New Mobile and Cloud Software from IBM is Really Neat, But Doesn’t Run on IBM i
September 11, 2012 Alex Woodie
IBM last week unveiled nifty new releases of software that give customers super advanced platforms for social and mobile computing. However, neither of the new products, including IBM Connections 4.0 and IBM Mobile Foundation 5.0, run on the IBM i server, despite the fact that there is some demand, and that they can (or will) both run on System z mainframes.
IBM Connections is a member of the Lotus Notes and Domino family of collaboration tools from IBM. The Web-based product, which IBM originally launched as Lotus Connections in 2007, allow teams of users to collaborate through Web spaces, blogs, wikis, forums, and shared libraries. The software sports hooks into the Lotus email, contacts, and calendar software, as well as IBM’s various BI and content management systems, including Cognos, FileNet, and Content Manager.
Despite IBM i’s strong connections to Lotus Notes and Domino–after all, it has traditionally been considered the second most popular Notes and Domino platform, behind only Windows–IBM Connections only runs on Windows, Linux, AIX, and z/OS Linux. If an IBM i shop wants to utilize IBM Connections to build social computing capabilities for their business, they must do the work of integrating the IBM Connections server to IBM i and separately managing it–work that is anathema to the so-called “integrated” platform.
This was such an annoyance to IBM i administrator Steve Pitcher that he launched a campaign in 2011 to raise awareness of the lack of IBM i support for key Lotus products, including IBM Connections, the Sametime Media Manager, and Lotus Notes Traveler.
Pitcher, whose day job is working for Scotsburn Dairy Group in Nova Scotia, Canada, made enough of a fuss and gathered enough signatures from his IBM i social collaboration support webpage that he got some face time with IBM execs at the 2012 Lotusphere conference. They asked him to make his business case for supporting the software on IBM i, and he did. He said he thought the meetings went well.
Obviously the meetings didn’t go well enough to make running the just-released IBM Connections 4.0 run on IBM i a big priority for Big Blue. There’s not even a statement of direction for supporting the software on IBM i, which would indicate that IBM has gotten the message but that it just didn’t have enough time in the most recent software development cycle to complete the work. Pitcher, who now writes for MCPressOnline, did not respond to IT Jungle requests to comment before this newsletter went to press.
IBM also last week announced Mobile Foundation 5.0, a new release of its end -to-end mobile application development and delivery platform. One piece of the Mobile Foundation, Worklight, allows developers to create native and hybrid mobile applications that work across multiple mobile OSes, and can connect to multiple back-end systems. It provides complete mobile device management capabilities, as well as security.
Just the kind of thing that IBM i shops who have already adopted Eclipse could use to write mobile iPhone, iPad, and Android apps that interfaced into their existing business systems, you say? That would be wishful thinking, because the software only runs on Windows, AIX, Solaris, Linux, and Mac OS–just about every major server operating system in use today.
But what about z/OS, you say? The z operating system and z mainframe hardware will be supported, natively (not via Linux) with Mobile Foundation by 2013, according to a statement of direction that accompanied the announcement.