Friday, November 28, 2008

Fud Buster Fridays #16 - Turkey Makes You Sleepy

Bad football does too. As does TV in general.
In honor of Thanksgiving and everyone being off, i decided to just post a filler and enjoy the day with my kids.
Catch you all next week.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sametime Is Controlling my Desktop

Sametime is in control of your computer, resistance is futile
Not sure what this is about. Yesterday while opening some db's to see if I needed them one kicked off some update and evidently this is the result.
Restarted Sametime Connect client and all was good again.
Wonder if it's a Sametime embedded problem.
Anyone know?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Lotus Twitter Advertising

Coming soon to a Lotusphere Near You

Sure you can advertise on Twitter, it just takes some thought, after all 140 characters really doesn't go far.

See if you liked any of these(I posted them all today while discussing advertising online with someone):

Competitive:
Does your email server fail regularly? Never get ahead of the curve to work on something new? Still running a 5yr old server? You need help.

Immediately Followed by:
Get Lotus Domino now like always for nearly 20 years,rock solid and easy to maintain, we can help you out of Exchange in time for 2009!

Sametime:
Never able to find coworkers or friends outside of the office?With Lotus Sametime you will never miss them again.Make it happen in 2009!

Quickr:
Work on many projects with many clients? Tired of trying to connect everyone to file servers,web sites and emails? Get Lotus Quickr in 2009!

Sales Pitch:
If any of these ideas interest you,let me know how we can help you with them.If you are a Lotus organization,let us help you into 2009!

So what do you have to say and how have you been advertising these days?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Real Life Client Migration Case Study - In Progress #1


Again, thanks to some discussions I have recently with various Yellowbleeders decided to post about a client of ours.
No name or anything and even if they read this they will never know it's them, sadly many are similar.

After some projects, and general IT work with the company, our sales guy follows up with them on some ideas from past discussions only to be hit with the now infamous line "We're moving to Exchange....can you help us?"

Sales guy says sure, but you guys are losers.(he didn't say that but we all think it)
In this economy money is going to come from some funny places and at least in this case it will be a long process and some upgrades on the Lotus side will get done.

So we hear this from the lead IT manager, not the CTO mind you or the VP of IT who he is running interference for or from our admin contacts.

We agree to have a conference call to discuss pitfalls, issues, thoughts time frame, etc. We did the call and came off that call wondering what really goes through people's minds.

They are doing this because they want to use Sharepoint and were told it would not interact with Notes. Well, sure not as well as Exchange but that isn't really the point as was pointed out to them that they both can have a nice coexistence.

See the graphic on top, that was the manager. They have a dispersed infrastructure which they want to bring to a central data center and consolidate 8-10 servers down to 4.

Sure, we let them continue and point out problems along the way. BES? Yes? Ok so you need a BES server too in the mix(they want to test the Exchange Push Email, our MS certified Partner asked them to heavily rethink that idea in favor of BES due to among other ideas security and performance/server costs. Maybe a Microsoft Connector for Lotus Notes Server too.
Client: We need a SQL server too? For what?!
Me: Didn't Microsoft tell you anything before promising it all? You can't expect your whole architecture to work without all the pieces of the puzzle?

And by the way, the licenses and CAL's which are promised to you for free in Year 1, guess when the bill comes in for them? Yes that's right year 2.

And they hadn't thought about what to do with their applications on Domino? Consolidate it now? Don't you think if you wanted to do that you could have previously? Why the rush now?

Everyone has broadband. I love this line, so US centric.
I reminded them that more than half of their IT data center's were outside the US, some in paces with barely a 64k line in place. Suggested they test some point to point applications like even their email files and see how they enjoy it now because when they load in Exchange it will only be worse. Again my Microsoft BP stated that to the client as well. He does my job so well sometimes it's amazing he plays for the dark side team.

This is an ongoing project/discussion and more will come out but for now, this is a good place to start. Questions or want more info, leave me comments and I can fill in some blanks.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fud Buster Friday #15 - Exchange 2007, What? You thought Clustering would Work this time?

