Lotus Focus and Some Hocus Pocus
August 16, 2010 Dan Burger
It seems every time IBM‘s Lotus division makes an announcement, some heckler in the crowd shouts out a crack about Notes/Domino users migrating to Microsoft Outlook and Exchange. Last week, two Lotus software announcements came to my attention. One detailed Notes/Domino 8.5.2 and the other LotusLive 1.3. Coincidentally (conspiracy theorists might find fault with that word), a Gartner report on Notes migrations became available. And that lit the fuse on the Lotus powder keg that goes by the name of Ed Brill.
Brill is the director of messaging for the Lotus division and is likely the company’s best known blogger. In his blog, Brill categorized the Gartner report as being based on propaganda created by Microsoft and cocktail party gossip rather than hard evidence. He went on to accuse Gartner of some sleight of hand marketing by presenting this analysis as a way to drum up consulting business.
Gartner’s Tom Austin, the author of the report, points out in his own blog that between July 1, 2009, and April 30, 2010, 116 clients booked one or more calls with Gartner analysts seeking advice on migrating from Notes. And during that same 10-month period, no Microsoft email customers called for advice on migrating to Notes.
“What Gartner sees is not what we see,” Brill says. “Our market share, according to IDC, has been unchanged for the past couple of years. When I look at sales figures and active customers on maintenance, those numbers have been constant and in many cases are growing over the last five years. While in any mature market there’s always migrations, we have replaced customers that have chosen to move away from Notes with new customers. We are always publishing references and new examples of customers such as PNC Bank, Panasonic, and others.”
Leaving the migration brouhaha behind, let’s move on to what’s new in Lotus Notes/Domino 8.5.2.
Mobile access is an important topic at many organizations and discussions sooner or later take into account issues related to security.
The Lotus focus on security, Brill pointed out in his interview with IT Jungle, has resulted in better control of the data on a mobile device. Things like password policies, the amount of data that is received and the amount of time that information can remain on a mobile device, the capability to remotely delete from the device have been addressed in the 8.5.2 release. Thanks specifically to Lotus Notes Traveler, the software connection to e-mails, calendars, and contacts.
Brill says mail service will be improved in 8.5.2 because of multi-threading replication.
Mobile users will also get more device options as Traveler support for the Apple iPad, Apple iOS 4, Windows Mobile 6.5, and the Lotus Notes Traveler server for Linux get picked up.
Domino/Notes 8.5.2 availability is set for August 24 (electronic deliverability) with physical media and documentation coming October 4. Although Brill says the core engine will be supported on all platforms–including IBM i 7.1–from the beginning, confirmation of support for add-on products such as Lotus Quickr and Enterprise Integrator was unavailable by press time.
Domino 8.5.1 runs on IBM i 7.1, but earlier Domino releases do not. Domino 8.5 is compatible with i 6.1 and i 6.1.1. Shops running earlier versions of the operating system should consult the Domino-i compatibility guide.
Also from Lotus last week was the announcement of LotusLive 1.3. In this release, LotusLive adds e-mail services, called LotusLive Notes, to its package. Calendar, scheduling, and contact management applications are included and are deliverable either through the Notes client or a Web browser.
LotusLive is IBM’s version of collaboration in the cloud. When managing your onsite messaging infrastructure has driven you up the wall, LotusLive is designed to calm you down by taking over the e-mail, file sharing, and other collaboration duties. It is sold as a software and services package. The general availability date is August 24, but no pricing or terms were released.