Monday, September 29, 2008

Project Liberate is about Licensing NOT Pricing

Ed Brill did something I was surprised at, he posted a reference to what has been a quiet program in the background of IBM for a while now, which I saw in action last January at Lotusphere and heard about a month or 2 prior to that event.
The Project Liberate document Ed linked to and the related website are aimed at helping IBM customers, or anyone in need of it, better understand the Microsoft Enterprise Agreements(EA) and/or Software assurance(SA) value, optimization and reality behind the LICENSING.

It is purely aimed at shedding light on what is a heinous crime by Microsoft in targeting their customers and getting lock in, and in some cases 100% extra fees for Microsoft doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

Software Assurance is about getting the next version upgrade "cheaply" among other myths. How many companies do you think bought a 3 year SA or even a 4 year SA between 2000-2004? Did it get them anything? no. Want examples:

Office XP, 2003, 2007? Over 4 years? 100% Microsoft overpayment.
Windows 2000? XP? Vista? Over 4 years? 100% Microsoft overpayment.
Exchange Server 2003, 2007? 4 years? 100% Microsoft overpayment.
Total: $40+ Billion bid on Yahoo! Exaggeration? Sure but think about this:

If 1,000 agreements x $1 million minimum overpay a year = $1 Billion a year in minimum potential free money paid to Microsoft for doing ZERO!

If you read some of the posts in here:
You Paid what?
Microsoft and Sushi?
25% of the World uses Exchange 2000 Bet these people feel pain.
Exchange is free Mr CEO/CIO?
Personal Favorite, Microsoft Apologizes for Vista Redmond shipped it perhaps SOLELY to meet SA's which were about to expire with NOTHING available since the previous 3-4 years!

You know this is not something new from my discussions.(Note to self, fix search box for blog)

So before you go picking on IBM and their licensing which can seem archaic, convoluted or just bewildering...at least you get what you pay for and CHOOSE to use.
Microsoft will sell you everything from Groove (like anyone uses it), Communications Server, don't forget pieces of Sharepoint, SQL and much more.

It's not wrong of them, that's just good business.

What is wrong is that, in theory, EVERY employee is being charged for ALL of the licenses in your EA. Sure you may have worked around a piece or 2, but really an in depth discussion, review and analysis could save a 10,000 person company at least a $1 million a year with a high end of $5 million or more.

I put my money where my mouth is, I offered to do Exchange migrations for free, I/we still do support for free for various people and requests, and we handle SA, EA reviews for free. We do however have an arrangement depending on how much over the minimum guarantee we actually help you retain.

You are still thinking to sign on that agreement? I know you are, because it's easy, isn't it?
Legal said yes, finance allocated budget, who could complain?

Shareholders? Your Board? Your CEO? What will YOU reply after they read the report which is going out to the top companies Boards and CEOs?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Fud Buster Friday #7 - Old Data is Pointless

Someone posted a question on my Lotus Software Professionals Linkedin group, join it here, it's the largest Lotus group on Linkedin with around 1,400 members.

They had their executives inundated by these quotes from a Microsoft vendor or employee.One would think they would use more modern data but evidently Microsoft can't afford to buy the reports since 2006.

1) Microsoft’s worldwide market share for integrated collaboration environments was 52.6% (+16.8%), while IBM’s was 39.1% (+10.7%). – IDC, July 2006
2) Microsoft's user base grew by slightly more than 17%, while … IBM’s product set has only grown by 11%, leading to a loss of share. IBM’s aggregate share … is projected to be 26%; Microsoft’s share is projected to be 62%. – Gartner, 2006
3) Microsoft continues to gain market momentum and is selling twice as many messaging server seats as IBM. – Forrester, August 2006

I am sure there is more, and I have covered some of this previously here in FudBuster #1.

Let's see the IDC report. If I am looking at the same one while it showed Microsoft leading, it also showed Lotus had a 13% gain in market share in 2006. Unprecedented if the product was truly dying or being put out to pasture don't you think?

IDC issued a report in July 2007 that illustrates Notes/Domino increased its share of the integrated collaborative environments market in 2006 to 40 percent , up from 39 percent in 2005. Outlook/Exchange’s share of the $2.4 billion market slipped to 51 percent from 53 percent over that same period.

As pointed out here IBM is seeing a huge up swell in all things Lotus and has seen the 13 of 14 quarters growth which is really unexpected in a what is considered a flat growth area. More can be found here

Numbers lie, statistics lie even more, but right now Lotus 9(Rnext) and 10(Rnext+) are being worked on and Lotus committed to Disney for the next 5 years of Lotusphere so there is no end in sight, contrary to what Microsoft tells anyone.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Let's do the Time Warp Again

It's just a jump to the left and then a step to the ri-i-i-ight.

