Vivek Agarwal’s Portal/Java Blog

An IBM Gold Consultant’s weblog about IBM, Lotus, WebSphere, J2EE, IT Processes, and other IT technologies

Just took an IBM Sales Mastery Test, and boy was it hard!

Posted by Vivek Agarwal on October 6, 2009

With the recent push to meet IBM’s requirements for business partner certifications, we have been working through the process of getting the required sales/technical certifications in a few areas that we were missing them. We certainly did not have all the sales certifications, and Xtivia has been working on getting them locked up. We already had the M197 IBM WebSphere Portal Family Sales Mastery and Related Lotus Products certification, but given that it was in my area of expertise, and I was curious what a sales certification test looked like, I took the test myself last week. And it lived up to my expectation – EASY, and I knocked it out in 33 minutes out of the available 90 minutes.

Today, I was asked by my boss if I could take the M159 WebSphere Sales Mastery Test for the Sales Professional v3 certification test as we needed it. Based on my earlier experience with M197, I fully expected this one to be a trivial task. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in WebSphere | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Does the Microsoft Outlook process not die when you close Outlook?

Posted by Vivek Agarwal on October 6, 2009

This is a quick blurb that may help somebody out with an issue that irks the heck out of me. I used to routinely encounter a problem with Microsoft Outlook 2003 on startup complaining -“The data file Personal Folders was not closed properly. The file is being checked for problems.” Outlook would then spend 30-60 seconds checking the file. While it would always pass the check, Outlook would not complete loading and allow me to read new messages until this check was done. It was more an irritant than anything else. Additionally, if I exited from Outlook, the Outlook process would never die off completely (unless I killed it in Task Manager or Process Explorer), compounding the problem further when I restarted Outlook.

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Posted in Windows | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Frustrated with Tivoli Directory Server’s error messaging!

Posted by Vivek Agarwal on September 30, 2009

After quite a break from IBM Tivoli Directory Server (and deep hands-on technical stuff in general), I helped one of my teammates set up multi-master (aka peer-to-peer) replication between two ITDS servers. Setting up replication was a breeze once we had the two LDAP servers up and running, but getting to that initial state turned into bit of a nightmare. We initially tried to take a shortcut to setting up replication by importing a LDIF into both the LDAP servers that had all the replication entries pre-configured. However, I think there was an issue with the LDIF, and the shortcut did not work out. We then edited the LDIF file to remove the replication related entries, and tried to import the LDIF into ITDS using the ITDS Configuration tool after recreating the LDAP DB2 database. We had done this a couple of times with the LDIF that contained the replication entries with no issues, but when we attempted to bulkload the LDIF without the replication entries, the import failed, and all we got was an error message to the effect that the file was in use by another process. That error message totally threw us off! We were unsure about what file was in use thereby resulting in the error message and causing the bulkload to fail. Our suspicions centered around the LDIF file and we closed all processes that could have the LDIF file open, and based on a suggestion from my coworker, we tried searching for an open handle to the LDIF file using the “Sysinternals Process Explorer” tool. However all of this was in vain, and then our suspicion fell on the LDIF file being invalid syntactically. Tried a different LDIF file but got the same error message, and we figured that the file was ok. After wasting more time on this, we tried a brand new and simple ldif file with only a couple of entries. The bulkload for that file actually worked but we still got the same error message about “file in use by another process”. So, in the end, the “file in use” error message turned out to be a red herring – we were getting that message on both a success and a failure during bulkload – so much for error messaging! 😦

Not so good, IBM!

Posted in IBM Tivoli Directory Server, LDAP | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on Frustrated with Tivoli Directory Server’s error messaging!

Xtivia launches new “Virtual-WebSphereAdmin” Service Offering!

Posted by Vivek Agarwal on September 15, 2009

I am really excited about this new offering from our business unit – the official press release went out today and I could not resist blogging about it even though I am getting a bit salesy here! As Dennis said in the press release – we have been providing remote WebSphere administration and development services for various client installations that included WebSphere Application Server Network Deployment, WebSphere Portal, and IBM Web Content Management. These services ranged from complete outsourcing of all WebSphere administration and maintenance needs, to on-demand consulting and mentoring. So, in essence, we have now codified these services that we have been offering for years, into pre-packaged offerings that make it simpler for prospects and customers to understand the value proposition of Xtivia’s remote WebSphere services.

An excerpt from the news release –

Virtual-WebSphereAdmin provides a cost-effective solution for organizations seeking to optimize the availability and performance of their critical WebSphere-based business information systems. This is accomplished through a comprehensive remote WebSphere Administration service designed specifically to meet the WebSphere administration, maintenance, management and consulting needs of our clients. Xtivia’s Virtual-WebSphereAdmin service combines a sophisticated suite of monitoring and reporting tools with expert consulting services to deliver complete WebSphere performance management.

You can find more details about this service at or you can go directly to to get in touch with the Xtivia sales team about this service. I am confident that you will find it worth your time to do so!

Posted in Java, WebSphere, WebSpherePortal | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Firewall dropping Oracle database connections in WebSphere connection pool?

Posted by Vivek Agarwal on July 4, 2009

We recently switched one of our client’s WebSphere Application Server and WebSphere Portal based infrastructure to a new physical environment. During our testing we found that we were getting stale connection exceptions in SystemOut.log and in the application logs. On digging a little deeper, our team tracked it down to the fact that the Cisco firewall was dropping our Oracle database connections after they had been inactive for a certain amount of time. When our team discussed the issue with the network team, they were essentially told that all was good with the network infrastructure. The application team tweaked some of the connection pool settings but that only helped alleviate the issue slightly and we started encountering performance issues. Eventually, we figured out a solution that works!

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Java, Oracle, WebSphere | Tagged: , , , | 13 Comments »