Picture #2, Clustering, there but not exactly there
Picture #1, Exchange 2007 still needs help

Continuing from my post yesterday, I listened to a call from CIO magazine about Risks and Mitigation Strategies for Exchange 2007. Professional courtesy, obvious interest for my benefit, but what I wasn't expecting was a complete sales pitch from Dell. I really wanted to know what does or doesn't work and how they get around it, it's the geek in me, probably should have realized this wasn't a CTO call.

Well the good news is I did get some of that information. Bad news was I had to listen to the presenter, Samy Aboel-Nil, Director, Product Management for Dell MessageOne and it's co-founder, about why Dell is better equipped to handle the task of migrating, yes he used the word migrating, your infrastructure from 2000/2003 to 2007. To be fair he sounded a bit under the weather.

Maybe some want to use Dell, but I am still bothered by the fact that if you have IT staff and don't trust them to do your work, then why have them at all? They are too busy? Why because the existing infrastructure has problems perhaps? It's not because of all the cool new functions they are rolling out in 85% of your companies.

So the 1st graphic is about the idea that Exchange 2007 doesn't do everything although you might think that because of their FUD. Sure neither does Domino, but you know Microsoft has your customer convinced that Exchange can do it all. Granular real time retention? Interesting choice of words. And Exchange has a comprehensive high availability solution.Which leads me to graphic #2.

Clustering in 3 flavors, none of which covers all bases and some of which is no better than previous versions. Cluster Continuous Replication still can not be done unless the servers are close to each other physically? And they want you to work off the Cloud with Azure? With what? A Mini Cloud outside your office or home?

Still that's better than Standby Continuous Replication which will lose data and take 30 minutes to kick in! Amazing! Where do I sign up for such sloth like functionality?

Lotus Domino servers fail over immediately and without the user knowing or caring it happens. Even across the US on 2 different platforms, Windows and AIX in our case, it just works and in seconds. And Microsoft boasts 30 minutes?!!!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Was your CIO on this call?

You could substitiute Lotus for Exchange but given my year, the % is MUCH lower for Domino
Just got off a call from CIO magazine in which Dell was hawking their MessageOne solution.

I am not happy about this. Maybe it's my fault, I expect more from CIO, or maybe I expect more from other CIOs.

If I wanted a sales pitch I could call Dell or anyone else to do it, so why bother me with this? Enticing it was to discuss issues corporations face when migrating to Exchange 2007 with other CIOs but that wasn't what it became.

The presenter not only related why 2003 was so bad, but why 2007 in some cases still is and only Dell has the services to help you. You'd think IBM Global Services gave it.

Although it was to be about Dell the last few minutes of the hour, it was about Dell from about 1/2 way through the call. You can try to listen here, but I don't vouch the link will work.

Companies are trying to conserve money, don't you think they could let their own employees do some work for a change? Everyone is busy, but Domino admins get their servers upgraded regularly and easily. Why do Exchange companies take 3 years to finish an installation then months at a time to do upgrades?

Both systems are unique and difficult in their own way and have similar issues of backup, down time slots, resources but somehow I never hear about Exchange admins getting servers updated the day a release comes out like Domino.

CIO should be providing harder sessions and questions to the CIO community out there than what is shown. In the last few magazine issues the stress has been CIOs need to do more with less, be proactive, reach for greater returns, yet they then provide wimpy sessions like this one. This could have been a solid session on what to do, how to do it or when to do it, but instead it was a "let Dell do it for you, as much or as little as you need".

IBM probably does similar sessions and I am against that as well if done purely in a sales selfish way. Speak to be understood, not to sell. No case study or client references were used either for recent work. If you do your job properly, they will buy from you or at least listen in the future.

QSnTT - When an Error Message Gets Misplaced

My Browser is a Notes Client?! Call the UX lab
Quickr Show n Tell is Back Again



Sometimes one gets away from you. This must be Quickr's for R8.1.
I received this after converting a Quickr server from using LDAP as it's Directory to Domino as it's Directory.

I am using a browser, yet the error believes me to be using a Notes Client. Has Lotus taken over Firefox? Has Firefox embedded a Notes Client in itself?