Ok, so I show my age, but in this case, I am in the middle of upgrading a client from R4.55 clients and R5.0.7 server to R7.0.3 clients and servers.
Oh and did I mention they are still using a very old Citrix setup which is not getting upgraded(but still works with 703, well sort of).

It's like a trip down memory lane, for those who never think about how far we have come, these nuggets from R4/5:
The memo field was ALL text based,no programmatic header
date stamps defaulted to null(instead of 1899)
800x600 was excellent resolution(well for them)
small footprint
VERY specific syntax requirements (replicate server1 doesn't work, but replicate server1/company does)

I could go on, but the client now is ready to look at the future. They can envision xpages, browser based apps, Lotus Forms(a product I like but rarely get to discuss), VOIP and UC.

A huge jump for them, but first I have a long road ahead to get them to do anything.
Money isn't tight, but not easily spent. ROI discussions, open slots of time, possible retainer to assist on admin duties and train them on some ID management.

What did they get for going to R7? Not as much as they would have if they had thought about rewriting the apps and looking at the processes for enhancement. They purely migrated, finally, because support stopped for R5.

So now we have a harder job to convince them to do the rewrites because they are modern(in their minds). We will probably mock up a page or 2 of their applications in xPages or at least Lotus Forms and see if that helps them see the future.

Why should someone replace a perfectly good app, even if it is 10 years old? Because coding, processes, server, users and technology have changed to provide more efficiency.

But if you put a new engine in your car, but never change the oil, you still will break down at some point.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Fud Buster Friday #6 Cheap is NOT a good option for IT

Sorry this is late in the day, but I'm on the West coast for a client this week.

IS price the answer?

As a parallel thought, I rented a car today at Sacramento airport. Now, of the 5 or 6 rental companies, only one had a huge, long, snaking line of people waiting to get a car and guess which one I was in, Budget.

Note to Budget, if people make a reservation, you should have their keys and car ready for them when they arrive.

What was the reason for the long line? The people at the desk(3 of them) were helpful, kind and doing the best they could.

All I could think about was everyone must have gotten some deal this weekend on Budget. So they all flock there.

Now, businesses sometimes act the same way. And maybe if they see their IT as a rental car then they get what they deserve.

What if the business says we have a highly valued partner to help us make money so why would we take an alternative product which is cheaper and less practical or inferior from a technology perspective? They would probably use Hertz.

Money, is never the issue when working on a big project. Do you think someone really cares if there is an extra $100K to a 10 or 15 Million project? They expect it to go over budget anyway, by 10%.

I know it is money and it does have value, but so does your IT infrastructure and you should treat it with the respect it deserves.

As for Budget, maybe they made some money this weekend, maybe not, but if you are constantly trying to spike your sales, the road gets bumpy, plan your pricing and projects smoothly and think ahead.

Exchange isn't free if you need to buy more hardware for every office just so they have email because of it's inferior way to handle network routing.

Monday, September 15, 2008

SSL and Quickr Using Network Solutions

Edit Update 7:30PM 9/15/2008:
IBM Support replied to my questions and I wanted to share it with you.

"You're correct in that the order of installation of the certificates is important and can be confusing if (a) the CA uses multiple trusted root certificates and (b) the CA does not document well which order the certificates need to be installed.

Regarding your blog entry on Domino's selection of which CA's trusted root certificates are included, I spoke with our L3 team about this issue. They stated that they regularly check which CA's are the most popular ones among both our customers and the public in general and use this information when deciding upon which CA's trusted root certificates will be automatically included with Domino. As you know, Network Solutions' trusted root certificates are not currently included in the creation of new SSL keyring files in Domino. Because of this, I have created SPR TJOR7JHSQL to request that its trusted root certificates be included in future releases of Domino as an enhancement."

Thanks team IBM and Lotus Support for helping on this and saving me one less headache, hopefully in R8.5 and beyond.
==========

What would normally be a simple SSL set up turned into a couple of hours of pain, for me, the client is happy of course.

I will not rewrite the help docs on how to setup SSL, but the problem stems from using a vendor not listed in the certsrv.nsf file.

Why, after all these years, hasn't Lotus included some more main stream vendors I can't tell you, but they have quite a few listed, evidently Network Solutions (NS) just doesn't come up much.

