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 IBM has an excellent track record of keeping it's software and hardware lines moving along, rarely letting any with business value to customers die. That's admirable in the IT world.
That said, it's clear that IBM's app server of choice for future serious development is Websphere. If you look at all the big new radical projects that IBM's working on, they're all based on it.
That's not to say that other IBM products (like Domino) are going to be ditched! IBM does a very good job of keeping even what it considers to be legacy software and hardware lines plugging along, adding value year in, year out.

Websphere Lite One of the things that I've seen is that IBM salesfolk love to plug Websphere - they've obviously gotten the message as well. The issue for me is that Websphere, Websphere Portal, etc. have a very large foot print that doesn't fit Smb customers as well as IBM would like. I spent some of last week learning about IBM's CommonStore product from some folks at IBM. One part of the presentation was on enterprise content management. Notes/Domino was not mentioned at all. In fact, pretty much the only time Domino came up at all during the whole process was strictly as an email server. You'd think that IBM wouldn't care which of it's products kicked Microsoft's butt, yet sometimes it seems as if there's as much contention between sections of IBM as between IBM & Microsoft.

Notes & Domino have a long history of evolving. Notes started out running on DOS or OS/2. It has evolved (radically) over time, with the Notes server being renamed Domino when the server got all the cool internet functions (HTTP, SMTP, POP etc) that we take for granted built in to it. The Notes client is continuing to evolve with the introduction of the Eclipse platform in Notes 8. I wonder why we can't keep adding radical new features/functions/capabilities to Domino as well.

We have problems. Seems like IBM would like to have a single message for developers, sales folks, and customers. Domino is an excellent product that has a history of evolving, and there are lots of open source/easily available tools. IBM's long term app server seems way too big and complicated to fit small customers.

So how do we solve it? We get two versions of Websphere, Websphere Lite and Websphere Gargantua.

What does this get IBM? Something they seem to desperately want: a single message to "buy Websphere!".  This has worked well in other areas, like DB2. There are significant differences between the various flavors of DB2 on the different platforms (Windows, System i, AIX, etc), but it's still easy for sales folks to understand and broadcast. It's just that it'll be Websphere Lite on the low-end, and Websphere Gargantua on the high-end. It gives them products that will fit well in both huge and tiny companies.

What does this get us? It gets us a way to move our smaller clients into the J2EE/Portal/Web3.1 world without requiring them to buy 15 servers and spend weeks configuring things. It moves the Domino functions back into a primary place in IBM's marketing and internal mindshare. On the cynical side, it would keep IBM honest in the "we build standards-based solutions" area, as it seems at this point that virtually all IBM J2EE software requires DB2 & WAS, which sounds awfully proprietary. Having it be able to run on both Geronimo in WSlite & WAS in WSg would mean it's really standards-based.

Almost all the items below exist already, it's just a matter of IBM stitching them together and presenting them to customers as a unified package (really important). I think that's worth ditching the Domino name if that's what it takes.

What are some of the features that Websphere Lite should have?
Image:Let’s call the next version of Domino (after 8), Websphere LiteThe full Lotus Domino server (shhhh don't tell anyone) sans the webserver
Image:Let’s call the next version of Domino (after 8), Websphere LiteApache webserver (or something like it to replace the traditional Domino http server)
Image:Let’s call the next version of Domino (after 8), Websphere LiteApache Geronimo (or something like it to provide low-end J2EE support)
Image:Let’s call the next version of Domino (after 8), Websphere LiteJetspeed/Pluto (or something like it to provide low-end jsr 168/286 support)
Image:Let’s call the next version of Domino (after 8), Websphere LiteA JDBC driver that allows Java/J2EE apps to talk to either DB2 or Domino/NSF backends with the same syntax
(I've heard that this can't be done, yet we've been doing joins against a Domino/NSF datasource for 10 years using NotesSQL. Seems like that could work for JDBC as well)
Image:Let’s call the next version of Domino (after 8), Websphere LiteLTPA & LTPA2 single-signon support for PHP, etc running under the Domino server via Apache.
Image:Let’s call the next version of Domino (after 8), Websphere LiteA focus from IBM on the fact that for 0-250 users, all this stuff must be able to run on one server.
Image:Let’s call the next version of Domino (after 8), Websphere LiteA focus from IBM that other products (Sametime, RTC gateway, etc) will be able to run in the J2EE environment on Websphere Lite, including using NSF instead of DB2
Image:Let’s call the next version of Domino (after 8), Websphere LiteSimple, unified logging of everything to the Log.nsf (instead of various text files spread everywhere)
Image:Let’s call the next version of Domino (after 8), Websphere LiteDomino administrator management of Geronimo & Jetspeed/Pluto
Image:Let’s call the next version of Domino (after 8), Websphere LiteDesigner-on-Eclipse to provide really good web development.
Image:Let’s call the next version of Domino (after 8), Websphere LiteLift the 64GB limit on individual NSFs.



