IBM's Lotus gets larger on Collaboration
via Jacqueline Emigh
IBM is banking on Lotus Domino's collaborative support to assist fend off Microsoft alternate. for his or her part, Domino/Notes administrators are enthusiastic about the Lotus Sametime and QuickPlace collaborative apps, however a few of them are biding their time about upgrading to new releases of Lotus's products."Microsoft alternate is doing phenomenally well. How can IBM respond? one in all its options is to expand the class to include collaboration, as smartly," followed Jasmine Noel, who heads up industry analyst enterprise J Noel friends.
QuickPlace three.0, the latest free up of Lotus's instant messaging application, offers extended integration with Lotus's Sametime collaborative application. conclusion users can now beginning a Sametime chat from within QuickPlace, for example, and see which other users are online, observed Tim Kounadis, senior market supervisor for IBM Lotus software.
In Sametime 3.0, additionally accessible now, IBM planned to add guide for a SIM gateway, aimed toward cozy communications across supported Sametime communities. Late within the development cycle, notwithstanding,this function was pulled from three.0, in prefer of placing it in a future Sametime unencumber in its place.
Microsoft network (MSN) and america online (AOL) are also taking into account help for the rising SIP/elementary protocol, Kounadis stated. different new collaborative and administrative elements, even though, did make it into Sametime three.0.
Many users are happy, anywayMany users look chuffed with Sametime and QuickTime devoid of further enhancements, anyway. At Ryder methods Inc., as an example, QuickPlace and Sametime are assisting a Notes-primarily based talents portal from a third-birthday celebration application issuer.
"We're using QuickPlace fast messaging as a alternative for a few of their mobile calls. earlier than calling individuals, they ping them first to be sure they're obtainable. This helps us to reduce down on mobilephone tag," in accordance with Dave Baildon, Ryder's neighborhood director of product and talents administration.
Sametime comes into play at Ryder for collaborative conferences around themes ranging from fiscal budgets to truck dispatch schedules. "We also use Sametime to find americans who are capabilities specialists in specific areas," Baildon introduced.
in the meantime, Lotus has also launched the primary version of LearningSpace - virtual lecture room, a "collaborative studying atmosphere" for online guideline in realtime. digital school room builds on capabilities already current in Sametime and earlier versions of LearningSpace, in keeping with Susan Lawler, world choices manager for IBM Mindspan options.
Lotus has been beta trying out the brand new variants of its collaborative utility among clients that consist of Daimler-Chrysler and CUNA, for example.
"now they have gone are living with virtual classroom a couple of times. it be truly making a difference, as a result of they will present two styles of curriculum and cling breakout corporations for each and every," talked about Marlo Foltz, supervisor of eSchool construction at CUNA. CUNA has experimented with a live polling feature, too.
not each person, youngsters, has been inclined to work with beta application. Ryder, a QuickPlace/Sametime user on the grounds that the 12 months 2000, is attracted to one of the crucial different new elements in QuickPlace and Sametime, in accordance with Baildon.
"We have not gotten to 3.0 yet, notwithstanding. They do not do betas. it truly is just their policy, as a result of they should not have the time. as soon as the brand new software is out there and permitted, they are going to check it in a nonproduction atmosphere. they are going to bang on it till we're certain we're getting the finest out of it, and then they will acclimate (our clients) to it," he noted.
in the meantime, facilitites management outsourcer Unicco, a former cc:Mail customer, is now the usage of Notes, Quickplace, and Domino.doc to help build a series of integrated portals for external clients, customers and personnel. Unicco's future plans call for using Sametime meetings to aid reduce down on worker travel charges, said Jeff Peterson, Unicco's VP of expertise.
IBM, however, is running into new competitors these days in the collaborative area, as well. Documentum, for example, currently bought eRoom. "however IBM is rarely essentially as involved about agencies like this than about Microsoft," Joel pointed out.
one more IBM strategy, of direction, is to place Notes/Domino as an improved administrative environment than trade. as an instance, Lotus Domino/Notes 6.0, also released this month, adds capabilities ranging from user interface enhancements to constructed-in unsolicited mail filtering and better aid for server consolidation, Kounadis spoke of.