Requested the certs from NS and then the problem started. Never seen 4 certificates returned. 1 is the domain, easy enough. The other 3? Who knows what order or if they are all needed.

Bottom line is phone support from NS resolved it, online documentation was not very good which is why this post is out there. I could save it for SnTT but no, I want to help people sooner, rather than later with this one.

The proper order to install the certs is:
AddTrustExternalCARoot.crt
UTNAddTrustServer_CA.crt
NetworkSolutions_CA.crt
yourdomain.com.crt

Name the first 3 as you add them, individually, Network Solutions #1,#2 and #3.
The Domain gets added as the last one in Step 4 of the certsrv file.

Reload HTTP and it should be fine. If you have already set everything up according to the documentation.

And lest I forget, contrary to what you think, you must select anonymous under the SSL to enable the ability to see the Quickr logo files found in the /qphtml/html/login directory on the Login page.

Think you have a secue server, Anonymous is set to Yes

Friday, September 12, 2008

FudBuster Friday #5 - No Resources

This FudBuster is for everyone in Sales or IT, depends on how you view it.
Following up from Ed Brill's post yesterday and some comments I made there got me thinking.

The #1 answer I get when asking clients why they don't upgrade to R8 of Domino or Sametime or Quickr is:
1) No Money
2) No Time
3) Why, we are happy on the version we are using
4) Lack of Resources (whatever that means in reality)
5) All of the above

Bingo, #5. No doubt many of you have more answers, please comment withthem, they might make it into FudBuister #6.

Many clients have been paying for support and maintenance which usually means you are entitled to upgrade AT ANY TIME. Sadly, they don't. They pay and pay and IBM/Lotus makes money off them, but suffers because these same clients are at least 1-2 versions behind.

So they spent all their money on software.... but they own it and could upgrade at anytime.
Whoah! You say you don't have enough staff to do this? OK, simple numbers, can you upgrade one server a week? Probably.
Can you upgrade a batch of clients at a time? Probably, with some preliminary work.
Can you do 10,000 people in one week? Yes, but you won't usually for various reasons, but it CAN be done.

Small staff numbers? Get help, it's cheaper than you think.

No budget? Go ask a business line how they expect to sell more with less people and slower programs or how you could provide them with quotes/pricing to their phone while sitting with the client? You don't know how to do this? Call me or come to Lotusphere.

Happy on the version we use. Hardest one to beat, especialy in organizations with large turnover of staff or very specific needs. One answer is to run your machine like a demonstration box. Make every business line person or sales or whoever come to you or if you have a laptop go to them. I don't know your business, but if you do, I am quite sure you could create a very functional and useful UI that they would jump at to own. This is how I do demo's for potential clients on why they should be upgrading to R8 of Domino, Notes, Sametime or Quickr.

Money is the easiest and hardest thing to get around. Yet, if the business line or executive wants it, suddenly there is money. Just remember my thoughts on this, it is not CHEAP. I fyou say it will cost $5,000 to do it you will not get any respect from executives or business lines.

They want to perceive value based on price. That doesn't mean to tell them it's $1 million, but make it enough so it goes to a budget meeting, not someone who just says yes or no.

If Lotus is truly a corporate solution for you and your company, then treat it like one.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

LS09 - Blogger's Lounge Update #2

While many of you have joined the Facebook group, and many joined Facebook for the first time as well it seems, not my intention, you could stay out of FB like Greg Eldred(thanks for volunteering at the Lounge), others have asked why it wasn't being done in a Lotus product.

In short I needed a fast way to get some fast input and figured it would help to see the interest from the community.(this line Edited 9/10 9pm)

Those of you at work during the day with no FB access, can go in tonight and give us your feedback and times.

Well I have good news, I set us up at Bleedyellow.com.
Bad news? Technical difficulties exist with the forum section.

I will keep the FB side updated as well as the Bleedyellow side.

www.Bleedyellow.com is the location. If you don't have an account yet, go get one, sign up and join in everyting Connections has to offer.

Using Lotus Connections 2.0 I have created a Community for the Blogger's Lounge.

Used Chris's new Lotusphere Abstract template with a few renames.

And an Activity for the Blogger's Lounge.

NOTE: I can not link the 2 so you must find the community, Blogger's Lounge and the related Activity or ask me to include you, it does not accept group names.(Edited 9/10 9pm)
There will be a subsequent "Sametime Broadcast Community" by tomorrow so those of us using an R8 Sametime client can connect easier without having to always go into BleedYellow.

