HCL Connections 7 – update

We updated our productive HCL Connections environment last week from 6.5CR1 to 7. This time we decided to do an inplace update.

Upgrade WAS to on commandline :

cd /opt/ibm/InstallationManager/eclipse/tools
./imcl install com.ibm.websphere.ND.v85_8.5.5018.20200910_1821 -repositories /data/install/unpacked/wasfp18/ -acceptLicense

The Connections update itself did not provide any surprises.
The database wizard was a bit creepy as it wanted to do a db update from 2.5 to 7 in the first place. After switching to the db2inst1 user, it still wanted an update from 3 to 7 for wikis and files db. So we decided to go through the wizards connections.sql directory and run any upgrade-XY-70.sql scripts. There’s only one for homepage.

Export PDF: there’s a post install step hidden, deep inside the help on how to install wkhtmltopdf.

Upgrade the Component Pack to 7 required some steps.
I decided to upgrade our kubernetes environment to 1.18.latest first. Then install helm3 and migrate all the stuff from helm2 using helm 2to3 Plugin

What am I missing at the moment: all my previous metrics data. The elasticsearch got updated from 5.5 to 7 which does not automatically update the elasticsearch indices. I have not found a way to update these properly yet.

The next step was to prepare all the *.yml files from the samples to my environment.
After applying all the new helm builds all the pods updated. Nothing worked. All the pods were up, but neither /appreg nor /social worked.

I only got a 404 from nginx.

After some debugging with krew’s tail plugin, it was clear that I had some issues with the ingress definitions.


Looks like the ingress controller has some issues with regex and wildcard definitions.
To fix this issue I added these 2 ingress definitions.

apiVersion: extensions/v1beta1
kind: Ingress
    kubernetes.io/ingress.class: nginx
    nginx.ingress.kubernetes.io/rewrite-target: /
  name: my-ingress-appreg
  namespace: connections
  - host: 'connections.belsoft.ch'
      - backend:
          serviceName: appregistry-client
          servicePort: 7000
        path: /appreg
        pathType: ImplementationSpecific
      - backend:
          serviceName: te-creation-wizard
          servicePort: 8080
        path: /te-creation-wizard
        pathType: ImplementationSpecific
      - backend:
          serviceName: community-template-service
          servicePort: 3000
        path: /comm-template
        pathType: ImplementationSpecific
      - backend:
          serviceName: admin-portal
          servicePort: 8080
        path: /cnxadmin
        pathType: ImplementationSpecific
      - backend:
          serviceName: sanity
          servicePort: 3000
        path: /sanity
        pathType: ImplementationSpecific


apiVersion: extensions/v1beta1
kind: Ingress
    kubernetes.io/ingress.class: nginx
  name: my-ingress-appregistry
  namespace: connections
  - host: 'connections.belsoft.ch'
      - backend:
          serviceName: appregistry-service
          servicePort: 3000
        path: /appregistry
        pathType: ImplementationSpecific
      - backend:
          serviceName: orient-web-client
          servicePort: 8000
        path: /social
        pathType: ImplementationSpecific
      - backend:
          serviceName: itm-services
          servicePort: 3000
        path: /itm
        pathType: ImplementationSpecific
      - backend:
          serviceName: community-suggestions
          servicePort: 3000
        path: /community_suggestions/api/recommend/communities
        pathType: ImplementationSpecific
      - backend:
          serviceName: connections-ui-poc
          servicePort: 3000
        path: /connections-ui
        pathType: ImplementationSpecific
      - backend:
          serviceName: teams-presence-service
          servicePort: 3000
        path: /teams-presence
        pathType: ImplementationSpecific
      - backend:
          serviceName: teams-share-service
          servicePort: 3000
        path: /teams-share-service
        pathType: ImplementationSpecific
      - backend:
          serviceName: teams-share-ui
          servicePort: 3000
        path: /teams-share-ui
        pathType: ImplementationSpecific
      - backend:
          serviceName: teams-tab-api
          servicePort: 3000
        path: /teams-tab/api
        pathType: ImplementationSpecific
      - backend:
          serviceName: teams-tab-ui
          servicePort: 8080
        path: /teams-tab
        pathType: ImplementationSpecific

Monitoring Component Pack / Kubernetes with Prometheus – Grafana

You have successfully installed HCL ComponentPack for HCL Connections. Now you want to know what is happening in that black box ?
The goal is to see something like this

Steps to reproduce:
Update Kubernetes to 1.18.12
Install Helm3
– Install nfs-client
– install metrics
Install Traefik
– Install Prometheus

Disclaimer: use the following on your own risk.