Remember to revert any changes in the qpconfig.xml for LDAP when doing this.

Evidently there are some hard coded references to LDAP or Domino Directory in the Main.nsf that must get touched (or reinstalled). Anyone who's done this let me know, Stuart and I have similar issue doing the exact reverse processes. He is going to LDAP from Domino Directory.

UPDATED 30 minutes later: My problem was a looping caused by 2 references in the DA file and removing the 2nd NAB from the Quickr server. So we are back on LDAP, now to fix port 636 to be open at the firewall for SSL LDAP. Never a dull minute.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sorry to hear about your Small...

Don;t want spam traps to block my post but you might think this is going down a path we don't want to visit.

Well let's say we keep it clean and above board, for the minute.

Following another excellent post by Duffbert I found a gem to discuss in this article from Computer World.

Google gives you a 25GB mail file when you pay the $50/yr for their GAPE product as discussed previously.

Microsoft in their new found Cloud of Azure claims:
There are limitations in Exchange Online. Mailboxes default to just 1GB. Every additional gigabyte costs $2 per gigabyte per month. The maximum size is 4GB, despite the service being built with Exchange 2007, which supports mailboxes up to 16GB.

The 4GB limit is "to ensure the best performance in Outlook," said Betz. "Customers we talk to tell us that overly large inboxes create many problems for their organizations," which have to comply with rules around compliance and e-mail discovery.


Duffbert quoted this part too, but my interest is in the 2nd paragraph, overly large inboxes create problems? You don't say? So the answer is to limit the users to 4GB to prevent their inbox from getting too big?

HUH?!

Domino also doesn't like very large inboxes but that never stops you from having a 10gb file or larger, although your antivirus will not be happy with you nor will your autoindexing function as they slow down to a crawl but traffic in Manhattan has been the same for decades too.

Don't you think better mail filtering or even end user training could help?
No, just quota them to death, no wait charge them for it too. Google doesn't seem to have this problem....or do they?

By the way, Microsoft charges you for this benefit $15/month but I guess with the extra 3 GB that would add an additional $6 so $21 a month over the year is $252.
$202 MORE than Google is and you get what in return?

I know someone reading this is saying, yes but IBM just did the same thing. Well yes and no, IBM is billing the usage at $8/month, still more than Google no question but you get to keep your Notes apps and mail. At $46 more per user that's not funny either and the real question, if you are an SMB is what is more important to you, cost savings, reliability, long term leadership or ease and efficiency.

Google Gets one from Microsoft

While Duffbert and Ed discovered an interesting set of articles which you really must read, one thing was not discussed.

In this article from Cnet.com there is a little reference to Serena Software (800 users)

Just last week, Serena Software said it was switching to Google from Exchange in a move it said would save it $750,000 a year, according to several reports.


This equates to about $950 PER USER to make this move.

In an article in Eweek the explanation gets deeper, for $50/yr per user the cost for GAPE, the premier service
GAPE includes Gmail, Google's Postini messaging security software and 25GB of mailbox space, as well as greater uptime and 24/7 phone support. It also includes other Google productivity and collaboration applications, such as Google Docs word processing, spreadsheet and presentations, and Google's Sites wiki.

(I love the 25gb mailbox and who wouldn't?)
As noted in the article Serena is really only using Gmail right now because they have Sharepoint installed but are seeing a progression to the online apps. You will notice there is an implied additional expense if and when Serena moves the other 750 people to GAPE's sharing software. 50 are test users for now.

Google is learning to crawl and it's only a matter of time before they stand up and start running....possibly after your clients or organization or after Lotus and Microsoft's core clients.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Language Translation Made Easy

Thanks to Charles, the Code Poet's post, more of us should do this.
I am sure somewhere a Websphere sales person will have a heart attack, but Google Translator is set up now on my blog.

Pick a language and poof! The entire site gets translated, and mostly correctly too!
Relatively easy, one I figured out the Blogger settings.

The wonders of modern technology never cease. Now you have ammunition for your respective country battles.
Go out and win!

