Open Mic Webcast: Tips and Tricks when Troubleshooting Repeating Meetings, Busytime and Resource Reservations - 15 May 2013 [Presentation, Recording and Q&A transcript attached]
On May 15, 2013, members of the IBM Notes Calendaring and Scheduling team shared their tips and tricks when troubleshooting repeating meetings, busytime and resource reservations.
Attendees were given an opportunity to ask a panel of experts some questions. The call was recorded and slides were made available.
Follow highlights from these Open Mics live on Twitter using #ICSOpenMic or following us on Twitter @IBM_ICSsupport.
Topic: Tips and Tricks when Troubleshooting Repeating Meetings, Busytime and Resource Reservations
Day: Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Time: 11:00 AM EDT (15:00 UTC/GMT, UTC-4 hours) for 60 minutes
For more information about our Open Mic webcasts, visit the IBM Collaboration Solutions Support Open Mics page.
Troubleshooting Repeating Meetings, Busytime, and Resource Reservations Open Mic May 15 2013 (edited).mp3
Q: Does anyone have a best practice guide that we could provide to our users for repeating meetings?
A: We don't have any needed best practices - but we do have an article that has been useful for preventing accidental deletions .
The IBM Notes Calendar and Scheduling team has a face book page also - https://www.facebook.com/IBMCalendarAndScheduling
Q: We find the calendar cleanup utility great for cleaning historic calendar data. Is there a way, or documentation on automating this using LotusScript for all users? This would be great as it aligns with our retention policy.
A :There's an enhancement request to allow automating the calendar cleanup, and make it policy-driven, but currently we have no supported way to do so. SPR # JBAR94VVY4.
Q What is an iCal validation program and how do we find one?
A: You can use this one - http://severinghaus.org/projects/icv/
Q: One BIG issue with users - we use compatibility mode for external invitees - if they have to modify a repeating meeting containing an external address, they must modify EACH entry.
A: We are considering improving the compatibility mode functionality in a future release. Can't promise anything however. Please submit a PMR for your request, so that we may add your customer report to our database to consider in a future release. Thank you!
Q: Why can a calendar appointment not go past midnight? - Why should our users create separate appointments documents for each day?
A: Calendar Appointments can go past midnight.. they just can't be greater than 24 hours.
Q: What is the difference between Basic client and the Eclipse client? In the Basic client meetings are OK in Eclipse are shifted by 3 hours. (Citrix is NOT involved in this issue)
A: We see the opposite problem with the times, you probably need to open a PMR. Its normally found to be a registry error.
Q: We have some meetings that get corrupt: "Server Error: Memory Allocation requested exceeded 65,000 bytes" . We have to run a FIXUP to delete it. ?? Any clues as to why this is happening?
A: We'd like you to open a PMR- we haven't seen that related particularly to calendar docs.
Q: If you get a chance and have more info on "Copy Into", I would appreciate if you could post that please - the way to copy entries and maintain the ID's for workflow.
A: Looking for 'copy into' info for you. I want to point out that the feature creates a single instance meeting, however. You can right click any entry at the view level and choose Copy into new --> and review your choices. This generates a NEW APPTUNID and does not maintain the original one, but does not maintain the content of the fields for convenience. We have a wiki article:
This uses the same process you can use - or you can use the All-In-One admin tool.
Q: Shouldn't IBM require an end date on repeating meetings? Wouldn't that be easier?
A: I'm not too clear on your question but repeat meetings do have an end date which you can find in the doc properties.
Q: Are there any tools/agents we can use to remove an external clients meetings from our calendars if that user leaves their company before cancelling the meeting?
A: You can find the value of the APPTUNID field for the meeting in question. It will be the same for all meeting participants' copies of the meeting. Then, you can search the hidden $APPTUNID view for that value and delete all documents returned in the search results. There has been a request to have adminp to this, but its not a feature today - I just use the Hulk Smash method - delete from database agent. Once you get the docs in the hidden $APPTUNID view, you will want to create a quick @DeleteDocument agent to delete them:
You will choose Create -- >Agent, then switch to 'formula' (instead of LotusScript), name it anything you like, and start typing @d... you will see that @DeleteDocument appears. Select it and that's all you need. It's a one line agent.
Q: Are there best practices on accepting meeting to a certain length. ie.: External invite for multiple years ahead?