Hey, plus the unified colors are perfect....

Comments (15)
Craig Wiseman April 24th, 2007 10:00:00 AM

 Comments
1) Let’s call the next version of Domino (after 8), Websphere Lite
Nathan T. Freeman http://nathan.lotus911.com 4/26/2007 5:36:09 AM

Craig, this is just silly. You and Charles need to digest that you aren't in an episode of Lost. Lotus isn't secretly controlled by "the Others" and Domino isn't going to be taken over by some mysterious monster that looks like a puff of smoke traveling through the jungle.

I can't discuss them because of my NDA, but just yesterday I saw a proposed feature list for Domino 8+1, and it didn't say Websphere anywhere on it. (I'm probably violating confidentiality just saying THAT. We'll see.)

IBM is building and deploying major products on top of Websphere because it's a strong product and they have lots of skilled developers who know it. They also build products on Domino because it's a strong product and they have lots of skilled developers who know it -- or did you forget that the single biggest challenge to the Microsoft desktop hegemony in the last decade is shipping in the next 4 months? Notes 8 + Quickr + (SLED | RHEL) = Full non-MS desktop replacement. And WAS isn't needed for any part of that equation.

So please stop pushing myths.

2) Let’s call the next version of Domino (after 8), Websphere Lite
Nathan T. Freeman http://nathan.lotus911.com 4/26/2007 7:10:24 AM

Okay, sorry... my reply might have been a little harsh. I realize you're just speculating. And certainly we'll see Domino and Websphere get closer and share more functions. It's just not a replacement or even an assimilation strategy.

3) Let’s call the next version of Domino (after 8), Websphere Lite
Henning Heinz 4/26/2007 7:13:48 AM

Afaik there is no technical 64 GB limit for nsf. This is just a limit that IBM has defined for product support but I have not checked this for R7.

Apart from that if IBM would do what you propose that would sound like an incredibly powerful solution then.

One problem remains. Who would buy the big package if the Lite version would be as capable as you describe.

This cannot be in the interest of IBM.

4) Let’s call the next version of Domino (after 8), Websphere Lite
Craig Wiseman 4/26/2007 7:19:27 AM

@Nathan - Thanks for your comments! I've framed this with a lot of distracting info above, but here's the basic issue: J2EE/Websphere is obviously (to me, at least) IBM's app server of choice. There is no version that fits Smbs (hardware-wise or time to implement/care and feed-wise). Yes, I'm sure someone, somewhere can say that did it once or twice at some company - I'm speaking BROADLY.

I'd like to hear your or anyone's better solution.

5) Let’s call the next version of Domino (after 8), Websphere Lite
Kerr 4/26/2007 8:08:45 AM

A while back, before nd6 was in beta and the message from IBM was getting fuzzy, I thought there was a good chance that the server component would get branded as WebSphere Domino. Sitting on the outside looking at 101 IBM products with the WebSphere name attached it seemed like a reasonable bet.

