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Full-Text Indexing and Domino Performance

If full-text indexing is a dreaded phrase in your Domino environment, you’ll want to read these tips from IBM Systems Magazine, i5 Business Systems edition tech editor Kim Greene.

Full-text indexing is a three-word phrase most Lotus Domino administrators don’t want to hear. Full-text indexing has caused numerous performance problems on Domino servers. This doesn’t mean it should never occur; rather we need to better understand when full-text indexing is really required and how best to control it in our own environments.

In this EXTRA column, I cover three different areas related to full-text indexing that will help you to determine how best to work with it in your server environment. These areas are: disabling on-the-fly full-text indexing, spawning full-text indexing to its own thread and full-text indexing for lightweight directory access protocol (LDAP) performance.

Disabling On-The-Fly Full-Text Indexing

There’s a notes.ini variable that can be used to disable building of full-text indexes on the fly for a Domino server. Creation of these temporary indexes can be expensive in terms of CPU usage and memory, and therefore aren’t desirable. The variable FT_FLY_INDEX_OFF=1 disables full-text indexes from being built on the fly. First introduced in release 6.0.3, this variable prohibits on-the-fly full-text indexes and can help minimize associated CPU consumption.

This variable doesn’t impact functionality of permanently built full-text indexes. It simply prevents applications from building full-text indexes on the fly. For example, if you have an agent that causes a full-text index to be built on the fly, the agent will fail with two errors being reported. The error “Error executing agent ‘AgentName’ in ‘DatabaseName.nsf’: Database is not full-text indexed” will appear in the Domino server’s log and the message “ERROR: Database is not full-text indexed” will appear in the agent’s log.

To resolve this issue, permanently create the full-text indexes the application requires. This ensures the application functions correctly, while still preserving performance of your Domino server.

Lotus Domino 8 server code provides more flexibility for disabling full-text indexing. Rather than having to turn full-text indexing off for the whole server, you can disable it at a database level in Domino 8. It’s as easy as selecting the database property “Don’t allow simple search” for the database. Selection of this property prevents users from performing searches in these databases that don’t have permanent full-text indexes already created. This new enhancement provides the flexibility required in many environments to allow occasional on-the-fly full-text indexes to be created where they’re needed, while disabling on-the-fly full-text indexes from being created in databases that really tax the server.

Kim Greene is the owner of Kim Greene Consulting Inc. and an IBM Systems Magazine, Power Systems—IBM i edition technical editor. Kim can be reached at



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