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iSeries not lost in Lotusphere shuffle

The marketing hype isn't quite what it once was, but the iSeries is still playing a role in upcoming IBM Lotus releases.

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Four years ago, IBM Lotus tried to cajole customers into deploying a dedicated iSeries server for Domino by giving away a snazzy sports car. Clearly, the promotional hype these days is less flashy, but executives at Lotusphere say the iSeries is still figuring into Lotus' product plans.

Officials at the show announced that the next edition of Lotus' J2EE-based Workplace line will run on the iSeries. Workplace 2.0, a componentized messaging and collaboration platform, is due out in the second quarter. Built on a WebSphere backbone, it will feature a new rich client that supports Windows and Linux and will still be accessible through a browser.

Meantime, iSeries shops -- and others -- will benefit from the new synchronized product delivery schedule that kicks off when ND6.5.1 is issued later this quarter. Lotus is committing to a common nomenclature and release cycle for all products in the Domino line, including Team Workplace (formerly QuickPlace) and Lotus Instant Messaging (formerly Sametime). This should end customer confusion concerning product compatibility.

It may also encourage many shops to migrate to ND6.5.1 and the accompanying versions of QuickPlace and Sametime. Some companies on the iSeries postponed the move because they couldn't run ND6 on the AS/400 with the latest editions of QuickPlace and Sametime without logical partitioning, according to Jelan Heidelberg, business development manager for Lotus IBM eServer.

"It makes a whole lot of sense to [synchronize releases], and I'm glad they got there," she said.

Executives are also reminding iSeries customers that Domino 5 will not be supported in the latest version of OS/400, due out midyear. The retooled operating system will feature AIX support and a modified Enterprise Edition software package, and it will only support ND6 and later versions.

Domino marketers at Lotusphere are also courting current iSeries shops running Exchange 5.5 by encouraging them to run Domino with the Outlook e-mail client. They're pitching a migration to Domino as a simpler step than upgrading to Exchange 2000 and rolling out Active Directory. Because the upcoming release of Domino promises interoperability with the Outlook calendar, Lotus execs say it's a more appealing option to those with a Microsoft messaging deployment.


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