Cut Down On Directory Assistance Traffic

When you have more then one Domino Directory or if you use a secondary address book for authentication to web apps for external people then you will eventually look at a feature of Lotus Domino called Directory Assistance.

You turn on Directory Assistance (DA) by creating a DA.NSF from the Directory Assistance Database template (DA50.NTF), create a record in that database that points to the secondary address book and then in the server doc you fill out the Directory Assistance fields on the basics tab and then restart the server. (A server restart is required to turn on DA)

The record that points to the secondary address book needs a server name and a database name and for a large environment this sometimes generates a LOT of traffic as any server that has a replica of the DA database and has DA enabled will start doing lookups to the server that you have specified in the DA record.

To get around the traffic problems in the past I have always used separate DA.NSF databases on each server that do not replicate so that I could point each DA.NSF to a local replica of the secondary address book. This worked great for cutting down on network traffic as all lookups were now local but it was a pain to manage as if I did have to change DA I’d have to do it on every instance of the DA database.

Recently I enabled Activity Trends in the domino environment where I work and noticed that the secondary address book we use here was being hit millions of times a day on a single server because of the way DA had been setup in the past. I talked with the other admin ( who sometimes goes by the name Greyhawk68 ) and we decided that implementing the workaround above would really help and cut down on network traffic.

During the implementation I decided to have a quick read of the help files for DA and noticed something I wish I had found a long time ago. Apparently you can now use an * instead of specifying what server DA should look for the secondary address book on. By using a * it always looks on the local server for the secondary address book.

So now you can make a DA.NSF that replicates to all your servers and easily make sure that it only uses the secondary address book on the local server and not cause loads of network traffic due to lookups.

Since making the change in our environment the server availability index on the poor server that was originally listed first in the DA.NSF has seen a significant jump…

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