"Many Notes 4.6 shoppers who failed to upgrade to unencumber 5.0 are planning to improve to unlock 6.0," he contended.
Having it both methods?different analysts, too, have pointed to IBM's tendency to pitch Lotus's items in both collaborative and administrative directions. "IBM has a complete product household that relates intently to and integrates with the messaging/collaboration of Lotus Domino/Notes. It comprises Lotus QuickPlace (a crew collaborative software); Sametime (a real-time conferencing, immediate messaging, and online presence cognizance utility); Discovery gadget (a search and retrieval server); Domino.Doc (a document administration customer utility), Domino enterprise Integration connectors, and Everyplace ( a mobile entry server)," in response to a recent document from IDC.
"IBM could be addressing IT administration requirements with the next edition of Domino, (6.0), that (are) anticipated to encompass improved performance (replication, customer/server interactions, community compression); coverage-based management, statistics monitoring, roaming person help, ASP administration and configuration, and centralized directory," IDC mentioned.
With QuickPlace and Sametime three.0, as smartly because the new LearningSpace - virtual school room, IBM looks to be rolling these two recommendations collectively. Even in 2.0, some users are finding QuickPlace to be a greater relaxed IM ambiance than different alternate options.
"Lotus gives you protection on the software, content, and network layers. QuickPlace is encrypted conclusion-to-end," maintained Ryder methods' Baildon.
devoid of protections like these, IM will also be "like having a company meeting in the street -- and this just is never suited to lots of organizations," Joel followed.
Uncontrolled IM site visitors can additionally tie up bandwidth on high priced WAN links, in line with Joel. "but if chat know-how can also be cozy - if administrators can manage how it flows throughout the network - then it may be in a position for primetime as a company device, and here is what IBM is making an attempt to deliver."
The newest variations of IBM's collaborative apps are certainly succeeding at preserving some clients within the Domino/Notes fold. Ryder became an extended-time Notes shop anyway, however the transportation company became to an out of doors advisor a couple of years ago for assist in determining no matter if to use QuickPlace/Sametime or a 3rd-birthday celebration vendor to fulfill its "enterprise needs" for collaboration and messaging.
"or not it's their figuring out that IBM has accelerated performance in three.0. this can aid us plenty, specifically with clients who are dialing in via modem," Baildon stated.
"Sametime could have new equipment for measuring who's the use of it, and the way a lot. QuickPlace will birth letting you preserve tune of which QuickPlace businesses you are in. prior to now, we've got been relying on spreadsheets to do this."
SIP Connector and Crossplatform ConsiderationsTo get probably the most out of Sametime, QuickPlace and digital lecture room, administrators should understand the ins-and-outs of those products, of path. Even when Sametime does add SIP assist, for example, you will still deserve to learn how to set up a separate upcoming product from Lotus, prevalent as the SIP Connector.
Lotus's collaborative applications require use of a Domino server. Domino offers more advantageous crossplatform guide on the server aspect than the collaborative apps. in spite of this, just about all of Lotus' items provide you with greater multiplatform operability than Microsoft does.
Let's take Sametime, for example. Sametime is a shopper-server utility for collaborative activities corresponding to chat, display sharing, shared whiteboarding, meetings, and audio/video streaming. The Sametime server operates most effective on home windows 2000, windows NT, and IBM iSeries and pSeries servers. that you would be able to configure the Sametime server as either a Domino or an LDAP server, even though.
Domino, nonetheless, is already obtainable for windows 2000, NT, IBM AIX version 4.three.3x and 5.1, sun Solaris 2.eight/SPARC; red Hat 7.2 and SuSE eight.0 Linux, operating on Intel; and IBM iSeries and zSeries servers. The IBM iSeries and zSeries support distinctive situations of Domino.
