DB2/400 Support for Domino 8 is Missing in Action
August 27, 2007 Timothy Prickett Morgan
As we reported in our Four Hundred Stuff newsletter last week, IBM is now shipping Version 8 of its Notes/Domino groupware stack. The software, which is a kicker to the Domino 7 software that IBM delivered in September 2005, offers the usual improvements in scalability, reliability, performance, and new gadgetry. But apparently what it will not offer is the ability to store Notes and Domino data natively in the DB2/400 database on i5/OS and OS/400 servers.
The capability of storing Notes and Domino data in DB2 databases was first delivered with Domino 7, but only DB2 Universal Data Base, the variant of IBM’s DB2 relational database management system for Windows, Unix, and Linux servers, was enabled to support Domino data store. Two years ago, as this capability was being announced, IBM hinted that such capability might be available on the i5/OS and OS/400 platform within a year or so, but it never had a firm date for delivering such capability as far as I know. (If you know otherwise, let me know.) What I do know is that IBM’s Software Group, which controls development of the Domino software stack, did not release native DB2/400 support with Notes/Domino 8, and that some people were expecting it and they are miffed that it is not available.
According to a spokesperson at IBM’s Systems and Technology Group, this decision was made by Software Group. This has caused the people in what used to be called the System i division, but which is now called the Power Systems division when you are talking about who controls the System i hardware and software stack, a certain amount of grief, since they are the ones that get the cranky phone calls and emails.
Over the years, IBM has provided a number of ways to let Domino and DB2/400 talk to each other, including LotusScript Data Objects (LS:DO), NotesPump, Lotus Enterprise Integrator for Domino, and ODBC calls; I am sure there are others. Prior to Domino 7 and still with i5/OS and OS/400 with Domino 8, Domino stores Notes databases and other Domino groupware files in a flatfile format called NSF; on the AS/400, iSeries, and System i servers, these NSF flatfiles are stored in the Integrated File System. Putting Notes and Domino data into a relational database allows customers to keep all of their data inside DB2/400 and also allows both structured and unstructured data to be searched and accessed using the same set of tools. Basically, it allows integration of RPG and Domino workloads, using DB2/400 as the integration point. This makes it easier to mix RPG, COBOL, and Domino applications on the i5/OS and OS/400 platform.
In the wake of the Notes/Domino 8 announcement last week, the Leadership and Advocacy working group at the COMMON i5/OS and OS/400 user group sent out a short email to COMMON members. Here’s what it said:
“As you may know, in the Lotus Notes 8.0 announcement, IBM chose not to release the long-anticipated support for Notes databases in DB2 on i5/OS. As part of COMMON’s Leadership and Advocacy initiative, we are working on a formal response to IBM, but we want your reaction to this decision to determine how it will affect COMMON members.”
To that end, COMMON put out a survey, which you can respond to at this link.
It is hard to gauge the effect this decision will have on Domino sales or application development efforts at i5/OS and OS/400 shops. At this point, because Software Group has not responded to requests for more information, it is not even clear if native DB2/400 data support is merely delayed and not spiked entirely from the Domino 8 software. Given the fact that i5/OS and OS/400 shops have been integrating their Domino and RPG applications for a decade without such capability, they certainly have the technical chops to find a way to continue to do this. And if they want to store Notes and Domino information inside DB2, they can move Domino to Linux or AIX partitions on a System i box and then do integration between DB2/400 and DB2 UDB. As soon as we learn more about the situation, we’ll let you know.
One last thing. If you want to chew me out for calling the integrated relational database management system for i5/OS and OS/400 “DB2/400,” see another story in this issue, called A Database By Any Other Name Is Still DB2/400–For Now.