A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then and IBM's software brands have settled down a bit since then. There are still some anomalies; I'm never very sure where WebSphere Portal sits and is anything still branded with Workplace? (Insert your own joke involving a red hot Workplace branding iron being waved in the general direction of the Lotus community)

"Lotus WebSphere Lite" as a product name is never going to happen, but some of the concept may be on the cards. Bob Balaban has mentioned that Garnet is no longer a dirty word, so we may yet see some parts of a JEE container being made available in the Domino server. I certainly hope so. If Domino is going to be taken seriously as a web application platform, it needs a serious overhaul.

As for how do you foster the perception that Domino is (or can be) an application platform and not just mail? How to you make sure IBM's own sales force position Domino in a complimentary way to WAS in the product portfolio? Well, I think that's one for Mr Brill to answer ;)

6) Let’s call the next version of Domino (after 8), Websphere Lite
Charles Robinson http://cubert-codepoet.blogspot.com 4/26/2007 8:11:51 AM

@Nathan - I'm simply speculating, as is Craig. You agreed with what I said on this subject back in December. To quote your response: "My much bigger complaint is that the other incredibly useful things that IBM is doing require so much elaborate technology to go underneath. The RTC Gateway *requiring* WAS and DB2 is just absurd, for instance."

Craig has gone far beyond my points, but I think he's making a very valid one. With all the talk recently about Lotus and IBM not making products for the SMB market I think this is a good addition to the discussion. It's a somewhat different perspective that has been hinted at but not stated plainly.

@Henning - You are correct, there is no physical limit to a NSF, it's limited by the OS.

7) Let’s call the next version of Domino (after 8), Websphere Lite
Ed Brill http://www.edbrill.com 4/26/2007 2:44:08 PM

Guys, I don't have to speculate, and actually you don't either.

We did a roadmap session at Lotusphere where the plans for the next version of Domino were discussed.

ftp://ftp.software.ibm.com/software/lotus/lotusweb/virtualevent/LotusNotesandDominoALookAhead.pdf

There are points in there about application development, but it's important to note that Balaban's new job is subsequent to Lotusphere. Things are moving fast.

I guarantee the next version of Domino after 8 will still be Domino.

FWIW there is a "lite" version of WebSphere Application Server -- the community edition that is based on the acquired technology via Gluecode (derived from Geronimo).

{ Link }

8) Let’s call the next version of Domino (after 8), Websphere Lite
Craig Wiseman http://www.wiseman.la/cpw 4/26/2007 3:37:54 PM

@7/Ed - Thanks for the comment! I AM having trouble reconciling it. On the surface, it looks you've just reacted to the subject of my post, not the content.

I had seen the referenced PDF but I just reviewed it again, and there't not a whole lot on Domino app dev in there, particulary web development.

I really do hope that Mr. Balaban is as successful at this new task as he has been at all the others I know he's been associated with.

9) Let’s call the next version of Domino (after 8), Websphere Lite
Ed Brill http://www.edbrill.com 4/26/2007 4:08:02 PM

The main bullet I'm looking at is

"Modernize Web/ HTML programming" on the "plans for Lotus Notes and Domino 'Next'". There's more, but that's the starting commitment.

10) Let’s call the next version of Domino (after 8), Websphere Lite
Craig Wiseman http://www.wiseman.la/cpw 4/26/2007 4:22:01 PM

@9/Ed - Overall, I'd consider one bullet point in a 38 page PDF to be "not a whole lot on Domino app dev in there, particulary web development."

11) Let’s call the next version of Domino (after 8), Websphere Lite
Ed Brill http://www.edbrill.com 4/26/2007 4:44:48 PM

Craig, it's a bullet in the ONE slide that talks about the "next" release of Domino, not a whole presentation. We're just not ready to go into detail, but it's out there.

12) Let’s call the next version of Domino (after 8), Websphere Lite
Kerr 4/27/2007 3:59:34 AM

"Modernize Web/ HTML programming" leaves an awful lot of room for speculation ;)

13) Let’s call the next version of Domino (after 8), Websphere Lite
Charles Robinson http://cubert-codepoet.blogspot.com 4/27/2007 9:08:01 AM

It raises a few questions, too. Today You can surface your Domino data in Lotus Component Designer, which is a GUI sorta like Dreamweaver, but you have to deploy on WAS (or WAS CE). In order to deploy to Domino the servlet container would have to be enhanced, which I was told was considered for R8 but it was decided that Websphere was a better choice.