A: No best practices but - common sense says not to create meetings out past your retirement date.
Q: Will Out Of Office agents be discussed? We have an issue where Out of Office messages only go out after 4 PM.
A: OOO won't be discussed, but you should open a ticket with our App Dev team for issues with OOO.
Q: So, we should disable cluster replication of CLUBUSY.NSF?
A: You should NOT disable cluster replication of CLUBUSY. You want it replicated around. Especially for R&R to work properly if cluster failover happens. You can do both scheduled and cluster replication of it to be sure data is safely sent off box as quickly and reliably as possible.
Q: Our practice is as you describe - A comment earlier runs counter to this. We have 5 servers in our cluster, without issues. .
A: You do not need to set up both but some folks find they need it. Others find that normal cluster replication is all they need. You must make sure that the agent is actually enabled.
Q: Are only 2 servers for Clustering of the R&R database allowed? We have 4 servers, what can we do?
A: We only support 2. You can have a replica on more than 2 servers but we only currently do failover between 2 servers. Only load RNRMGR on the 2 servers hosting a replica of the database and open the edit the notes.ini on the other servers so that RNRMGR is NOT part of the servertasks= list. Having more than 2 is always good so that you have one "fully initiated" R&R server in the cluster which keeps R&R from needing all to come back up from a 'cold start' (to avoid double bookings)
Q: Notes 8 - The reminder pop-up for recurring meetings. It always highlights the next week's date instead of the current date when it asks if you want to open the meeting. Is there a way to fix this?
A: Yes, we know about issues on that alarm dialog. We have an SPR for it.. It just hasn't risen to the top of the priority stack yet. You should open a PMR on that issue.. it will help increase the priority of the problem.
Q: Warning: The Rename agent will fail if there is any reservation with a '*' sign in the subject. It fails with an invalid function call when there is a RESERVATION for the resource that you're renaming with a * in the subject. The offending lines in the agent are in the SENDNOTICE subfunction.
A: The rename agent does not care what the subject is. Maybe there is a * in the room name instead?? The rename agent does not look at the subject and I have never seen it fail due to any content in Subject. Please open a PMR so we can look at it with you.
Q: It does, I've opened a PMR for 8.5.0 and the issue was never fixed. And the fix is literally a single line in the agent. Here is my suggestion:
Basically, in the SENDNOTICE subfunction find this line:
If Instr(datestimes, "*") <> 0 Then.....
and replace it by this:
If (Instr(datestimes, "*") AND InStr(datestimes, "Requested")) <> 0 Then 'if it was reserved by AA, put ReservedBy to next line
The second 'Instr(datestimes, "Requested")' ensures that the agent doesn't crash.
A: That is reported in SPR: JKEY7SUDS4. SPR is currently low weight... so can't swear to when we will get it fixed.. .but I'll see what we can do.
Q: How often is BUSYTIME updated when a reservation is changed in the RRDB?
A: It should be updated instantly.
Q: I know that this is a troubleshooting conversation, but I was wondering when the web resource and reservation page will be updated? I think it is still the same from ver 5. Is there a plan to update it at all?
A: Updating the web interface is under consideration for a future release, no specific target at this time We know about the old web R&R UI. We have looked at getting it updated but it just hasn't risen to the top of the priority stack yet.
Q: Thanks. It would be great if this could happen. What can we do to help boost it along?
A: The best option is to open a PMR and ask support to ensure it's associated with the SPR for this work. It will help increase the priority having the customer report attached.
Q: When a reservation in R&R is cancelled by a 3rd party process, a room manager LCD, BUSYTIME is not being updated. The meeting is being canceled automatically when the user does not hit start on the LCD, through a notes based app. Where should I start looking to troubleshoot?
A: The meeting has to come out of the RRDB before the free time is updated. Regarding the purge agent, if for some reason you don't want to purge anything, I would suggest creating a one way replica that does not accept deletions and has a locked down ACL. Keep it just for backup. Use the purge agent in your production replica to keep it at a reasonable size. This is just something to consider.
Best practice is to upgrade the RRDB:
Q: In Cluster case , is it recommended to restrict booking to one server? for R&R DB?
A: We have very few problems with clustering not working correctly. Either server can process the reservations - most problems are caused by issues with the clustering, not the RRDB.
Q: OK thank you....Is there any problem solution list for it?
A: We are working on troubleshooting documents fro several areas right now....