No Session in Orlando? Now What?

How you going to go, what are you going to do?

Well I know of at least one company with space for you, if you want to help them with their pedestal. A little company called Elguji' and let Bruce know you want to help.
Or Twitter him.

Other BPs may have space. You get an exhibitor's pass which usually does not allow you to go to the OGS or any sessions. However, based on past experience we all know people and there are ways to get you in some sessions. No hands on though, sorry or anything requiring registration.

Other than this, there are many ways to share hotel/car and other amenities. We have covered many times the options for food, drink and other luxuries.

Oh and you will not get a Lotusphere 2009 backpack or t-shirt(the freebie given for filling out the conference review form). However the backpacks usually go on sale late Wednesday or early Thursday if you really MUST have one. Usually about $20 for them.

Fud Buster Friday #14 - Gmail is Great for Business

In this corner wearing yellow, well it should have been, we have Lotus iNotes
In this corner we have Gmail sporting a pale shade of blue a rather unGoogle like color, don't you think
Bruce of Elguji fame asked why i don't pick on someone else for a change, Microsoft is so Turn of the Century.

To indulge him, and for Phigment's sake or was it Chris Toohey I have decided to focus on Gmail this week.

As pointed out by one of the latter individuals I can't compare Gmail to a Notes client. Fine, but I can compare it to the Webmail/iNotes/Domino web Access client.

As of 8.0.2 it has been renamed, again, back to iNotes for webmail and this comparison is really R8 iNotes vs. Gmail.

So first things first you get with Gmail currently 7GB of space for your email files.
GIGABYTES!
You also FOR FREE get Postini on the back end clearing your spam, which is very nice too.
Plus you have an embedded IM client(Gtalk of course) and it's all in a browser and it's free. Really, not Microsoft Free where they nail you in year 2 for everything, but really free....for now.

OK, this is a consumer side, I am not paying the $50 for the year for better service levels. Still so far sounds good right?

Now, what about iNotes? Licensing, server admin and costs and you can easily see where this is a losing proposition right and everyone should move to Gmail?

Not so fast, we have some other issues here.
Uptime. Domiono is solid, my servers are up until I need to upgrade them or enough Microsoft downloads are bugging me to restart my server. If yours aren't, connect with me and we can help you. Exchange too and Groupwise and cc:Mail but I digress.

Attachments, the reply with attachments options in iNotes is nice and helpful as is the ability to send ANYTHING. Gmail will not let me send zip or exe files. Why not? Can't Postini handle it? I wonder....

UI. Here I prefer iNotes hands down. I would like to see some items moved but unlike iGoogle this page is static. iNotes has a nice spacing in between everything so you don't feel all cluttered.

Also where is preview mode in Gmail? Yes some will say if you have it set to show Snippets you can at least read the 1st line, but it's not the same, is it?

Backups? none, unless I offload the mail to my Notes client which I do as an IMAP user.

OOO (Out of Office) is there too, simple piece in Gmail, but how much does one really need?

Accessible from your phone? Check for both.
Accessible offline? iNotes yes using DOLS for the offline service. Gmail nothing right now.

So if I need information from previous discussions, unless I have downloaded my emails to a mail client I have no way to access them when needing them potentially in front of clients. HUGE problem for Gmail.

If your server goes down, your IT staff fixes it. If your Gmail goes down, who do you call? What do you do? What backup plan did you have? If my ISP went down I could walk over to Starbucks and use their free Wi-Fi but that doesn;t help me if Gmail is down.

If you travel as much as I do, what would you do? I usually send out and reply to emails on flights because it is quiet time and I can catch up and replicate them out to send when we land. Gmail? I don't think so.

If I had a business where no one traveled and no one left the office I would probably be running a prison or a library but real world business is rarely sitting in one place. Maybe you go to see a client and they have open Wi-Fi, great, but usually that isn't the case.

So is Gmail great for business?In my case, no it isn't, although it may provide a better case if and when they go offline and provide some better UI.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Feedjit Is Cool

Decided to start taking better care of my readers and myself.
Being ignorant of your readership is never a good thing and although some people think I should cover other areas or be more case study related, I don't see it that way.

