Customizing Application Analyzer 2006 for Lotus Domino

A really cool feature of Application Analyzer 2006 for Lotus Domino (heretofor referred to as AA06) is the ability to customize the XML file that the tool uses for determining the databases & directories that are excluded from the scan, the quadrants that information falls into and the recommendations. For example, the default configuration excludes the directory named MAIL because mail migration is performed via Exchange Migration Wizard 2005 for Lotus Notes, but perhaps in your environment, user’s mail databases are in a directory with a different name. You can modify the XML file to exclude that directory so that the reports don’t include information about user’s mail databases.

It’s very common in Notes environments to have lots of databases created from a single custom template (or a modified version of one of the default templates). You can modify the XML file to automatically make a specific recommendation for any of the databases created from a specific template, or you might decide that although you have modified a standard template, you really feel that the modified applications should fall into Quadrant 1 or 2 because they can be easily migrated to existing SharePoint templates and Quadrant 3 and 4 applications require additional analysis, unlike these applications.

This information is stored in an XML file named AARules.xml which is placed in the directory where Microsoft Application Analyzer 2006 for Lotus Domino was installed. By default, this directory is c:\Program Files\Microsoft Application Analyzer 2006 for Lotus Domino. Before you modify this file, make a backup copy so that it is easy to roll back to the original configuration or to use the original as a reference.

More information about this file and AA06 is available in the whitepaper named Microsoft Application Analyzer 2006 for Lotus Domino, which you can download from the here.

- Amy

Comments (4)

  1. billbuchan says:

    If its customisable, then it means that the vendor – who might be coming in to do a huge "Migrate from Domino" pitch – may "tinker" with this file to generate needlessly optimistic results.

    So. If you have a Business Partner or vendor in to do this analysis, INSIST that he provide you with the version of this file he USED and explain ANY and ALL deviations from the "standard" one, else you’ll end up like one customer ALREADY where *all* the applications ended up in Quadrant 1 and 2 – the "easy peasy" ones.

    Course, the customer ran the tooling again – and hey presto – its all in Q3/Q4. Nice.

    Oh -and have you guys fixed the usage flags yet – the Paul Mooney ( review indicated that an extremely busy database – one used by 25 people every single day – came back as not being used for over 100 days.


    So this tool gets modified, ran and the results "massaged" to justify some needless migration. "Look, they’re all easy peasy, and those difficult ones havent been used in 100 days".

    And Mr Pointy-haired boss just laps up all this migration optimisim, the money gets spent – and three years later – no application migration.

    Which all falls apart at the implementation stage anywise – as this tooling should prove – you cant take a "hard" application and migrate it to Microsoft technology in any case – because their platforms just dont handle this level of richness.

    (Name the top-5 UK bank which STILL – even after a Merger – have to run Notes as their MS infrastructure cant deliver the same application capability ?)

    My 2 cents.

    —* Bill

  2. Phigmentb says:

    Having been a consultant for over 10 years, I have to take exception with one of your comments.

    It’s very common in Notes environments to have lots of databases created from a single custom template (or a modified version of one of the default templates).

    I have NEVER, EVER been at a company where this statement is true.  Even in the days of Notes V3 and the Nifty Fifty (20 more than the SharePoint 30), the only Notes databases that have ever been based on the default templates have been the system apps, mail files, and maybe discussion databases.  These days, I guess you could add the Quickplace sites to the list, but that’s not even true most of the time.

    In fact, most developers I know avoid the default templates as a starting point because they contain way to much code to do what they need and it’s just easier to start from scratch  or, in my case, from a custom template of their own design.

    I really wish your group would stop spouting such blantantly wrong facts.  I have no problem discussing the merits of the competing systems as long as each side sticks to real facts.

    Of course, only a company that spins like MS would develop an application analyzer that would allow BPs to mess with the result.  Real Nice!


  3. NBlogger says:

    Sean –
    I appreciate your feedback, but I’m afraid you didn’t read my posting carefully…I talked about custom templates – when a company creates their own template (from scratch/the “blank” template) and reuses it for multiple applications.  

    I can’t speak to your experience, but in the 15 years I was working as a Lotus Notes consultant, I worked at some of the largest Lotus Notes implementations in the world and they frequently reused the design of custom templates and were dependent on the Design task to ensure that the database designs were consistent, based on their Design Template.  This was a large part of the reason Lotus introduced the concept of Design Inheritance.  My experience with current Notes customers I’ve met with since I started working for Microsoft last June continues to support this fact, but it’s entirely possible that your customers do not reuse the design of any custom templates.  In that case, the scenario I describe in my posting would not be appropriate for your customers, but would be appropriate for the customers who do use Design Inheritance.

    I did also include in my post a reference to modified standard templates, as I am aware that many companies (including IBM) make modifications to the standard templates and then use them to create many databases.  Again, it’s entirely possible that your experience is different, but if our experience shows that many other Notes shops (including IBM) work this way, then we want to provide an option for these companies to simplify the process of understanding their current ND applications.

    Regarding allowing BPs to “mess with the result”, we are providing the tool for free to anyone who chooses to download it.  Anyone can download the same exact tool that the BP is using and run it – if the results are different, it shows that the BP has modified the XML.  You can then ask them to explain their reasoning behind why they changed the XML and then can base your decisions on their explanation.

    If we did not make this tool available for everyone and document how and why it is valuable to be able to modify the XML file, customers would not have the ability to validate the results they’re presented with from a third party (or even from us).  We are providing the exact same information to BPs, internal Microsoft and customers, so everyone is on the same page.   

    Bill – We are investigating how to deal with LastAccessed as this is currently dependent on User Activity being enabled for the database.  As this is not on by default, we are researching how to better provide this information for applications that have not had this database property turned on.  This is definitely under investigation.

    – Amy

  4. says:

    Amy.. Maybe you should tell people to enable that performance hitting property it a year before running the tool 😉

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