Introduction to Free Busy Lookup
I have just completed the Free Busy (FreeBusy) connection between Microsoft Exchange 2007 SP2 and Domino r8.0.2. This was in combination with a customised MS Transporter Suite setup involving sub-domain routing. And a little help from a Domino r7.0.x server.
I failed to find exact instructions on how to successfully implement this on the web – however there is plenty of related information on this topic, but no overall one solution worked for me. So here is my implementation for those of you struggling with this seemingly complex task. I have tried to focus on the key areas only, but can add extra steps if you ask.
This will also work in a mixed Exchange 2007 / Exchange 2010 environment, so should be useful for those people who have been waiting for Exchange 2010 before moving off Domino. Note that if you want to use this for a migration to Exchange 2010, then you must install an Exchange 2007 server as the first Exchange Server in the Exchange Organization. You cannot add an Exchange 2007 server into an Exchange 2010-only Organization.
Ensure you have the MS Transporter documentation and there is also a good MSExchange.org article covering this. Just ensure you use my steps and only refer to the other docs when asked or for reference/background.
Section A – Basics
Install Lotus Notes 8.0.2 Client on the nominated Exchange 2007 Hub Transport Server, and configure it with an administrator-level ID file against Domino.
Install 64-bit Transporter Suite on the nominated Exchange 2007 Hub Transport Server.
Follow the sub-domain routing model in the Microsoft Transporter documentation. Use Exchange as the Foreign Domain name, and use mail.box as the target for mail routing and calendaring requests. Do not attempt the Transporter Free Busy setup steps at this point.
Modify the TBL files as per my blog post on that topic, giving you addresses of type:
<firstname>.<lastname>@exchange.contuso.com to represent the Exchange mailboxes in the Domino Address Book.
<firstname>.<lastname>@notes.contuso.com to represent the Domino mailboxes in the Exchange Global Address Book.
Test mail routing between the two. Do not proceed until this is working.
Ensure you have a Public Folder in Exchange 2007 and test it works within Exchange for Free Busy by using Outlook 2003 between two Exchange mailboxes. One Public Folder is enough at this stage. Don’t complicate matters by having more.
Ensure the native Exchange 2007 Availability Services are working by checking Free Busy between mailboxes using Outlook Web Access.
Section B – Domino
Evidence suggests that this solution will work on a Domino 8.0.2 server. However, I found best results with a Domino 7.0.x server as the connection point for Free Busy. Your Notes Admin person will need to help provision one, or they may be one you can use already.
Ensure the MS Transporter steps are followed in relation to sub-domain routing on Domino, especially the provisioning of @notes.contuso.com as a valid alias address for all Notes people. There are other vital steps covering the Rich Text formatting as well. Do all steps carefully.
You only need one Foreign Domain Document called “Exchange”. Do not create any additional ones.
Install the 32-bit Transporter files onto the nominated Domino 7.0.x server, and modify the NOTES.INI file as per the Transporter documentation, but use the mail.box not the Foreign Domain name in the EXCALCON string.
Example: EXCALCON <server FQDN> MAIL.BOX 1
Then re-start the Domino service, and check the Console. Using the “1″ adds extra logging. You will see an error concerning the Exchange Free Busy Connector. Don’t worry, we will configure that next, and then re-start the Domino service again later.
Section C – Exchange Free Busy Connector
On the Exchange 2007 Hub Transport Server, add the Free Busy Connector to the Transporter Connector, and add the NOTES.CONTUSO.COM and CONTUSO.COM namespaces. Set the Cache and Timeout values on the General Tab to zero. Set the Schedule to Every 30 minutes. Stop the Directory Connector service, and start the Free Busy Connector service. Then start the Directory Connector Service. The order here is important.
Then re-start the Domino service on the Domino 7.0.x Server, and check the Domino Console. There should be no errors in relation to the Exchange Free Busy service.
Section D – Test Free Busy
At this stage you can use any Outlook client (Outlook 2003, 2007, or OWA) to test a Free Busy look up against a Notes mail address entry in the Global Address List. This should work, and is the easier direction to get this service working successfully.
If you test a Free Busy look-up from Domino to Exchange I expect it to fail at this point. Many people reach this point, and no further. This leads to the key to the solution.
Section E – The Key
I discovered that by further editing my custom TBL DirSync files to ensure that any Exchange mailbox had a Domino Person Record with a Forwarding Address of the format:
Was the key to success, and allowed successful Free Busy lookups to that Exchange mailbox. Don’t forget to ensure there are some test appointments in the Exchange mailbox you are testing against.
Edit the ExchangeToDomino.TBL file line entry as follows (note: do not do a copy&paste of this as it will not work – see blog comment, you must type in it in manually!):
FwdAddr = STRIP(PriSMTP, “@”, “L”, “R”) “@exchange.contuso.com@exchange”
Then, re-run a full Dir Sync in the direction of Exchange to Domino, and check that the Person Records are updated with this new address format.
Re-start your Domino client and re-test a Free Busy look up. And check the Domino Console for signs of a look-up. This should now magically work.
A good tip for trying to get Free/Busy lookups working from Domino to Exchange is to manually enter the Exchange mailbox address into the Notes Client when creating a new appointment, as this gives you the chance to try different target address formats without having to waste time changing the Dir Sync operation.
For example, you could enter an attendee address of:
And see which one works.
Once you have hit upon a successful target address then you can retrospectively configure Dir Sync to present the required forwarding addresses on the Notes Person Records.
Different versions of Domino seen to demand different settings to make Free Busy work, so it pays to be familiar with the information presented here, and to experiment to get a result.
Let me know if this worked for you, or any updates required to this article.