Not that these changes will help me in what to write, but knowing for instance that I have a big following in my previous country of England does help at times.

So slowly been changing items here now that I can focus on the blog.

So Feedjit is a nice little app that tracks where people are coming from via IP and thus provides you some idea of which pages/posts others read and how much of the world reads your site.

Having traveled fairly extensively in South America, Europe, Middle East and the US it's nice to see more followings.

So far I am impressed by it and the background posts people have been reading makes me want to revisit some of them.

This was just a tech post, not Lotus related.

But I still haven't heard from a few sessions and there may be hope on the horizon.

Sharepoint, The Cloud and the Environment

An article in Information Week, which appeared slightly different in print from the online version covered some pros and cons.

The software's Swiss Army knife approach helps companies create more useful intranets, set up document sharing, offer blogs and wikis, and build a richer online company directory. This boundary-blurring nature is part of its appeal..


J. Nicholas Hoover, the author of the article could be describing Domino but no, it's Sharepoint.

While IT manages master page layouts, business units can build one-off sites without IT's help. "This is why SharePoint has taken off like wildfire

General Mills Manager of .NET

So how do we counter this? What can we do? What should Lotus do?

Sharepoint is already under the covers, maybe even paid for in licensing, so why not use it? Sound familiar? It should, Lotus asks the same question, and has for years.

When you put Domino into your organization, you had, from early on, the capability to do so much more, but few understood it all or do today. The discussion databases that predate wiki's, the Team Room's that predate most collaboration software in the market, plus a built in messaging system and strong server options all provides a great package.

Now it looks like companies want to go modular. Server for this, a server for that.

Doesn't this go against the thinking of modern times?
Less power consumption, fewer servers, reduced carbon footprint, fewer Administrators, reduced expenses?

And now The Cloud hovers ever closer and may provide the myth of all the above.
You as a customer will experience all the benefits just listed, yet your provider/host of Cloud Computing just took it all on.

How are they doing with it? What are they doing to minimize it?

Does this interest you? Will it make any difference for you to go with IBM, Amazon or anyone else?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Fud Buster Friday Lucky #13 - Exchange is Everywhere

SO WHAT! Microsoft laughs to the bank every single day because your CFO doesn't talk to the CIO or CTO about why this solution must get rebuilt every few years.

Why does this sway your CXO's mind so easily?
What causes people to have a herd mentality and be so fiscally irresponsible?

Yes, Windows is almost everywhere.
But when a new version comes out it doesn't FORCE you to upgrade your hardware. Naturally more RAM is always nice but you don't HAVE to go buy a 64-bit laptop to run it.

If I knew I had to go out and purchase new equipment and redesign my network every 3-4 years JUST FOR EMAIL because the vendor required it, why would that be a good business decision on my part? And if you argue it does more than just email, I would counter with the premise that you now MUST UPDATE YOUR WHOLE INFRASTRUCTURE!

I want a consistent solution from a company that wants to limit my downtime, reduce my expenses, and provide upgrades which I can maintain in a reasonable fashion with minimal disruption to me, my staff or my end users. I have that with Lotus Notes & Domino and ALWAYS have had it from day one.

The next time you hear your executive talking about going to Exchange, ask them about how they feel about the "solution" from Microsoft and the expense related to it that just keep billing you and billing you and billing you.

Q-SnTT - DA Configuration Reminder

Quickr- Show n Tell because inquiring minds have questions

When involved in the Quickr world, at times(ok, almost all the time) you may want to connect external people to your server.
How do you do it?
Create a Directory Assistance database (Ctrl+N, select the server and advanced templates to find it). Name it da.nsf.

In the DA document select LDAP if you need to include an external LDAP server or Notes for internal Directory Catalogs (DirCat) or Extended Directories.
Fill in the blanks. It is fairly obvious what to fill in where....EXCEPT for
the field called Domain, which is NOT asking for your Lotus Domain.
Name it anything else and then save it and you are good to go.

Why is this? I don't know, but it is.