Update Kubernetes to 1.18 because it’s now supported for Component Pack. If you are still on 1.11 you will be surprised after the update to 1.16. The coredns will no longer start. Coredns removed the proxy plugin, you need to switch to the forward plugin:
kubectl -n kube-system edit cm coredns
change ‘proxy . /etc/resolv.conf’ to ‘forward . /etc/resolv.conf’.
Going to 1.19 has not been an option. Some of the helm charts provide incompatible ingresss or services due to the api changes between 1.18 and 1.19

Installing Helm 3
At the moment the Component Pack still requires Helm 2. But both versions can be used in parallel.
Before installing Helm 3:
mv /usr/local/bin/helm /usr/local/bin/helm2
and after installing Helm 3:
mv /usr/local/bin/helm /usr/local/bin/helm3
Now my environment knows helm2 and helm3. It’s possible to migrate from helm 2 to helm 3 but I wanted an emergency option to be able to re-install Component Pack if needed. helm2 list shows the Component Pack installs. helm3 list will show all the new stuff.

I’m lazy. I already have a working nfs server in my environment. I don’t want to handle every single pv/pvc manually. That’s why I use the nfs client provisioner. I cloned the repo and applied the 3 yaml files. I updated the deploy\deployment.yaml with the values for my nfs server.
kubectl apply -f deploy\class.yaml
kubectl apply -f deploy\deployment.yaml
kubectl apply -f deploy\rbac.yaml
kubectl patch storageclass managed-nfs-storage -p '{"metadata": {"annotations":{"storageclass.kubernetes.io/is-default-class":"true"}}}'

The last line defines the new storage class as default.

get the yaml and add the –kubelet-insecure-tls to the args.
I was not able to get the metrics pod up without this. Probably proper certificates with all the right SAN’s would help. But as this is only in my lab, I don’t care.

wget https://github.com/kubernetes-sigs/metrics-server/releases/download/v0.4.1/components.yaml

- args:
- --cert-dir=/tmp
- --secure-port=4443
- --kubelet-preferred-address-types=InternalIP,ExternalIP,Hostname
- --kubelet-use-node-status-port
- --kubelet-insecure-tls
kubectl apply -f components.yaml

Now you should get the metrics pod in the kube-system namespace.

helm3 show values traefik/traefik > values.yml to get the variables from the helm chart.

In order to prevent conflicts between the different ingress controllers I added this ingressClass.
Save it in ic.yaml and kubectl apply -f ic.yaml

apiVersion: networking.k8s.io/v1beta1
kind: IngressClass
name: traefik-lb
controller: traefik.io/ingress-controller

There are 2 ingress controllers on my system now Traefik and cnx-ingress.

I defined the listening ports for web and websecure as 31080 and 31443 with
kubectl edit svc traefik.

There’s also a dashboard available for traefik.

There are a lot of tutorials out there on how to install and configure prometheus.

So the compressed version:

helm3 repo add stable https://charts.helm.sh/stable
helm3 repo add prometheus-community https://prometheus-community.github.io/helm-charts
helm3 repo update
helm3 show values prometheus-community/kube-prometheus-stack > values.yaml

edit values.yaml file:
– enable the ingress creation, add the ingressClassName: traefik-lb and define the hostname
– assign the volumeclaimtemplates the storage class, managed-nfs-storage in my case

storageClassName: managed-nfs-storage
accessModes: ["ReadWriteOnce"]
storage: 20Gi
# selector: {}

kubectl create namespace monitoring
helm3 install prometheus prometheus-community/kube-prometheus-stack -n monitoring -f values.yaml
helm3 install metrics-adapter prometheus-community/prometheus-adapter -n monitoring

update the grafana ingress, add the ingressClassName
kubectl -n monitoring edit ingress prometheus-grafana

ingressClassName: traefik-lb
- host: grafana.ume.li

If you are using more then one node, make sure that the appropriate network ports (9000/9100 TCP) are open between the nodes.

Next step is to create the routes on your front Proxy/LoadBalancer so that the site is available under a nice url.
The embedded grafana has already the prometheus configured. The only thing I added was this dashboard

HCL Connections Activities Plus

Ran into a small issue with the activities plus. If you only want to install the activities plus in your test kubernetes cluster and you dont want to upload all images, then you will fail.

the support/setupImages.sh script has 2 errors in it.

