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Lotus exec: DB2 upgrade a boon for Notes

According to a Lotus executive, the enhancements to DB2 Content Manager that were announced last week will allow Domino shops to federate their databases and present Domino-based content more easily. It's also possible to present objects stored in secure Domino.doc libraries via WebSphere Portal.

SOMERS, N.Y. -- Last week, IBM Corp. announced enhancements to DB2 Content Manager that creates more ties with other applications in the IBM portfolio, including Lotus. spoke with Don Harbison, Lotus Software's senior marketing manager for knowledge discovery solutions, to explain how the changes might benefit Domino shops. How will the changes to the DB2 product line impact Lotus products?
Harbison: I'll assume you've followed the NextGen story [IBM's effort to redesign its software portfolio using Java 2 Enterprise Edition and Web services standards; the new portfolio includes a J2EE-based edition of Domino slated for release in 2004], and this message is built on top of that. We have some customers who are experiencing some particular benefits from pulling their content out of the Notes .nsf and presenting it in a managed environment [featuring DB2 Content Manager] to end users, including Deustche Bank in Frankfurt [and] the federal government of Canada in Ottawa. They're learning how to pull information out of Notes databases and present it to their citizens using DB2 Content Manager, so they can see how their health care system affects them. Does encouraging Domino shops to pull information out of the Notes .nsf feed the fear of some that Notes and Domino are going away?
Harbison: Not at all. If anything, it's a longevity message. As you know, we've got all kinds of connectors that provide enterprise integration for Lotus applications. Over the course of IBM's timeline with Lotus, we've had offerings that have been brought from the relational world and integrated with Domino solutions.

In the case of Content Manager, we've got a more technically sophisticated situation. In the context of an end-to-end content management solution, you have to focus on Notes and Domino. They're elements that pre-exist in these shops, and our customers don't want to endure the expense and complexity of leveraging content. They just want more integration capabilities. Using DB2, you can federate content repositories and present content in a unified fashion. For Lotus customers, we're seeing it all together. We're assuring them that this is about helping [content] live wherever it needs to live. Can you elaborate on the integration aspect? How would DB2 Content Manager 8.2 would be integrated in Notes and Domino shops?
Harbison: We're protecting the Lotus customers' investments in their applications but, at the same time, there's always that choice to opt into an external stack. In the case of Domino.doc and DB2, we unify the actual repositories, federating them using a number of technologies such as IBM DB2 CommonStore. It's an enhanced technology that actually bridges the Domino.doc .nsf [files], and can actually bring that content together for use by DB2 Content Manager. With WebSphere Portal Content Publisher, through the Domino.doc APIs you can present objects that are stored in secure Domino.doc libraries and then make them available through a portal. How does this new initiative to manage content with DB2 compare with the Lotus Knowledge Discovery System that eventually became K-Station and Knowledge Discovery Server? Why is this strategy poised for more success?
Harbison: That just reflects changing market conditions and what we've learned as we brought these innovative products to market: the portal is becoming the aggregation point of what we like to call IBM e-business on-demand. Following WebSphere Portal 4.1, that's when we [can expect] the actual delivery of Lotus product components within WebSphere Portal. You can now buy either version 4.1 or version 4.2 and get Sametime instant messaging and QuickPlace team workspace capabilities. Similarly, Domino.doc has portlet capabilities. You can use a portal and access Domino.doc libraries. That's not brand new -- we have technical notes on it -- but it's not something commonly known by the Lotus customer base.


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