At the risk of speculating, which seems to be a dirty word, perhaps there is some hope IBM might actually be listening to customer frustrations over the lack of a good servlet container in Domino. Bob Balaban hinted that "Garnet is no longer a dirty word" so maybe some people are recognizing their past hubris.

There I go, speculating again...

14) Let’s call the next version of Domino (after 8), Websphere Lite
Stephan H. Wissel http://www.wissel.net/ 5/11/2007 8:06:50 AM

Good provocative article, I enjoyed the thought, here are my 2c:

It wouldn't harm if Domino gets a slice of Websphere as you suggest (the current j2ee container is rather a fig-leaf). On the other hand:

All End-User facing products in IBM are gravitating towards the Lotus brand (Websphere Everyplace Connection Manager -> Lotus mobile connect, Workplace Designer -> Lotus Component Designer, Webspere Everyplace Deployment -> Lotus Expeditor etc. Only Portal kept the Websphere name but is taken care of by Lotus).

Websphere is Middleware users never will see (a WAS is running an APP from a user's perspective, while portal is visible to end users), so there is a clear place for the brands:

- Lotus : End user computing

- Websphere : Middleware

- Rational : Development

- DB/2 (IM as we call it now) : Data

- Tivoli : Systems management

IBM would be rather stupid NOT to use synergies between their brands. Just run the list of developers who contributed to NSF vs. the list who contributed to DB/2, you will see the overlap <g>.

The websphere team is for sure taking a page from the Domino folks regarding lighter environments and the Domino folks from the websphere folks regarding scaling. Just look at portal express: get it running in 45min, that is SMB compatible (ok you should have 4GB RAM and a core duo, but that is not exactly high end any more).

Also interesting to remember: Websphere is middleware and so are its capabilities (I forgot who said that: "If you can run a 'select * from orders' at the end of your working day without bringing your system down you don't need middleware")

@13 Lotus Component Designer: Check Alphaworks, there is a tech preview that can deploy to a normal J2EE container (not portal) and 6.11 will be able to deploy directly to Notes R8 clients. And writing JSP in LotusScript would offer a path for all those who got stuck on ASP.

What will be interesting is how IBM will entice smaller enterprises. It is always a challenge to understand customer s that are soo different from yourself. I could imagine, that hosted solutions are one of the possible answers.

:-) stw

P.S.: Disclaimer - I work for IBM, but this are *my* thoughts.

15) Let’s call the next version of Domino (after 8), Websphere Lite
Craig Wiseman http://www.wiseman.la/cpw 5/11/2007 9:52:26 AM

Thanks for your thoughts, Mr. Wissel!

I understand what you mean, and I will think about the points you mention.

I see two base issues:

* That's a dual core, 4GB machine JUST for portal. Smbs need a one server, easy to install, configure, administer, use, and upgrade box that does it all - mail, IM, portal, etc. It can be done - other vendors are doing it in the Smb space. IBM needs to grok that. Deeply. Or it will continue to look way too fat in the Smb space. Fat because it's software seems to require way too many beefy servers and way to much time to care & feed.

* Using a preconfigured install to hide the raw configuration complexity of a piece of software is not a good long term <B>TCO</B> solution, esp. when the complexity is self-inflicted (in the design or lack-of-design) by the manufacturer. The only solution that really works for Smbs is to design the software to be vastly easier to configure, administer, use and UPGRADE. Looking at the poor fit & finish and lack of attention to detail in a NEW production like, say, the Sametime RTG { Link } { Link } { Link } etc. shows that IBM doesn't seem to be heading in the right direction - rather the opposite actually. This is a pure greenfield product, and the installation, configuration, and upgrading seems like a nightmare. Building a product on a industrial strength base does NOT make it industrial strength if it's as finicky as this seems to be. It's a sad day with you have to have a BP write a book on how to install your product.


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