Which client does what?The Lotus Notes customer runs on windows and Mac machines. Sametime, although, works with now not just Notes consumers but 5 other customer applications:
What's more, Sametime's six customer functions every have diverse units of capabilities. The Sametime connect client is a windows app which includes a "presence list" displaying which clients are online. In distinction, Sametime meeting Room client is a Java applet which runs on the user's browser during "rapid" and "scheduled" meetings.
The meeting Room and Broadcast valued clientele each play a role during declares of streaming media content. The presenter makes use of the assembly Room client, whereas the viewers-participants use the view-simplest, noninteractive BroadCast customer.
To complicate concerns a little bit greater, the Notes customer can also be used for getting access to a Sametime discussion or TeamRoom database, however no longer for getting access to the Sametime server domestic page or Sametime assembly core on the web. These pages can also be used from a web browser only.
Authentication, Encryption and Password AdministrationSametime 3.0 helps authentication via each Domino SSO and secrets and Tokens databases. really, the Sametime three.0 server is set up to help secrets and Tokens by using default. Future variants of Sametime, besides the fact that children, will use simplest SSO for authentication, in response to Lotus's Sametime 3.0 Administrator's e book. when you are the use of a 3rd-party product corresponding to Netegrity SiteMinder which depends on Domino internet server API (DSAPI) filters, you should be sure that Sametime 3.0 is decided to aid secrets and Tokens.
Chat recreation between the Sametime three.0 server and Sametime three.0 and a pair of.5 purchasers is at all times encrypted. if you're the use of Sametime customers decrease than edition 2.5, although, you would more desirable stay up to the mark.
These prior types enable conclusion users to decide to conduct unencrypted chats, even when the usage of a Sametime 3.0 server.
another choice is to encrypt all T.one hundred twenty reveal-sharing, whiteboarding and audio/video facts that passing between the assembly Room and Broadcast customer.
which you could save time on password administration via enabling computerized login for "Sametime connect for browsers." To accomplish that, go to the Configuration - community features choice" of the Sametime Administration device. Then, select "enable join clients to keep their consumer name, password and proxy assistance" from the checkbox.
on the other hand, in instances requiring tight security, you might decide to force users to specify a "meeting password" that will be respectable for that selected assembly only.
Sametime 3.0 gives you a lot of other security of administration aspects, together with charts, logging tools, and numerous administrative controls. presented in the course of the Sametime Administration device in 3.0, the charts are for monitoring free disk space on the server, web information, assembly features, broadcast features, audio/video features, and group features.
Separate tools are built in for Sametime logging and Domino logging. which you can additionally stipulate which activities should be logged, and no matter if activities should be logged to a database or to textual content files.
Ironing out the quirks?Lotus' items enable for a lot of flexibility on each the collaborative and administrative aspects. still, though, directors have encountered some system defects in Sametime, QuickPlace, and virtual lecture room, as well as in Notes. In beta trying out, IM hasn't all the time panned out smartly, in accordance with CUNA's Foltz. Foltz, youngsters, blames the issues on training concerns. "some of their users have certainly not carried out quick messaging earlier than," she mentioned.
For its half, Ryder has come throughout difficulties with each whiteboarding and "working offline" services.
"We often get error messages once they are attempting to synchronize - and in whiteboarding, from time to time it works more suitable to attach the presentation to the whiteboard as a (Microsoft) PowerPoint file," Baildon stated . in the unlock Notes for Sametime three.0, Lotus says the whiteboard will also be saved in either of two formats: wealthy text format (RFT) or Sametime Whiteboard (SWB).
"We're hoping that Lotus has ironed out these little quirks of 2.0," according to Ryder's Baildon.
The sky's the restrict?meanwhile, IBM has large ambitions for future building. In subsequent variations of the virtual classroom product, Lotus is anticipated so as to add extra capabilities within the areas of both administration and "blended researching," or integration with different forms of digital and classroom media.
finally, Lotus will construct an infrastructure for "tying (virtual classroom) into returned end programs and launching differerent functions," Lawler envisioned.
Lotus is additionally eyeing the opportunity of bringing collectively Sametime and QuickPlace right into a single product, Kounadis admitted. the two application choices are already being sold aspect-by way of-side in some product bundling offers.