications Suite. Enterprises running Notes and Domino can now switch to Sun Java Communications Suite. Service providers building Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings using Sun Java Communications Suite can now migrate business customers from Notes and Domino to hosted applications.

Worldwide, there are currently more active mailboxes on Sun Java Communications Suite than its two closest competitors combined. Sun Java Communications Suite is two orders of magnitude more scalable than other products and is the first major messaging and collaboration platform to include a Web 2.0 client. Communications Suite and Java Enterprise system are the premier Web 2.0 and J2EE application development platform.

Migration is the key enabler for hosted e-mail and messaging, calendaring and collaboration SaaS. Using the GSS Migration Toolkit service providers can now move business customers from on-premise Lotus Notes and Domino servers to SaaS offerings using Sun Java Communications Suite.

Using the GSS Migration Toolkit, enterprises and service providers can move e-mail, directory, calendar and other information from Notes and Domino to Sun Java Communications Suite. "We are introducing the GSS Migration Toolkit to enable the disruptive shift from on-premise servers and distributed systems to SaaS and highly centralized systems," said Ron Herardian, Chief Systems Architect at GSS.

The GSS Migration Toolkit works with all international language versions of Lotus Notes and Domino including double-byte languages such as Chinese and Japanese, supports Mozilla Thunderbird clients, and works with all platform versions of Sun Java Communications Suite including Solaris SPARC and x86 and Linux.

Customers can find out more about the GSS Migration Toolkit and other GSS migration tools by contacting GSS at +1 (650) 965-8669 (press 1 for sales).

Monday Jul 07, 2008

Comms Loses One of its Best and Brightest: Tribute to Jonathon Hawkins

It is with much sadness and sorrow that I say goodbye to one of Comms Suite's best, Jonathon Hawkins, who died last week after a valient fight with cancer. Jonathon truly was everyone's friend and mentor. In the few years that I was fortunate to know and work with Jonathon, he always found the time in a hectic environment to answer my questions and bring me up to speed so that I could document Comms products. Jonathon was passionate about Comms Suite but I believe he was just as passionate about people. One felt his presence as humble, accepting, and without ego. In meetings, Jonathon was the one who would perpetually rise above the usual fray to urge us on as a team, to work together. I will always remember his enthusiasm for wanting to help others, and how he touched so many lives at Sun.

For more information about Jonathon, his life, and his world travels, have a look at his personal blog at

Wednesday Jun 11, 2008

Future of Communications Suite

There's a lot going on in Communications Suite these days, and we'd like to share with you some of the near future technologies that we are planning.

  • Project Miso: A high-powered search and indexing service, Project Miso aims to offer a better search for not just email, but open-ended indexing and searching web services.
  • Project Aries: Based on the recently approved CalDAV standard, Project Aries seeks to provide interoperable exchange of calendaring, scheduling and address book information with all other servers and clients that conform to this standard. This includes Apple iCAL, Mozilla Lightning, Mozilla Sunbird, OSAF Chandler, Mulberry, Evolution and, in the future, Sun Convergence. Project Aries also provides more flexibility for sync solution offerings including Notify/Syncronica.
Disclaimer: These technologies describe work being studied and developed at Sun Microsystems. While we currently intend the technology to become available to the Communications Suite community, we cannot guarantee precise schedules or delivery dates.

Friday May 23, 2008

Comms Suite Wiki: Gets an Upgrade

You might have already noticed that went through an upgrade yesterday. Some quick highlights:

  • The interface now sports a different look, including navigation via space and user menus as well as Edit, Add, and Tools icons. If you're looking for the "Pages" view, which I use frequently, you now access it from the Space pull-down menu at the very top of the page.
  • If you want to add a comment, use the Add pull-down menu to select Comment.
  • The Tools pull-down menu groups a lot of functionality now.

Here's a quick graphical look at these changes:

For more information, see these release notes.

Update: There is one known pending issue. Internet Explorer users are receiving an annoying authentication box when attempting to perform actions such as adding pages. The work around is to use a non-IE browser or hit cancel when the authentication box appears. Affected users will be authenticated and able to proceed.

Update II: Problem fixed.

Monday Apr 14, 2008

Comms Software Summit: Day 3

By now, having read my previous entries here and here, you're all probably getting the feel of what it's like to sit through Death by Powerpoint. Excuse me, StarOffice. Nevertheless, speaker after speaker continued to provide really interesting information, tidbits, and annecdotes of the Comms world.

