SharePoint 2010 Lotus Notes Connector Service

The other day I found myself on a plane out to the southwest to San Diego in fact.  Ahh San Diego MMMMmm drink it in, It always goes down smooth [/anchorman] but I digress.

So this customer had an issue with the Lotus Notes connector. Well there were actually a few issues, let’s go through the list and what is needed to resolve this specific issue.  The root cause of the ticket was that the customer was trying to use the Lotus Notes Connector for SharePoint 2010. Each time they tried to start the service it was proceed to say “starting” then would eventually time out and read “stopped”.  They were never able to get the service up and running. They were using Lotus Notes 6.5 which is 32 bit only.

The first issue/situation was that each time the customer tried to enable the SharePoint 2010 Lotus Notes Connector the Lotus Notes application on the server would crash each time it was used. Initially we thought this was a root of the their problem in not being able to get the connector up and running,

What we found was happening was that lotus notes was adding a reference to the “notes.ini” file calling “extmgr_addins=noteswebservice.dll”. If you deleted that reference the notes client that you had running on the server would work just fine.  Ok so let’s store that outcome in our back pocket for a bit.

The second issue that we alluded to above was that the customer each time they went through and tried to start the Lotus Notes connector would just try to start but never get going.  Here’s what we found to be the issue.

Service Accounts.

The old service account shuffle yet again reared its head to cause havoc. Service accounts kind of remind me of “Allstate Mayhem Guy” always ready to pounce and really screw you up.

Another reason to really pay close attention to your Service Accounts, their permissions and how you use them. If you’re not too sure about it I’ve created a grid for the baseline Service Accounts you should be running in your SharePoint 2010 Farm.

So back on point.  I’ve never had the pleasure of setting up the Lotus Notes Connector as I’ve never been, ahem, exposed to Lotus Notes.  So I wasn’t really sure of the procedure until I did it in my lab environment. Turns out the first time you create the connector Service Application you are prompted to create a web application. This isn’t really all that new to folks that have been exposed to the Service Application model in 2010.  The problem is that once you create the web application using the wrong service account (or an account without correct permissions), there isn’t any interaction with that web application until you go directly into IIS.  After running ProcMon to see where the failures were happening. Once I saw that it was happening at IIS I realized it was a web app issue.

Once I got the correct Service Account WITH the correct permissions as the main account for the web application the setup process went very smooth.  Back to tie in the point of the crashing client. We never found a fix for this the client still crashes after you get the Notes Connector up and running. I guess the theory is that you don’t really use the client on the SharePoint server once it’s up and running anyway.

I followed two great write ups for setting up the Lotus Notes Connector:

Good Luck!

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