On the tab marked rules(the middle tab usually) select trusted for credentials and say YES.
On the LDAP tab, if you selected it, if you are not using SSL make sure to select the proper options, otherwise you will not find your LDAP server.
Caveat, AD (Active Directory) requires a Base DN to be used, o=companyname most likely)
If you selected Notes instead of LDAP on this tab you would put any of the other Domino directories you will be using, no need to include the names.nsf itself, it searches that by default.
And don't forget to mark it Enabled.

Next save it all.
Then add the da.nsf to your server document on the basics tab.

Now go to a server console and type "Show X R" without the quotes.
You should see names.nsf first then your LDAP server.

Any problems, you know how to find me.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Who has older versions running, Exchange or Domino?

About a year ago, just before R8 came out, IBM made this announcement:
More than 93 percent of Lotus Notes customers are using the most recent two releases

So presumably almost everyone was on R6(which came out in 2003) and R7 and this perhaps ONLY included those paying for maintenance or support.
My luck I know the 7% on R5 but moved them to R7 and R8 this year.

Anyway, Microsoft in contrast, has about 25% or more still on Exchange 2000 which is now 2 revisions back. Did IBM get marketing right this time?
I posted about this previously here.

As a comparison, Exchange 5.5 came out in 1997, about 11 years ago.
Based on this article from 2005 this has been going on for some time with large chunks not willing to Migrate forward.

The difference between an upgrade and a migration varies but IMHO if can upgrade a software product in place with no extra hardware requirements(aside from RAM or Disk space) that is an upgrade. If I must move to a different platform or require middle man servers or other systems to complete this task, then it's a migration.

Then we have clients that have committed to Microsoft to move off of Lotus platforms, yet as Ed points out, not all have moved or if they have not entirely.

What if there is a correlation between these ideas. Can Microsoft, the epitome of a Marketing machine to those of us on the outside, not actually sell their own products to their own customers?

Perhaps Vista's marketplace issues really stem from a broader problem within Microsoft that has been hidden away for some time but now is leaking out. No matter how much money or stars they can strut in front of us, the problem may be an internal flaw.

Known for announcing something long before it sees the light of day, Azure for example is at least a year from general availability, could they be digging their own hole?

I have some ideas about what they can do, but why should I give them all of my free advice. I figure a potential market valued at $464,000,000! (Total is $1,856,000,000 based on this study from Microsft and Radicati) is worth something, don't you?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

LS09: Blogger's Lounge Update

Sorry to everyone that has been hanging on, I can now fill in the gaps.
We planned for an open and active group of people to provide assistance to the lounge.
Some topics were discussed and various promotional vendors were invited to assist.
Our intention is to host a party if you will, that lasts 4 days.
It was never meant to exclude anyone and in fact was viewed as an extremely good way to enhance communication, collaboration and just meet other like minded people or even people you have no other way to meet.
Ideally we saw it as a way for some specific time to blog, downtime, or just meet up with others.

Unfortunately, the Lotusphere team has decided not to grant us space for a lounge.
Although I did try to bend their ear with a few people, the bottom line is the premise fell on deaf ears as they saw it as a divisive item instead of a unification one.

Can't say I see it that way. In fact NOT having one creates more division because now I have to try to find or locate 50+ people I want to meet when it could have been much easier.

Twitter and cell phones will once again play a large part for most of us in Orlando trying to find another. Perhaps the RFID tags at Lotusphere can be enabled so the attendees can find other people they are searching for.

Having said all this I live in hope that we can all still come together somehow, aside from a certain BoF which usually gets accepted. Whoever handles the Blogger dinner, let me know if we can expand that idea and have it Sunday night or something like that. I know I for one would like to put face and voice to many of you and hopefully you feel the same.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Proctor and Gamble Stole the Lotus Logo!

Remind you of any Lotus Logo's perhaps?

So I wake up on this early morning Sunday after Daylight Savings Time messes up my kids sleep habits and what do I see in the coupon section?
Lotus logos!
Not one but many, then I put my glasses on and saw it.
Still, how odd I thought.