Communications Suite Installer

From a general perspective, the a Comms Installation must deal with the following situations:
  • Different types of components on different machines (zones)
  • Non-Comms components (DS, AM, AS)
  • Multi-host deployment
  • OS patches

The Comms Installer is not all things to a Comms installation. You still have to to use the JES installer too. That situation, sadly, hasn't changed for the upcoming Communications Suite 6 release. You'll use the JES installer for Directory Server, Application Server, Web Server, Access Manager, and shared components. You'll use the Comms Installer for Comms components, of course, as well as OS patches and some auxillary components, namely, Service Tags.

Before you begin laying down the bits, you should consider the following topics/questions:

  • Single host vs. Multiple hosts?
  • What goes where (architecture)?
  • What is your Identity strategy (LDAP vs AM SSO)?
New documentation for this release includes a great Comms Suite 6 Installation Flowchart, as well as a completely revised Comms 6 Installation Guide.

One comment that came up: Do we ship the DS tuning script idsktune? Yes, this utility ships as part of Messaging Server. In the past, it was used to find missing OS patches. The installer now tells you what is missing and provides the patches themselves.

Q. Will Comms installer handle installs not done by this Comms Installer?
A. Yes, going back to Java ES 1.

The multi-install feature (installing multiple instances on a single machine) is currently only available for Messaging Server. (See the altroot install option.)

You can use the --dryrun option to test the install. This creates a silent install file, which you can then use for an actual install. Some in the crowd do this as a best practice when installing Comms.

No surprise here: Folks are still asking for a best practices doc on installing Comms in Solaris Zones.

Installing Comms with EMRA

The EMRA toolkit is good choice for installing Comms and non-Comms components for those customers with complex deployments, who need to repeat an install of a particular kind of node in a replicable way. The plan going foward is to productize EMRA. The toolkit is fairly self-documenting right now. I could see Pubs providing a high-level EMRA doc when appropriate.

Customizing Sun Convergence

There was a very good preso on customizing Sun Convergence (formerly called Communication Center, Project Kendo). I was impressed that a lot of the issues in customizing Communications Express seem to have been dealt with. I'm not a Dojo expert by any means--and you'll need Dojo experience to perform more than basic customizations--but the approach seemed logical and to make sense.

The customization is handled by, you guessed it, a customization service (c11n). You make changes through a CLI (no GUI). For the most part, the customization service was designed with ISPs in mind.

What can be customized:

  • Theme (css of color, font, background, icon)
  • i18n strings
  • Widgets (banner; based on Dojo digits)
  • Third-party service integration (ex: Flickr)

You can customize Convergence for all domains or specific domains. Customizations are saved across upgrades (big yay from the crowd).

Note to customers: Basic banner customizations might be easier to do via css files than the customization service.

Q. Can Convergence services "share" info in a mashup?
A. Yes.

Q. Does the client have multiple from fields (multiple sender IDs)?
A. In a coming update.

Q. How to set the default client view?
A. There's an options parameter to hide an app in the background. For example, you might want to display just Mail and Calendar, but hide the IM in the background (even though it's available).

ISPs should be able to customize Convergence in a targetted way. That is, based on the user's context, you could provide new services that the customer would would like or most likely be interested in.


Kevin from Cloudmark talked about spam and his anti-spam product, which works with Messaging Server. Now, I realize that spam has been and will continue to be an issute, but per Kevin, in 2007, 95% of all email was spam. There is a kind of "arms race" going on between spammers and anti-spammers. 15% of computers on the Net are infected.

Some terms new to me:

  • botnet: computer or computers that run autonomously, spewing spam
  • fingerprinting: technology in Cloudmark to keep up w/ spammers
  • honey pots: computers at customer sites to attract spammers and then take that info to defeat them (Cloudmark uses honey pots)

Friday Apr 11, 2008

From the Goodness of its Heart, MS Releases Protocol Spec

Anti-trust legislation probably has nothing to do with it. By now, most of you probably already know that Microsoft released its protocol specs for Office 2007, Office SharePoint Server 2007, and Exchange Server 2007. Exchange protocol is here.


Reporting about Unified Communications Suite Documentation, including news, Comms 101, documentation updates, and tips and tricks.


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