Random thoughts from an unusual company

Sametime 8.5.2 Available Today, A Week Early. What You Need To Know

Gabriella Davis  1 June 2011 13:48:15
Sametime 8.5.2 is now available to download from the IBM site.  I'll be following up this blog post with more information on installing but I thought it would be helpful to identify what you need to download (there are a lot of options) and what each component does.  Unfortunately the detailed system requirements for Sametime 8.5.2 (the first product to lose the "Lotus" branding and become "IBM Sametime") are not yet online.

Sametime Entry
Includes your limited use entitlement for instant messaging within the Notes client.  Installs of top of Domino 8.5.1 and 8.5.2 usually.  If all you are using is your entitlement there are few new features with this upgrade other than support on new Domino platforms.

Sametime Standard / Sametime Community Server
The Domino-based Community (IM) service and the old "Classic" Domino based meeting server.   If you have a ST license you can continue to use Sametime Standard and the classic meeting server on Domino but your meeting environment will be very outdated as the Classic server hasn't been modified in many years and still contains old codecs and downloadable java applets.  If you want the benefit of online meetings and web conferencing, you need the new WAS-based Meeting Server.

A limited use, Sametime-specific entitlement for DB2 9.7 is available as part of your downloads and is for use with Sametime components only.  You can't use any other database server.  You can use your own DB2 server as long as it is v9.5 or 9.7.

Sametime System Console
The Websphere-based administration interface for Sametime components.  The SSC is the first Sametime component you install and it requires DB2 to be in place and a DB2 database created via the install wizard.  Websphere itself installs as part of the SSC install and doesn't need to be downloaded separately.

Meeting Server
The new Websphere-based meeting server for web-based meetings and meetings via the 8.5.2 rich Sametime client.  The new meeting server doesn't include audio and video which is provided by the separate Media Manager.

Media Manager
Manages and routes all audio and video traffic during client calls and meetings.  The use of Media Manager to handle this traffic requires the users to have deployed the 8.5.2 ST client or embedded client.  The Media Manager was unable to route audio and video traffic to another network and through firewalls, so in 8.5.2 we now have the "TURN" server which handles NAT traversal.  TURN is not a separate download but is part of the extracted file list from the Media Manager download.  

The new Media Manager for Sametime 8.5.2 can also support dual TCSPI adaptors on the same server.  One for audio and one for video (including audio).  Essentially one for instant chats and one for meetings.

Proxy Server
The proxy server provides a web based ST client for instant messaging but it can also substitute for stlinks deployments (being Ajax based and more efficient that the stlinks applet).  Proxy Server is also a requirement if you're going to use the web based Meetings and want audio and video and it is used for awareness meetings.

You will want to download the Sametime specific install of Websphere if you are deploying Sametime Gateway (now upgraded to 8.5.2) or Sametime Advanced (also 8.5.2) or if you will be deploying on multiple servers.

Many of the new features in Sametime 8.5.2 require you to deploy the 8.5.2 Sametime client either standalone or upgrade the embedded Notes client (which as of Notes 8.5.2 is still Sametime 8.0.2 and must be upgraded separately).  There are also mobile clients for Android, iPhone, Windows Mobile and an enhanced client including meetings for Blackberry.

So a few summary points.  
  • If all you want is instant messaging then you need only Domino and Sametime Entry
  • If you want an improved meeting experience but have no need of audio or video then you need to deploy the Meeting Server, or if you're going to use the web browser rather than the Sametime client for meetings, the Meeting Server and Proxy Server.
  • If you want a browser based instant messaging client you need the Proxy Server
  • If you want the use of audio and video in either chats or meetings you need to deploy the Media Manager
  • If you want audio and video to work across networks and with public clients, you need to deploy the TURN server
  • The combination of 8.5.2 components requires you to use LDAP as your directory source and not native Domino.  If you choose to make Domino your LDAP directory you can't use the same server that is providing Community Services.
  • As of Sametime 8.5.2 all components can be installed on a single box in a single cell,, making a pilot deployment very easy to set up.  If you do install everything on a single server, it is critical that you use different fully qualified hostnames for the Meeting and Proxy servers so they can talk to each other