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IBM showcases Notes/Domino 8.5; new products at Lotusphere

At Lotusphere 2008, IBM disclosed updates on Notes and Domino 8.5 and a mashup tool for end users.

ORLANDO -- Last year, IBM focused its Lotus/Domino news on the user experience. This time around, IT administrators get most of the goods.

IBM touted improved performance features plus tweaks in both versions 8.0.1 and the 8.5 upgrade of the collaboration platform. In version 8.0.1, IBM promised 30% I/O bandwidth reduction and a 30% CPU reduction, as well as Ajax-based Domino Web access for those with low bandwidth. Version 8.0.1 will release in February. IBM Lotus Notes and Domino v. 8.5 will ship in mid 2008.

In version 8.5, back-up costs will also be cut by up to 35% as a result of attachment storage tweaks, said Russ Holden, Domino chief architect.

With response times slowing down as more users are added, John Johansen, an IT administrator with Convergens A/S in Denmark, said he welcomes the performance improvements.

"We experience problems with response times because the databases are getting too large, so anything [Lotus/Domino] can do to reduce the storage size or utilize CPU better … that's important," Johansen said.

Holden told Domino administrators there would be more "directory freedom" and better identity management in the area of password resets, but declined to offer details.

Many Domino administrators said they were relieved to hear Domino Designer would be upgraded to the Lotus Expeditor and Eclipse client.

"It's a leap forward for [IBM] in terms of developing for Web 2.0," said Bobby Menon, a developer with Prolifics, a portal developer and consulting company based in New York.

A new email security application for antivirus and antispam called IBM Lotus Protector will also make an appearance in 8.5. Beyond offering details about Notes and Domino 8.5, IBM discussed a partnership with SAP to integrate the ERP vendor's business suite with the Lotus Notes client.

"Applications will be delivered from the SAP server to the Notes client, and there will be no need to switch to another application," said Mike Rhodin, IBM/Lotus Software general manager.

IBM introduced a product for developers called Lotus Mashups. The new tool gives users an easy way to build composite applications that they can share with others and publish to their own or a shared workspace. One analyst said he wondered if IT administrators would be concerned by the possible security and management implications that may arise.

"[The mashup tool] will take some of the development work off of developers by giving that kind of power to end users," said Brad Shimmin, an analyst with Current Analysis in Sterling, Va. "The trick for IT will be setting the right policies to secure and manage what the users are creating and sharing."

IBM also released Foundation, a line of small business collaboration software servers. The software that will reside on the server is as yet undetermined, Rhodin said, adding only that some elements that would make sense are Domino mail, FileNet and Office productivity tools, while the hardware will be Intel-based with a Linux core.

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