Q: OK ..any Timeline for initial release?
A: "Soon" - watch our Facebook page:
Q: Where do I find the CNSDiag Tool mentioned?
A: Open a PMR and ask for it. Use the web interface to open the PMR - its very easy.
Q: What is the longest time the recommended for the purge agent 14 days,.. 30...? We have lots of disk space, and our users want 30 days in the RRDB history.
A: You can change the value in the Purge agent (not recommended of course). Just change the 2 in there to 30, and you're set. However, if your network link goes down between clusters for some time, you may run into double-booking issues as well.
Q: Book from a Shared mailbox, or direct from the Lwyers.nsf mailbox?
A: You only need RNRMGR running on servers hosting your R&R database. So, if it's a standalone server hosting R&R you need it. If it's a standalone without an R&R db, you don't If it's a cluster, you need it only on the two servers hosting R&R databases and you should not have it running on the other servers in the cluster.
Q: Question regarding replication conflicts on this Resource Reservation. Sometimes these replication conflicts stay around forever, I just want to know how do you know which document is the correct one? And how do you resolve it?
A: Normally what we do is check for the modification date. Usually the last one that is modified should be the main document. And with Replication/Save conflicts usually we have to clean those up with an @DeleteDocument agent, and that's usually how we would get rid of them. It's just running that quick agent on the Replication/Save Conflict.
Q: And that @DeleteDocument agent is available in the Resource Reservations Database?
A: No, you would have to create it. It's just a simple formula agent. In that formula agent, when you create it you type in @Delete you'll get a dialog box that pops up with all of the @ commands and @DeleteDocument is one of them. You just select that, and then it will show up in your actions menu.
Q: Regarding the Resource Reservation database, a user reports that they have reserved a room and received an acceptance. However, when she checks the Resource Reservations database it is not there. How can we find out if the reservation has been deleted by the user, admin, or server, whatever, how can we troubleshoot this? To clarify, the user reserved the room and received a confirmation acceptance from the resource or room. She then found her reservation was not in the R&R database. Someone else reserved for the same time. No decline notice was received.
A: I'd say we would have to investigate and take a look at the database if it's possibly had been deleted somehow and she didn't notice. We would recommend opening a PMR so we can see how the document is being deleted.
Q: When trying to create a room with a special character, should it throw an error?
A: In 8.5x it should give you an error message when you are trying to create a room with a special character.
Q: I created multiple changes in a site and they were not reflected in the client end. I was able to see that the changes were reflected in the R&R database. Why were these changes not reflected on the client end?
A: You did a rename of a room and it's not being reflected in the calendar or in the meeting document? DId the user receive an update notice to update the meeting? When you do a rename for a room what happens is there is an agent that runs that updates the existing reservation in the R&R database as well as kicks off a notification to anyone who chairs a meeting with that room and it sends them a button that they should click and it should update the existing calendar entry to the new name.
Q: There are 400 people running into this issue, and we renamed these rooms multiple times. Is there any way to fix this?
A: Sometimes if you do multiple changes, and the users do not process those changes in order, or they don't process the first update, they can get out of synch. So if they try to process that rename after that room has been modified multiple times, that room will be changed in the directory. So when they click on that button, it's going to scan the directory to see if it can find the room to do an update. And if it can't, you may run into problems. Find one user and see if they can process the latest update or the latest name change to see if it will update. What my thought is, it's not going to find it, make sure the users process all of the updates in order. If you rename the room twice you'll need to update the first update notice to rename the room to the old name. You can create another agent to update those room names manually. For a high number of users, it would have to be a more complicated agent that should be run from the server, but if you want to do this for a single user, you can just run an agent to update the room value for the meetings that contain the old room name. Open a PMR and we can help you take a better look at this.
Q: Question regarding the Reservations Database. We have ours clustered and every so often, in fact very recently, we have to take our primary server down which hosts the Reservations Database in which case the secondary server came online. When it did, it changed who owned the Reservations Database. Net result was, when we brought the other server back up, the secondary server still held onto ownership of the database, and net result of that was suddenly we were getting double booking. So, and naturally there is not command to issue to force ownership back to the primary server, which we took the secondary down for a half hour. The primary server regained ownership and the double booking stopped. Where did the wheels fall off our wagon?