Thanks to Chris Whisonant, the Lotus Connections Guru of Lotus911, and of course Lotus911 for maintaining the Bleedyellow site.

Also thanks to Chris Toohey for his blog posting and call to action. And lastly to David Schaffer that commented on Chris's site that made me drop my day work to resolve the glaring problem.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Lotusphere 09 Blogger Lounge - Update #1

If you are coming to Lotusphere and blog Lotus items or IBM or appear on PLanetLotus.org you may want to go check on the Facebook group created for the Blogger Lounge.

I know you are asking why not use a Lotus program, well, we will, just not for this part. Why not use Ideajam? See the post here and comment in its discussion if you wish.

I felt since so many are on Facebook(I invited 80 of you to it already!) it was easiest to get across what is needed. Click on the link to go the group.

If you are not on Facebook, you lucky devil, email me so I update you and incldue you.

Could set up a Quickr site on Bleedyellow and may still do that as time progresses.

Just can't be everywhere and make everyone log in to a dozen places.

For now we just need to know who can volunteer to staff the Lounge, anything from 1-3 hours over the course of the week is all we ask.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Chrome + Lotus Webmail (iNotes), Works Fine

FatGuppy on Twitter and some other people have been ranting the Lotus Notes Client for webmail, sometimes referred to as iNotes or Domino Web Access, doesn't work.

This is far from the truth.

In accessing my server via the Google "front end client" browser, Chrome, all is well. Now we have an R8.0.1 server and an 8.0.2 server in cluster.

If you are checking it out on an older version of Lotus Domino, say R6, it would not be a surprise to me if you had some issues.

Why? Because you are running software which is at least 3-5 years old.

Google, not Lotus, built Chrome with cutting(bleeding) edge software and respective versions of various code(beta java code for one) and it would not be likely that an old server would recognize any of it.

Having said that, when was the last time you updated your server's java code? Or patched all the Microsoft holes/security items? Or for any other operating system you might run?

Many are so quick to condemn but really I did not have to do anything to get it to run aside form enter a URL.

Thought about making thus a FudBuster #5 but decided it wasn't at that level ...yet.

Anyone with other testing or input please advise.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Sametime on a Blackberry, the Followup

Some of you may recall when I posted about the doc I put together for getting the Sametime client from RIM to install and be pushed out to your community.

Happy to report there were over 160 downloads of the doc. Quite a few from someplace called NONE. Must have been the Microsoft guys.

Anyway, happy to hear it has helped so many people, evidently I did too good of a job with it as most replies to an email we sent out came back with this:

"It is installed and running great.
Thanks for the follow up. The documentation was great as well."

If you just can't do it or haven't updated your BES to 4.1.6 yet, let me know, always happy to help.

Happy to have helped everyone and will update you when my article is ready on other clients as well. Now back to submitting abstracts for Lotusphere.

Fud Buster Friday #4 - eMail is a Commodity!

It has been said by many people and companies. Yet few of those really understand what they are talking about. In revisiting a posting from February
this has been a continuous discussion.

The definition of a commodity, per Merriam-Webster is a
1) a mass-produced unspecialized product or
2)a good or service whose wide availability typically leads to smaller profit margins and diminishes the importance of factors (as brand name) other than price.

Do you think Lexus, Mercedes or Porsche see cars as a commodity?
What about GM or Chrysler?

As discussed previously, price is not the issue, really it isn't.
If it were, everyone and their subsidiaries would be using Gmail.

But they don't. Why? Because on the surface to a "end user" it's just a client getting email or sending it. But from an infrastructure view the list is long: archiving, backups, discovery, anti-virus, spam, malware, retention, international languages, calendaring and scheduling, security, management, access, integration, legal requirements, you get the idea.

Profit margins lower? Perhaps, but if the cost to create R8 for instance was so high, why would IBM spend the money if there is no margin or return?

Yes you could argue the Lotus Domino Server is just one piece of a puzzle which Lotus Connections, Lotus Sametime, Lotus Quickr or even Lotus Foundations and Websphere Portal complete and that's why they spent the money. Lotus gained about 13 million seats last year since Jan 2007 to the most recent announcements from Ed in April 2008.
There has to be some margin on that, even at a $1 a license, which has some benefit. Of course services brings in a lot of money so it does all balance someplace.

Today, and probably still for years to come, email runs your business in many ways. From workflows to simple approvals or sales ads. Email will come to blend more into voice sometime in the future. Imagine how much disk space you need, and processing power, to handle recording of all streams of audio/video for your VOIP lines?

