Domino Server Upgrade 5.0 to 8.5

Posted on 2011-03-14
Last Modified: 2013-11-17
Simple question.  Somehow I ended up getting tasked with upgrading our Domino server from 5.0 to 8.5.

Now.  From what I gather, I can't just doubleclick on 8.5.exe and go to town?  I have to hit every major upgrade and fix between the two?  Especially to ensure our .nsf etc are upgraded along with everything else?   Or can I just click and 8.5.exe and cross my fingers?

Question by:kyleiorio
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LVL 46

Assisted Solution

by:Sjef Bosman
Sjef Bosman earned 200 total points
ID: 35132344
Normally, crossing your fingers isn't a sound advice, but in this case it might indeed work.

There are a few ways (not necessarily a complete list):
- if you can take the server off-line for a longer period of time: make a backup of the data (and the server), and update the server installation directly
- if you can't take it off-line: install a 2nd Domino server in the same domain, make the two server replicate, copy the data over, move the users to the new server and shut the old server down; as a final step you might move the first server's credentials to the new server, replacing the old one completely (IP-address,, notes.ini, etc.)

What is important before you make the move: what applications do you have on the server besides mail? These applications should be tested on a different server. Usually, 99% is compatible, but that 1% can mean the difference between a steady job and being fired... ;-)
LVL 11

Accepted Solution

larsberntrop earned 200 total points
ID: 35136125
Please read up on the Domino Wiki!  plus there is a RedBook detailing R5 to R6/R7 upgrade Lotus Notes and Domino 7 Enterprise Upgrade Best Practices, with a detailed plan ready to use.   Also, read IBM Lotus Notes and Domino 8 Deployment Guide

Also, use 8.5.2 at least, not 8.5.

Upgrading the ODS (on disk structure) is vital for best server performance, see recommendations in above documentation.

With 8.5.2 you also get notes ini and policy options to upgrade the ODS on clients.

Allways make a backup, consider using a migration tool to port the R5 server to a VM (virtual machine) so you have a backup you can switch on quickly (suspend the VM with domino just shutdwon, the OS up and running, to get your server up just resume the VM and start Domino again.  is very fast)
LVL 46

Expert Comment

by:Sjef Bosman
ID: 35136258
@Lars: I can feel a copy/paste coming up...
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 35136261
copy paste with edits... but yeah, reuse is good!

Author Comment

ID: 35136947
Our enviroment is a little strange.  Government setting, .mil domain.  We are 98% exchange (2007).  We have just a few notes clients to access archive databases.  We connect to a major contractor who uses notes via Exchange -> notes connectors -> domino -> internal firewall (separate networks, but same building).  This is what I have inherited as a 100% exchange engineer.

1.  Originally, domino 5.0 was running on a physical server.
2.  I virtualized domino and built a new physical server to host domino, no other apps will share this server.
3.  I had already planned to always have a "good" virtual copy to fall back on.  (I agree- good idea Lars!)
4.  Once the new physical server with domino is update, I will stand down the virtual server and run exclusively from the physical server.

Lars, I'll look at using the redbook and see how it turns out.   But if anyone has any other advice, hey, more the merrier.  
LVL 46

Expert Comment

by:Sjef Bosman
ID: 35138732
These archive databases, are they mail archives or application archives, or just older applications? As I said, 99% upward compatible, but beware of that 1%...

Author Comment

ID: 35173111
Bumping to 400 pts.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 35173115
Pointing me to manuals on how to complete an upgrade didn't exactly answer my question, but I am thankful for the help.
LVL 46

Expert Comment

by:Sjef Bosman
ID: 35175165
You're right. However, if you ask a broad question you'd rarely get a specific answer. A run-of-the-mill Domino server can be upgraded by just installing the new release over it. The problem is just that there are no RotM Domino servers...

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