I had completed forgotten about the possibility that we would have rep/saves in the CLUBUSY but, like I said, as soon as the primary server took ownership back everything seemed to be fine. And we did have users reporting that their reservation was basically being usurped; we were seeing double bookings. My concern is, that in a clustered environment I would have expected the secondary server to process the request and do so correctly.
What I'm wondering is how can I confirm if I have the most current could this be an issue with the design of the Reservations Database? And if so is there a procedure just to verify if I have the latest design and that migrated with that database? I have a sneaking suspicion that maybe part of the problem, and the fact that the ownership changed, may be related to the fact that the design is outdated. I can go to the properties and tell you, but all it's going to tell me is the name of the template and that hasn't changed drastically in the last 5 years has it?
A: That would be an issue we can definitely take a look at more carefully. So usually if we have those bookings in your Resource Database it is going to be related to your CLUBUSY database. Check for Replication/Save Conflicts or dual entries in CLUBUSY. Normally what I would do in this situation is look at the logs to see if both servers are doing any sort of processing. Usually when we have double bookings it is an issue where CLUBUSY is acting up. Check to see on both servers if the "who owns" said the secondary server once the primary came back up. As for the design, it's based on a particular version. If we find a best practice document for upgrading the Reservation database we will post it in the discussion for you.
Q: My question is regarding the Resource Reservations Database, the purge agent. I know you mentioned there are options available to not disable the purge agent and I'm just wondering what options?
A: To not disable it, well if you want to say make your keep reservation past two days, you can go in and change that number from 2 to say 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, whatever days you want. It's just very simple to edit the agent and save it. If you want to save it forever, you just disable the purge agent. You can disable or enable it, and then change the time you want it to delete the document.
Q: Between the Resource Reservations 7, and the 8.5.3, for instance, what are the major changes? I don't see anything different on the design.
A: There are definitely going to be some fixes of databases and different features. There are some things, a couple of different views, a couple of different options. I know in 8.5.2 you have the ability to prevent notifications from going out to the owners of rooms or limit the amount that goes out. I can't remember when the limiting feature was put in, R7 or 9, but that's a newer feature. Some of this is related to just fixes that we found from bug reports between the two releases.
Q: Is the option to switch Chairs going to be available anytime soon? I work for a Law firm and we have assistants and the assistants move around. Typically assistants create the reservations for their lawyers, but of course they are the chair, and when they switch around, we need to be able to give it to the new assistants which we're not able to and we end up having to cancel a meeting with 20 people and having to re-invite them which is ugly. Another pet peave is the Chair and the Booker can be different people. We don't want the room booker to get the notification we want the Chair to get the notification.
A: To define soon, possibly. We can't really commit to it. The folks on this call don't really make the decisions. This question is not specific to rooms and resources. We understand it is frustrating. We experience the same issues internally, hopefully if you open a PMR it can add weight to the SPR. Bottom line is it's on our list of backlog feature enhancements. It's not planned for the current releases.
Q: This is almost identical to an earlier question having to do with CLUBUSY. We have two primary mail servers clustered with a hot standby disaster recovery backup server. All are running the R&R Manager task. What we've discovered in the past is that if one of the primary servers, especially the one that hosts the R&R database, if that stays down for any extended period of time, after it comes back up that CLUBUSY has not Rep conflicts, but duplicated entries. And we've got to go through the process of purging CLUBUSY. We've been through the task multiple times because of this. Typically I'll come in on a Monday after maintenance weekend and begin getting reports of double booking of meeting rooms. So, sure enough there will be duplicate entries for those rooms in CLUBUSY, so I have to take it down and rebuild it. So the question is, is it required to run RR manager on our backup server? It's only there to allow continued mail access during maintenance outages, but nobody is really actively using it to book meetings.
A: When you're in a clustered environment, if you only have it on a couple of clustermates, what will happen is, if you take it down for an amount of time you have to re-initialize the cluster so that you don't have double-booking problems. It sounds like you are running into an NSF level problem where the rooms and resource system is asking for some information from NSF for busytime records. What happens is NSF forgets that the records are there. It's been a very intermittent and elusive issue going back to our R6 days. So if you're actually seeing this on a regular basis please open up a ticket with us we would love to talk to you because we've tried to nail down the NSF issue with the NSF guys. They have not been able to reproduce it, and we have not been able to reproduce it. If you're able to do that we can find out what is causing it. It's not R&R level issue, it's an NSF level issue we have been trying to track down for a while.
