Thursday, July 12, 2007

Circles of Hell indeed

Today's post comes from a company which boasts to move your Domino apps to a Microsoft environment.
Souds great when you read the website(I will NOT tell you where to find it) but if you ask or figure it out....
However, at the bottom of the page is this graphic(sorry if it does not appear very clearly).
Note the following:
1 Domino Server or 1,000's of mail and applications server makes no difference since in theory you would need at least as many Exchange boxes, right?
Now let's say there is 1 Domino Server and it handles 200 people's email and 6 applications.
According to this MS business partner, in order to migrate your apps and email, you need the following based on their graphic:
1 Exchange server (note they use 2007 which requires a 64 bit architecture, thus a VERY NEW and expensive server to buy)
1 Active Directory (of course this comes with Server 2003/7 but you need a new box, again)
1 Visual Studio client, server maybe?
1 Sharepoint server 2007(again a new server)
1 .Net server
1 ASP .NET server(not sure if these can be combined)
1 SQL server (another server)
and Web Services
So now you want to go from 1 server doing everything to 6+ servers or one giant monster server with VM partitions.
And you need to buy all the software and licenses for 200 clients.
Now, what kind of ROI or TCO is this I ask you?
Anyone with pricing that wants to help me nail down the monetary side please advise.
Evangelism requires little work when you look at this graphic and review the steps, pieces.


  1. 1 Exchange server. indeed
    1 Active Directory Server - You will need an authentication service anyway. Most of my Domino customers have implemented Active Directory but those Novell and Linux guys must be somewhere.
    1 Visual Studio client. Isn't this similar to Domino Designer?
    1 Sharepoint server 2007. It is a new server indeed but for some requirements IBM would advise IBM Portal too.
    1 .Net server / ASP .NET server
    I am not sure what you are talking about here. You will need IIS, the HTTP task that comes with Windows 2003 Server. You cannot bundle this because there are customers that do not use Exchange. I think this is more of an advantage than disadvantage and Domino has been able to integrate with IIS for a long time (and I am still waiting for the R6 promised Apache integration).
    1 SQL server (another server)
    and Web Services
    Yes indeed although IBM offers DB/2 access too. Nowadays every company runs some sort of SQL and be it for the ERP system.
    You too can combine some of the services so you do neither need a VM nor a seperate box.
    There are arguments against a Microsoft platform (only Windows, works best with Windows, low support for older releases, single vendor dependance, rip and replace and little to no innovation in some areas) but I would not be scared by this sheet. Not even thinking about the nightmare that is happening when you try to open some of IBMs offerings for Extranet access.
    If you just rely that customers are too scared moving to Microsoft because of the 1 or 2 extra machines you will be disappointed. The best thing that could happen is that IBM becomes better.
    Microsoft is vulnerable. My Vista desktop proves that every day but if IBM does not fuel more gas in their tanks others might get the benefit.

  2. Henning,
    You make some valid and interesting points. However,
    the graphic shows what is needed to migrate an application from Domino, not a portal, and I am not discussing Portals right now.
    If an app is written to work for DB2 fine, it can also stay on DB2 of course or migrate to SQL in theory.
    Visual Studio is the same as Designer at that level, but there is a server too which may be required under their system, unknown to me which is why I listed it the way I did.
    IIS is presumed part of the OS so I did not include it.
    This is not aimed at Linux people which you seem to side with, but with people who are faced with a possible migration to Windows.
    Personally I have no issue with extranet access from Domino and would be interested to hear more about it. Yes there are some realm and cross domain login issues but even those can be coded to work.

    It's not 1 or 2 machines and it is a cost intensive analysis when you look at a site with 10 or 20 or 100 servers of Domino that now you need 60, 120, 600 servers of Microsoft.

  3. You seem to assume that Domino companies run mail servers and application servers on the same box. For bigger companies that is a quite uncommon configuration (although I like one box does it all setups for small locations).
    You still say that you need seperate machines for every server service. If you run 10 Domino servers you do not need 60 servers to replace that (or I just invented the wheel. I would prefer the later).
    For some of your points I am not sure if you did not just invent new Microsoft tools. .Net server was the old name of Windows 2003 afaik and I have never heard of a Visual Studio server (although you will probably want some version control system if you do team development).
    Extranet access is not a technical point but most about licensing punishments. You also seem to ignore that configurations using IIS and MSSQL in some way scale better than a Domino web application (sometimes physically seperating design and data is an advantage). This configuration will work in configurations when IBM is already loading their Websphere servers although you loose some of these advantages if you do too much with Sharepoint that is a resource hog and scales to nothing (I must admit that I do not like SP).
    It is true that I do a lot of stuff with Linux but only if I take over customer infrastructure. The SMB world is still Microsoft country and it is getting worse because the ERP stuff from Microsoft is starting to sell.

  4. Henning,
    Thank you for your comments. I was expecting to find more and will put your thoughts to better usage as I prepare my presentation so I am not across the board but very specific to my clients.

    I admit my mistake on Visual Basic server, it is a server in name or a family of applications, not being an application developer I sometimes take products at their word, yet MS claimed ( a new Family of VB Servers (whatever that means) are coming out, try the beta.
    I was stating what if you only had 1 server(like a small office) or had many servers. Having worked on distributed and centralized systems, my educated guess is if you were distributed with Domino you most likely will be distributed with Microsoft, so yes 60 servers becomes reality(or at least some numbers will be required).
    Scaling HTTP is not the issue of the discussion, I will not say IIS is a better server than Apache which is under Domino. You are correct about speed and procesing being seperate and most people agree, yet not every company has the luxury/expense.
    Again I was working solely with Domino applications which do not necessarily need http. In my experience Domino holds up well enough on HTTP for intranets of a few 1,000 people, but for larger external access there are better solutions ins ome cases and then connect using a Portal. But again this was not about that aspect either.

    I agree with you about Sharepoint and have outlined its issues in other areas on the net. It is limited in size/scale and resources as you point out.

    I agree entirely with you about the SMB and ERP aspect of Microsoft's marketing. IBM is late to catch on to SMB and hopefully with some recent changes this year will start making headway again to SMB.