  1. it does not recognize the parameter kudos-boards. ./setupImages.sh -st kudos-boards …. will fail. You need to change the line ‘starter_stack_options=’ and add ‘kudos-boards’ to the list.
  2. if you only run setupImages.sh -st kudos-boards it will not push all the required stuff. you need at least to run it with -st customizer,kudos-boards
    or change the #infra block in setupImages.sh to

            # Infra
            if [[ ${STARTER_STACKS} =~ "customizer" ]] || [[ ${STARTER_STACKS} =~ "orientme" ]] || [[ ${STARTER_STACKS} =~ "kudos-boards" ]]; then
                    arr=(haproxy.tar mongodb-rs-setup.tar mongodb.tar redis-sentinel.tar redis.tar appregistry-client.tar appregistry-service.tar)
                    for f in "${arr[@]}"; do
                            setup_image $f

I don’t like the default persistentVolume paths /pv-connections. I use /data for my test environment.
This needs a small tweak in the boards-cp.yaml file:

    persistentVolumePath: data

Connections 6.5 – Invite first impressions

Yesterday we upgraded our productive environment from Connections 6.0 CR6 to 6.5. This time we decided to do an in-place update. Updateing the base from WAS to and 6.0 CR6 to 6.5 would have taken around 2 hours of downtime in our case. Because we had an invalid proxy-config.tpl file (our fault), which broke the install process, it took 4h. Next time we should check the xml files first…

Today was “Invite” testing day. Combining the infos in the selfregistration-config.xml file and the hcl info we’ve been able to do the first tests.
Our current external users implementation, domino with an external directory does not fit for the new invite feature. The feature relies on ldap. It writes the user to ldap and then to the profiles. I’ve not been able to force the LDAP task to create the new user in my secondary directory.
I’ve now setup an openldap server for the external users.
If you do not want to handle openldap there’s a Domino way

As an external user I’m not able to change my password at the moment, but I expect this to be possible in a future update. The workaround would be to use the “reset guest password” workflow on the login page.

One thing I had to change in AppSrv01/installedApps/[cell]/Invite.ear/invite.war/pages/register.jsp:
add readonly=”true” to the [input id=”mail”…/] field, so the invited users are no longer able to change their email addresses.

Do NOT USE UMLAUTE in invite !!!!!

Connections 6.0 CR 5: ICM (mail plugin) vs. Wikis

We are running Connections 6.0 CR5 with the Mail / calendar Plugin.
The plugin is officially not supported.

One issue we ran into is that the wiki page looses its header as soon as we create or edit a page.
The connections menu would appear below the page. Only a page refresh would bring the menu back to the top.

Analyzing the page source revealed, that the lotusMain was placed before the banner.

To fix this you need to alter the javascript. Always make a backup! Test it first. Use the following on your own risk:
It’s in the file shared/provision/webresources/com.ibm.lconn.wikis.web.resources_[XY].jar
unzip it
edit the file resources\scenes.js at line 1792 replace

Repack everything to the same filename com.ibm.lconn.wikis.web.resources_[XY].jar and use it to replace the one in the webresources.

As this is a javascript change you need to update the versionstamp, stop your nodes, clean the websphere temp directories and any cacheing proxies, before the change takes effect.
As stated before. use at your own risk.

IBM Connections Systemd on Centos / RHEL 7

Starting Deployment Manager as a SystemD Service.
Save the code below to /etc/systemd/system/dmgr.service

Description="Connections Deployment Manager"



Enable dmgr at boot time:
systemctl enable dmgr.service

Some more examples.
systemctl start dmgr.service
systemctl stop dmgr.service
systemctl status dmgr.service

Connections – Mass file removal

I got a request to cleanup some files in a IBM Connections environment. Remove all the files created before 1.1.2015.
Getting the list of files is easy.

connect to files@
export to files.csv of del modified by nochardel
select hex(ID), id, title,create_date from files.media where create_date < date('2015-01-01')@ connect reset@

This got me around 11'000 records.
In the api documentation I found the required API call.
After a while I got my first node.js app. Which was correctly posting the required requests against my server. Doing a testrun with 11'000 records was a bad idea. My environment was so fast, that it sent the 11'000 requests in under 10s.
The first couple of request passed, but then I got a lot of errors and the files app did not respond at all. With the help of simple rate limiter I throttled it down to 2 requests/per second. The process will now take a bit longer, but at least the connections environment stays alive.

Connections Customizer Lite

As we are currently only using the Customizer from the stack formerly known as pink (sfkap) I was suprised to find the Customizer Lite in the downloads. As my connections 6 lab is running with the sfkap I decided to give my Connections 5.5 Lab an upgrade. The installationexperience was ok. It’s not HA, but that’s ok, as my lab is not HA either.
I only added an nginx reverse proxy on the same box. It should also be possible to run a dockerized nginx if needed, but I’m happy with the nginx on the host.

Applying some basic customizations, adding css or js files , seems to work with Connections 5.5.

In my opinion the effort to setup the customizer lite and use it, compared to fiddle around with hikariTheme/custom.css and some nasty javascripts/dojo plugins, is ok.

Time to play around…