Installing Comms: Lowering the Barriers, Day 3: Two Steppin' & The Func Funk

Much of the deployment experience for Comms Suite involves running individual product configurator tools. That is, when deploying Comms, you do the two-step dance of installing the bits and THEN configuring them.

If you're new to the product, or coming from the world where the installer DOES everything for you, well, that's just not so in Comms. For better or worse, we split up the deployment experience into laying down the product software and then configuring that software.

I'm at the point in the Single Host Deployment Example where I have installed the Comms Suite bits and am now configuring the component products.

You run the component configurators in the following order:

  • to prepare the LDAP directory with Comms schema
  • config-commda for Delegated Administrator
    BTW, here's a shot of the DA Console (a feel good that yes, the process is working as documented)
  • configure for Messaging Server
  • for Calendar Server
After running, you need to hand-edit the Calendar Server ics.conf file and a few other Calendar Server files, then reload the service schemas. A really useful error then appeared when trying to stop/restart the Calendar Server:
# ./stop-cal
[30/Apr/2008:19:32:21 -0700] elwood2 [11006]: General Error: func=_configdrv_file_readoption; error=unexpected character after value; data="
ERROR: Could not initialize config system
Okay, after so much smooth sailing, I've got the func FUNK.

I'm thinking, what the heck, and how am I even supposed to begin troubleshooting this with such a helpful error message. (Perhaps to seasoned Calendar Server admins, it's obvious.)

As I had just edited the Calendar Server files, I figured that was a good place to start. Careful examination revealed that I had left off an ending double quote (") on a value in the ics.conf file. Which points out to a real issue with deploying Comms: With all the typing and hand-editing of files involved, human error is a very real problem. So far, that has to be my major complaint with this deployment methodology.

Hmmm, would have been interesting, in hind sight, to have used this Error Rate Calculator, telling you what your typing error rate is - that is, how often you have to hit that Backspace key to correct an entry.

Up Next: On to Instant Messaging.


I guess Jim's mom knows vi in an out then:

I was really hoping the installation would be simpler in Version 6... :-(

Posted by Mika on May 02, 2008 at 04:06 AM MDT #

I was wondering when someone would raise that point. ;-)

What I'm leading up to in all this is that there are some alternatives.

For POC/evaluations, we now provide (at least for Beta customers, and later at Revenue Release for all customers) a VMware image.

We are also providing a toolkit called EMRA to make deployments more automated and replicable. See for more information.

Unfortunately for Comms, because we use a lot fo the Java ES, and we don't have control over that, there is built-in complication.

I hear internal rumblings as well abt simplifying the overall process. We are making steps toward that goal, they are not the giant leap for mankind steps, but the are steps.

Posted by Joe Sciallo on May 02, 2008 at 05:27 AM MDT #

I'm in the JCS 6 beta and I have to say that installing and configuring JCS 5 vs 6 is like night and day.

I could probably install and configure JCS 6 from start to finish in half or a third of the time as it took me to do JCS 5.

I haven't gotten my mits on EMRA yet but that would be nice also as I believe it integrates with JumpStart.

Having one installer for Cal, Messaging, IM, etc is better and having everything under /opt/sun/comms is much better for training and sanity than having /opt/this and /opt/that.

If someone came and told me I would have to go back to installing JCS 5 because JCS 6 went away I would probably sit in the corner of my office and cry...ok, not exactly but you get the idea.

Posted by Nate K on May 02, 2008 at 06:03 AM MDT #

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