Blogger: Bill Pray
With the launch of Lotus Notes and Domino 8.5.1 this month, IBM is ready to take on Microsoft’s pending release of Exchange 2010 in the on-going battle for on-premise enterprise e-mail market. Overall, the 8.5.1 release is a pretty compelling release for current Notes customers – whether or not IBM can market it well enough to non-customers remains to be seen.
From a technical perspective, there is a lot to like about 8.5.1. A detail list of the features and enhancements can be found on IBM’s website here. The newsmaking feature has been the added support for the ActiveSync protocol in Lotus Notes Traveler – which now means Notes supports over-the-air synchronization of e-mail content (e.g. messages, appointments, contacts) to a variety of additional smartphones, including the iPhone.
However, one of the major highlights for Notes 8.5 is the improvements in operational efficiency that, per IBM, can create as much as 40% performance improvement in some implementations. Notes 8.5 was released shortly before Lotusphere 2009 (shipped January 6, 2009). IBM’s focus on cost savings in version 8.5 is a smart move and very well received by IBM Notes customers. IBM stated that numerous improvements contribute to the improved operational efficiency, but two of the improvements are significant and worth noting: Domino Attachment and Object Service (DAOS) and Domino Configuration Tuner (DCT).
DAOS provides for the single storage of attachments in a separate repository. The attachments are retrieved by reference. This saves space at the file level. For example, in the scenario where a large attachment is sent to thousands of users (e.g., human resources sends employees an attachment containing benefits package information via e-mail), only a single instance of the attachment is stored rather than thousands of instances.
Another useful tool is DCT, which is provided as part of the version 8.5 Domino Administrator or can be freely downloaded. DCT leverages a catalog of best practices to evaluate the server settings in an implementation to provide a report of issues, suggested resolutions, and references to documentation.
Reaching the service pack 1 milestone for 8.5 removes what is often the last barrier to upgrading for many enterprises who wait for the first service pack. It comes at an opportune time for IBM to stave off potential switching e-mail solutions discussions that Microsoft’s Exchange 2010 will inevitably introduce in many enterprises.