Unified Communications is the key but it is just another method of transport, just like email or postal mail. But without the other pieces and parts to put it together in an efficient way, you are missing the opportunity.

The equivalent setup with Microsoft requires much more hardware and software over the Lotus and IBM approach, discussed previously here and here. If spreadsheets are a commodity, why isn't everyone using Lotus Symphony?

Are cell phones a commodity? Evidently not, if you watched the iPhone, Bold and other device launches lately.

So the next time you hear a client say email is a commodity, remind them how they use it and take advantage of it is NOT a commodity and having a system which can enhance their communication and collaboration securely is just as important.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

SnTT: Which Lotus R8 client are you running and how would you know?

I posted on Twitter looking for some help with a Notes.ini question.
Many of you, I have no doubt, either figured I was being lazy and didn't RTFM or perhaps you knew and didn't tell me.
Really I do search the admin guide 1st, IBM 2nd, Twitter 3rd, forums 4th.

Well, I have news for you, go RTFM and find it. I'll give you days. You won't.

The Question was:
If I am setting up notes.ini's for a client to roll out, how do I specify the client version?

Now we know that in 8.0.2 a new command called UseBasicNotes=1 allows you to select which to run.

Great, but what if you are on 8 or 8.0.1?

My good friends at Waresource who have excellent manuals, training pieces and various freebies trainers like me like to give out or use for personal things produced this document.

If you search the document for InstallMode you will find a nice line which states Installmode=1 is Standard client
InstallMode=0 is Basic

Now, why isn't this in the admin help or client help guides, anyplace?

And try to find technotes on it? nope.
Thanks to Genosis from twitter who pointed me to this document. Which cryptically pointed to installmode=1.

When you Google "installmode=1 lotus"(without quotes obviously) you do not get many answers, actually only 11.

Now I resolved a developer's question internally, my client's install problem and learned someting new. So I guess this is my SnTT, whch I thought I never would do.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Spam has attacked my Drafts Folder - Help

Needless to say this is a bit annoying, and odd.

Although we use Spam Sentinel for our personal email(imap/pop3), and Digitar on the corporate side AND Spam Sentinel I am seeing some strange items. First noticed about a month or 2 but now is more than 1-2 emails a day.

The 2 Priorities:

1) My personal email, multiple accounts, has been showing spam messages in my drafts folder which appear to be bypassing the inbox entirely. Nothing sahows in my sent folder either, but I know it did send, outlook is disconnected on this pc so it only gets out one way. A new level of spam?! Or just bad configuration on my part?

2) When I replicate with the corp. mail, I may receive 1 message yet the replicator shows anything from 5-30 being received. Odd, but nothing in drafts or anyplace else to show spamming.

Any ideas from the WWW is appreciated.
Like I said, more annoying than harmful as far as I know.

The funny thing is it disappeared after I went to 802 for a few days, but came back again.

Lotusphere 2009 and my surprise

It seems my hotel which I have stayed at the last few years, and has always had excellent Wi-FI and very low rates, went WAY upscale. Yes, I'm talking to you, Best Western.
Not funny that a room rate 50% higher than last year is available...as the cheapest option!
And who decided a Sunday stay should get $45 MORE compared to the other nights?

In the past the Swan and Dolphin always seemed to be so expensive, but being on site is priceless.

This year I lucked out and got a reservation at the Dolphin...and the Best Western.
Unsure which way it will turn out, but for those who think I am hoarding rooms, well, better to have an option than not(waiting lists abound). And also this way I can provide shelter for those Spherians who have no where else to sleep.

And in case you are wondering I submitted abstracts for each track(except appdev) and a Birds of a feather session too.

Now who has the knowledge about the Blogger's Lounge as I line up sponsors?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Domino 8.0.2 AIX Upgrade, 10 minutes

In my previous AIX Upgrade post although it was a great guideline to follow, I see it needs some clarifications.

In doing my 802 Lotus Domino upgrade on my AIX server, a dual partition server I might add, I followed my notes. But I was vague on some parts.

Last Minute EDIT:
Forgot to mention, type bootinfo -y at a shell prompt to see if you are a 64 bit server or not.

The Domino files for 802, now known as C1K3AEN for the 32 bit version and C1K3BEN for 64 bit, MUST be in the /opt/lotus directory if you want it to install properly. I know some unix guy out there will say, no it doesn't, but as a non-unix geek, I go with what works, so put it in the correct place.

The rest does work as detailed previously.

10 minutes to update it, sweet!
OK, if you are not already up to date on AIX levels it may take you more preparation time.