IBM Trots Out New Domino/Notes, Collab Chief

Domino and Notes

IBM trotted out Mike Rhodin, the new general manager of its Workplace, Portal and Collaboration group, to announce availability of the new client and server software and to stress that the road does not end here.

Rhodin replaced Ambuj Goyal who has taken over IBM's Information Management Group.

As expected, Notes and Domino 7 upgrades are out and about. Passport Advantage volume purchasers and partners could get them last week. A trial version is due on DeveloperWorks within days. Wide availability is slated for two weeks.

IBM also, true to form, claimed 500 "competitive wins" (75 percent of which were partner-lead) over rival offerings and showcased a customer that had switched from Exchange Server 5.5 to Domino.

Sponsored post

To be fair, Microsoft touts Domino-to-Exchange conversions as well. The two companies are vying for top-spot in email installed base but most integrators say there is not much full-scale migration either way.

Jim Tieri, IT director for The Holland Co., Crete, Ill., said his company worked with partner The PSC Group to move from Exchange 5.5 to Domino. He cited security issues, support for remote users and licensing/pricing.

"The key deciding point was the complexity of what it would take to go to new Microsoft technology and the myriad licensing [options] to do that. Just from the complexity standpoint, it was going to be huge. To go to Notes, I bought the server code, the client license and that was it," he noted.

Key deciding point was complexity of what it would take to go to new Microsoft technology, and myriad licensing to do that…just from complexity standpoint was going to be huge. To go to Notes I bought the server code and client license and that was it.

Jim Vaselopoulos, vice president of PSC, Schaumburg, Ill, concurred. PSC partners with both Microsoft and IBM, but determines which messaging option to go with based on customer fit, he said.

The IBM-Microsoft dogfight surfaced again Wednesday. Rhodin said Microsoft has repeatedly mischaracterized IBM's Workplace/Domino divergence as a dead-end for Domino Notes. "As far as migration, ours is a natural release-to-release progression," Rhodin maintained.

That may be true, but IBM execs in the past have certainly muddied the waters with discussions of how key Domino subsystems would be replaced with Java-based counterparts.

IBM is still trying to clean up that mess. With this release, for example, integrators can post applications natively on a DB2 relational store while preserving Domino-based access controls and replication, said Ken Bisconti, vice president of Workplace, Portal and Collaboration products. This DB2 option makes relational constructs and ad hoc queries into the Domino world if users want.

On the flip side, one VAR said Microsoft Exchange is sometimes unfairly tarnished by migration issues in the rest of Microsoft's stack.

"You cannot have [new] Exchange without Active Directory," noted Dave Via, vice president of the Wolcott Group, a Fairlawn, Ohio-based messaging integrator that works with both companies. "To get to Active Directory, users on older versions of the Windows Server operating system have to upgrade."

"This is a gray area, because a lot of Domino sites also use Active Directory," Via added.

Microsoft has promised SP2 for Exchange Server 2003 , with some major perks later this year. It will be followed by the E-12 release to be synched up with Office 12 next year.