How Dave Does It: GroupWise Client Application Best Practices
Novell Cool Solutions: Trench
By Dave Muldoon
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Posted: 20 Nov 2002
Here are some tips and ?best practices? that we follow at our company regarding the usage and tuning of the GroupWise client application. These tips are based on my GroupWise system design being centralized/consolidated and my network infrastructure. By following these recommendations, the GroupWise Client application should function more efficiently in almost any situation, thus improving overall response time for the end user.
- Every item that is found on the left-hand side of the GroupWise Application is a folder. Some of these are default folders created by the GroupWise Application these include; Calendar, Trash, Cabinet, Sent Items, Work in Progress and Documents. The GroupWise account can be customized by the end user through the creation of new folders. The usage of folders is recommended for sorting and storing items that can be categorized by the individual.
- As a rule of thumb, any folder within the GroupWise account that contains over 100 items will display more slowly than those containing fewer items. This is mainly due to the way the GroupWise client application communicates with the Post Office/Server. As the GroupWise Client application receives the information from the server, it receives items in ?groups?. The ?groups? take time to move from the server to the workstation. Consequently the client application displays larger quantities of ?groups? slower than smaller quantities.
NOTE: All folders within the GroupWise account must have unique names. Creating a folder with the same name as a default GroupWise folder such as Calendar will cause problems for the user and potentially result in loss of items.
- To provide faster access to the newest received items within the GroupWise mailbox it is recommended to view the mailbox items in date-descending order. This will put the newest items at the top of the mailbox window. The advantage of changing to this method of display is that as the GroupWise Client Application requests information from the server, the newest information is brought over first and displayed at the top of the window. As the Mailbox window receives items they are displayed on the screen until the screen is full, any items that do not fit into the Mailbox window are brought into the memory of the PC and will only display when scrolling downward within the mailbox window. NOTE : If the client application is setup in date-ascending order older information will be requested first, which causes the screen to re-draw as each ?group? of requested mailbox items is received into the client application.
- In order to setup the mailbox to display in date-descending order, highlight the mailbox, right-click the gray column header entitled ?Date? at the right side of the application and select ?Sort Descending?.
- It is strongly recommended that users do not delete items from the Sent Items folder for ?cleanup? purposes. Only delete items from the Sent Items folder when absolutely necessary (i.e. retracting appointments, mail tasks, etc.).
- It is strongly recommended that users do not move Sent items into other folders for display or sharing purposes. This often causes confusion and potential duplication of items that were shared or moved.
- Attach documents to messages only when necessary. The alternative to attaching a document (i.e. Word, etc.) is to copy all of the text from within the ?native? application (i.e. Word). Open a new mail message window, choose from the Edit menu ? Paste Special, and then select ?formatted text? at the next window. This will paste in the text from the original document with the same formatting (or very close to the same?) including bold, italic, tabs, bullets, fonts, etc. (when viewed as full screen).
- By creating this type of message as opposed to attaching a file, the recipient will immediately see the document, without additional steps. This method also dramatically reduces the amount of time it takes to transmit the file through the GroupWise System, thus speeding up the application response time.
- If material to be sent is available via a web site (internet or intranet) or other such location, merely providing a link to that item is even more optimal in regards to performance for both your own account as well as the recipient.
I want to provide a little background on how and why I came up with these client-tuning tips as my next few articles will cover the details of this background information.
About 2 and a half years ago I decided to spend some time working on design ideas for my GroupWise system that would reduce the need for GroupWise Post Offices, Domains and overall administration. In doing so I also wanted to increase remote response time and provide an overall consistent response time for all users. The main reason for most of my decision-making effort was due to the fact that my system has multiple 56KB links connecting over 300 plus locations, which end up having various levels of quality and utilization. Each location, at the time of my research, had a Post Office that supported a small subset of users. In order to accomplish the goals I mentioned, I took a different approach with one of the designs (or what was a different approach at the time). This approach is one most GroupWise Administrator's are looking at today - centralized consolidation. This type of design has become very practical as email has taken on such an important, mission-critical role and the overall cost of bandwidth has come down to affordable means.
As I mentioned above, the design aspects of a consolidation effort in my system involved end-user access to the GroupWise system over 56KB links. I had to do a lot of testing and research on what the impact was to the GroupWise client application in this scenario. Mainly, I needed to know whether the application's performance over such a link would even be acceptable to an end user. This is how I ended up coming across the items that I call ?GroupWise Client Application Best Practices?.
Aside from finding out the various ways to tweak and tune the client setting to improve performance, I also found something that is VERY important to understand. When I ran tests on the consolidated/centralized system and compared the circuit/bandwidth utilization in this type of situation versus a distributed system I found that utilization went DOWN in the centralized system! Now, understand that this occurred in my network, it may not happen in all networks but knowing how GroupWise works, it makes a lot of sense. All of the multiple delivery components of GroupWise are handled at the server-side, which is a central location. In this environment, an added benefit, intra (single) Post Office communication only writes one copy of the message on a single server (always the one the user is connected to for their own access) which reduces overall traffic. When dealing with inter (multiple) Post Office communication, the messages are being passed across the 56KB circuit from the sender to the Post Office running on a server connected to a centralized LAN. Typically that centralized LAN runs faster than the 56KB circuit providing delivery that is both efficient and fast on the back-end.
Given the benefits of this system on the network side of things, it made sense for me to proceed with the centralized/consolidated GroupWise system design. In order to accomplish this successfully (in the opinion of the end-users) the client application needed the few adjustments I mentioned to make it even more efficient than it is delivered out of the box.
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