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Besides automating administration, Release 7.0 enhances the client side as well

Ed Brill, the man in charge of worldwide sales for Notes/Domino at IBM, presented the benefits of Release 7, which is designed to make administration as automated as possible.

At Admin 2005, Ed Brill, the man in charge of worldwide sales for Lotus Notes and Domino at IBM, gave a presentation on the benefits of Release 7 to an estimated 300 people, consisting mostly (according to a show of hands) of Notes/Domino 6 and 6.5 users.

The feature in Release 7 that had received the most feedback was allowing IBM's DB2 database applications and tools to access Domino data. He said that this ability would provide better performance for applications using large databases stuffed with indexes and data, but not on simple mail files. He also said that Domino users were excited about this feature because "of the great reporting tools for DB2, versus the not so great reporting tools for Notes."

But he told the audience that the DB2 datastore will still appear to users as NSF. "NSF is absolutely, positively not going away, despite what you might have heard" he said. "It's not Steve Mills' great scheme to sell more DB2. If customers are using DB2 just for Notes and Domino data, it was be part of a bundled license.

He told the audience that 7.0 is primarily a server release, designed to making administration as automated as possible. One of the features that administrators in the audience seemed to like, judging by applause, was a client policy lockdown feature that will prevent end users from choosing their mail and calendar settings. "It will make administrators happy because they'll be able to control every aspect of the Notes client experience for their users," he said. "And it will now be obvious to users why their preferences keep reverting back after they change them."

Brill also said that Release 7 has taken some bottlenecks out of the 20 million lines of legacy code in Notes/Domino, leading to much improved CPU utilization. He said that Domino 7 was showing 25% less CPU usage with no other changes to the server aside from the new code. And since, he noted, that there were still three months before Release 7 was shipping, further improvements were still possible. "This will be a major benefit for organizations looking at server consolidation," he said.

Scalability was another big plus in Release 7. Brill said that although the official release notes show Release 7 providing a 70% improvement in scale, IBM was seeing "a 300% improvement on some platforms in beta."

Another feature he said that administrators will appreciate is Release 7.0's cleanup utility for calendar entries. "If the help desk tells you that you're over mailbox quota, even after deleting mail, it's probably because of calendar entries with 10MB attachments,' he said. With the new cleanup feature, he said, admins will be able to archive calendar entries like e-mail.

Although 7.0 is primarily a server upgrade release, it was also a Notes client update, said Brill. "There's significant value in upgrading to Release 7 on the client side," he said. "So as an administrator, if you're thinking you don't have to think about a desktop rollout, that's not the case."

He said that the Microsoft integration offered by the Smart Tags Support feature would put an end to the argument that notes doesn't work well other tools on the user's desktop. He also said that Notes 7.0 client viewers and filters will support Microsoft Office 2003.

The Autosave feature in Notes 7.0 also impressed some attendees, in particular Mike Bravo, systems administrator, application servers, for Fujifilm Medical Systems USA, Inc., Stamford, Conn. He told SearchDomino, "That feature will eliminate a lot of calls to the help desk from users, and that will means fewer calls from the help desk to me.

In the Q&A that followed the session, Brill said that beta 4, the final public release before shipping, would be pre-released in six to eight weeks. "It will be the final chance to find the bugs or forever hold your peace," he said.

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