HCL Domino V11 – Directory Synchronzation – Part 1

When the Domino® server is installed in a Microsoft Windows domain, as an administrator, you typically need to maintain two separate directories for the same set of people and groups.
Maintaining user and group information involves adding entries to both directories, deleting entries, ensuring that passwords are the same when users use Notes® Single Logon, coordinating group membership in both directories, and ensuring that user or group settings, such as email addresses and telephone numbers, are identical.

Prior to HCL Domino® V11 you had to install Domino® Active Directory synchronization as an additional feature. This only worked in a Windows environment. Tools like TDI also work on Linux, but the installation and configuration is not easy and error-prone.

HCL Domino V11 introduces ( and replaces ) a new, integrated task to synchronize users and groups . The task is called Directory Sync or DirSync in short.
DirSync replaces the older Active Directory Synchronization feature, which is now deprecated. The new DirSync feature is a simpler, more effective synchronization tool . In this blog series, I will describe the basic concept and explain, how to setup and configure DirSync.

As an HCL Master, I had the privilege to test DirSync already from the first closed V11 BETA on. The HCL team did a great job answering questions about the feature and also fixing issues as soon as they had been reported in the BETA forum.

A lot of fixes have been included in HCL Domino® V11 GA in 12/2019. There are still a few issues on the list that were not so easy to fix. They will be addressed in HCL Domino® V11.01 and later. If available, I will post case numbers and SPR#.

Also, there are some additional DirSync features in the backlog that will be added in future versions of HCL Domino®.

So, what is DirSync and what can you do with it ?

  • DirSync allows you to sync people and/or group data from an external LDAP directory into the Domino® directory.
  • Currently data from Active Directory can be synced
  • DirSync makes it easy for your HCL Domino® users to address mail to and see details about users in your organization who do not use Notes® such as Microsoft™ Outlook users registered in Active Directory.
  • With this feature, Active Directory users automatically have Person documents in the Domino® directory so that Notes® users can find their addresses and other information.
  • Without Dirsync, Notes® users must know the addresses of the Active Directory users before they can send mail to them, unless Person documents are added for them manually.

DirSync includes the following components:

  • LDAP directory assistance document created in a directory assistance database that is enabled for Directory Sync. A Domino® server uses this document to connect to the Active Directory server for syncing.
  • Directory Sync Configuration document created in the Directory Sync view of the Domino® directory. This document controls which Active Directory fields to sync to Domino® as well as other options.
  • A server task, Dirsync, that runs only on the Domino® administration server, that connects to the Active Directory server regularly to pull person and group changes into the Domino® directory.

What abilities does DirSync provide ?

  • The ability to register Active Directory users in Domino®.
  • The ability for administrators to rename registered Domino® users when their names change in Active Directory. When a user’s common name in Active Directory changes, an administration process request, Rename Common Name is created. Administrators approve the request to initiate a standard administration process rename request.
  • The ability to sync from multiple Active Directory instances into multiple applications that use pubnames.ntf as their template. By today, there are still a couple of issues with this configuration. Hopefully they will be fixed in HCL Domino® V11.0.1. I will come back to that later.

DirSync does not sync the password from an Active Directory into the person document in Domino® directory in HCL Domino® V11. This may or may not change in a future version.

Here is what a DirSync environment could look like

serv01 is the Administration server of the Domino® directory running the DirSync task.
Directory Assistant database (da.nsf) contains configuration documents that describe the configuration for the 2 Active Directory instances to sync users and/or groups from.
Domino® directory database (names.nsf) contains the DirSync configuration documents that are needed for synchronization from the Active Directory instances. (AD)
syncbook.nsf is an additional addressbook. Depending on DirSync configuration in names.nsf, users and/or groups are either synced into the primary Domino® directory names.nsf or the secondary syncbook.nsf.

To access Active Directory and add, delete or modify objects, I use LDAP Admin from http://www.ldapadmin.org and AD Explorer from Microsoft Sysinternals Tools https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/downloads/adexplorer .

In part 2 of this tutorial I will explain, how to setup and configure the Directory assistant database.