Blogger: Bill Pray
During the opening keynote of Lotusphere 2010 Kevin Cavanaugh, Vice President of Messaging & Collaboration Software, announced that LotusLIve Notes is “making major changes.” IBM will begin offering full Notes and Domino as secure, multi-tenant services. What this means is that IBM is rebuilding Domino.
Rebuilding Domino for LotusLive is the next step for IBM and not unexpected. The current offering is a dedicated service, requiring the minimum purchase of 1,000 users. Domino has a decade plus of design and development as an on-premise solution, but the new market opportunity is SaaS e-mail. In order for IBM to compete, it has to rebuild Domino to be multi-tenant capable because winning in the SaaS e-mail market is going to require that IBM reach economies of scale to compete at the price points that other vendors are hitting with their offerings and still be profitable.
Some of the enhancements that IBM talked about during one of the sessions are:
- Simpler administration through a web browser instead of the administration client – One the most significant areas that can reduce overhead for e-mail systems is making management easier. This also sets IBM up to potentially create role-based administration and extend those capabilities from LotusLive Notes to customers.
- Local replica moving to local cache – This enhancements improves the client / server communications through reducing traffic. IBM is also adding a traffic control throttle on the server side. This will help LotusLive Notes maintain performance.
- Improvements to failover and failback – High availability is a must for SaaS e-mail. Going down in the SaaS world attracts a lot of unwanted attention, as Google as learned.
- SAML-based single signon for both services and on-premises – Enhances the hybrid model of working with on-premise and SaaS solutions. The users signs on once and everything works, no matter where it is delivered from.
- Storage improvements – Driving the costs of storage down through optimization helps IBM to cut its costs for LotusLive and compete.
- Automated user provisioning – A must for SaaS services to keep IBM’s costs down for LotusLive. Automating the provisioning process makes life much easier for the LotusLive admins.
- Automatic server repair – Again, lessening the work of the admins and increasing resiliency lowers costs for LotusLive.
What is not clear is how these enhancements will be packaged for the on-premises software. IBM did not clarify if this will be a separate version of Domino that runs only in LotusLive or if these enhancements will also be delivered in the next version of Domino. I would expect IBM to roll them into the next version of Domino also.
Beta will be coming in a few months, according to IBM. Once IBM has this initial rebuild of Domino in place, they will lower the minimum to 50 users, modify the pricing, allow up to 5Gb mailboxes, and provide up to 1 Gb file storage in LotusLive Notes. Sametime IM will also remain as a feature of the solution. IBM will then be in a better position to pitch LotusLive Notes for power and knowledge workers and LotusLive iNotes for task workers.
This rebuild is not unlike what Microsoft has done with Exchange 2010 in order to make it SaaS e-mail friendly. It is part of a race by the major vendors to take their on-premise solutions, optimize them for SaaS, and realize economies of scale, before vendors like Google (who built e-mail as a SaaS solution from the start) can deliver a good enough SaaS e-mail solution for the enterprise at a lower price point.