Q: Is there any downside to not running R&R task on our backup server?
A: The downside is that if you take it down you have to always have at least one R&R server up. We call it fully initialized where it is actually keeping an eye on everything since all the servers have been up.
Q: Enhancement related questions. First, extending repeating meetings. Secondly, repeating meetings with reservations that do not show availability of the room except for the first meeting. Is there going to be an enhancement? Lastly, switching meeting chairpersons as mentioned prevously? People switch companies, so sometimes the chairperson of a meeting has to change.
A: First two issues, Thanks for bringing those enhancement requests up. If you haven't opened a PMR requesting those enhancements I would suggest you do because it helps prioritize the work items here. We are not planning to address those enhancement requests in the current release scheduled. I think the first two were having the scheduling capability be smart enough to know when you are doing a repeating meeting to check all the instances for availability. I can tell you that to implement on our side, the implementation is not overly difficult, it's the user interface that becomes a real problem on that one. The other one was about extending a repeating meeting. Yes we do have an enhancement request for that as well and, this is not the best answer, but you can do a "copy into new" for the time being. However this creates two separate meetings. As for changing the chair - what do you do when the chair of a meeting leaves the company? We did do some enhancements to the adminp process to handle the renames of users, but we didn't get to the use case of dealing with users who have left the company. The question is what do you want to do with that chairperson's meeting, do you want to delegate them to somebody else - we don't have that functionality in the product right now. Or do you want to automatically cancel those meetings - and we did not get to that, it's on the backlog list of enhancements. Again, it's not the answer you are looking for but it's the truth.
Q. In your presentation it says "Busytime do's and don'ts". It says look for replication conflicts but don't hand select busytime documents and delete them. So what do we do with those replication conflicts in BUSYTIME and CLUBUSY?
A: For users, that's not true. That's more focused on R&R because of the way we handle records, and timestamps and shared information across records. So if it's for users you can remove them and have Schedule manager recreate them it'll pick them up at rescan. For users you can delete replication conflicts. For rooms and resources entries, you need to be more surgical and remove all the busytime records. If you miss one, you can make your situation a lot worse. I would recommend rebuilding the BUSYTIME for R&R. But if it's a rep conflict for a user, you can remove all the records for that user and then have Sched pick them up and recreated the records and they will be fine without having to recreate the entire busytime database.
Q: Deleting Replication conflicts data on or off? Resource and Reservation database - it sends a confirmation notice that the meeting was cancelled. Can that be prevented?
A: If it was a save conflict, I would use an @DeleteDocument agent to delete it, and it will not send a notice to the user, the chairperson. It is very easy to create.
Q: When a Repeating Meeting is delegated to someone and that delegatee accepts the meeting for manager, it creates replication/save conflict and usually is usually very difficult to resolve it. Any tips on that? It happens when executive assistants accept on behalf of the chairperson. Mobile devices maybe in play here, including Traveler. No local replicas.
A: You should open a PMR so we can investigate further. It sounds like an issue specific to your environment.
Q: We have a few calendar issues. I tried to create a view for the users to find out which calendar entries are affected. Is there a simple way? I am trying to help the users to find calendar entries affected by any errors.
A: We have a tool that you can open a PMR to obtain. CNSDIAG. It will help you identify some of these events.
- Troubleshooting freetime (busytime) issues in IBM Notes: https://ibm.biz/BdxJTs
- Configuring & Troubleshooting the Resource Reservation database in Notes: https://ibm.biz/BdxJTj
- Troubleshooting & resolving common Notes/Domino Calendaring & Scheduling issues: https://ibm.biz/BdxJT2
- Troubleshoot DST and calendar view issues: https://ibm.biz/BdxJTq
- IBM Notes Calendar & Scheduling Schema: https://ibm.biz/BdxJTP
- Best Practices to prevent the accidental deletion of meetings and other calendar related documents: https://ibm.biz/BdxJT8
- How to recreate the busytime.nsf and clubusy.nsf databases on a Domino server: https://ibm.biz/BdxJT9
- Watch A Video On “How to Recreate the Busytime Database”: https://ibm.biz/BdxJTQ
- Explanation of the commands and what they do: https://ibm.biz/BdxJT3
- Watch this video on how to enable the agents: Resource Reservation Database Agents:https://ibm.biz/BdxJTw
Original publication date