IBM Software: Lotus Domino, Notes In For The Long Haul

Last week, a company executive demonstrated how various Lotus Workplace technologies can be embedded in the Notes client and pledged upgrades for years into the future.

Some partners needed to hear that after months of noise around Workplace, which packages collaborative technologies in a rich client paired with servers to handle provisioning and management.

"They released Notes 6 and while people were figuring out upgrades, they brought Workplace out," said one longtime Lotus business partner. "Their message muddied the waters and stalled Domino upgrades for a product [Workplace] that was not even production-quality."

The stakes are not small. The installed Domino/Notes base is estimated to be nearly 90 million users.

Sponsored post

The current road map calls for Notes 7 client and Domino 7 Server to ship next year offering tighter integration with Workplace technologies. Beyond that, there will be a "Domino 8, 9 and 10," said Ken Bisconti, vice president of Lotus and portal products for IBM Software, Cambridge, Mass.

Workplace will be updated in a 2.5 release this year, he said.

Bisconti said pricing for future Domino versions will mimic the Workplace model, where people pay one price for using DB2 as a Domino or WebSphere store, but must buy a full license if they run the database for outside applications.

Domino 7 will offer multithreaded views, meaning users can open multiple databases without freezing the client, as well as the ability to "sort by subject."

The Notes 6.5.3 update this year will support the Microsoft Outlook client. Workplace, now in the 2.1 release, offers instant messaging, presence awareness and application sharing in a rich client that even IBM insiders acknowledge is a bit hefty and slow. Bisconti acknowledged that Workplace development has focused on features and said future releases will hone performance.

"The message was that you could integrate Notes into Workplace," said the partner. "Now it sounds like they're talking about integrating Workplace into Notes--a better idea. You can't take someone who's used to Notes and then offer them 80 percent of what they had in a new client."