IBM and Red Hat announced Sunday evening that IBM is buying Red Hat for $34 billion. The world’s cloud landscape is now totally changed, and IBM will now be the biggest cloud and hybrid provider in the world!
I’ve heard since 2002 that IBM Notes and Domino was dead. And while the platform is certainly an endangered species these days, there’s still stuff happening on the Domino front that companies and organisations contemplating on leaving the platform really should pay attention to.
IBM has now launched a service that makes it possible for you to upload and run your IBM Notes applications in the cloud. This will become a very important addition to IBM Connections Cloud and SmartCloud Notes. It’s also something a lot of IBM customers and partners have requested for quite some time.
The service is called IBM Domino Application on Cloud (DAV) and all maintenance and servicing will be done by IBM. Ed Brill announced this in Tokyo during IBM Notes/Domino Day (isn’t that a wonderful name for a day?) on Tuesday September 19th. The service will be launched in October, so set your clocks!
DAC will be using CENTOS and Docker. The latter is something IBM has said they will be relying heavily on in the future. This will therefore be included in FP10 for IBM Domino 9.0.1, which will be released soon.
The data centers will be placed in the US, Europe and Pacific Asia (Japan). Australia, China and other locations will follow suit.
To use this service you must have your own IBM Notes/Domino license. The maximum size of any given .nsf file will be 25 GB.
The following functionality is promised:
- A Domino environment built around your organisations cert ID
- Users can deploy their own custom built .nsf applications
- The .nsf files will be available both via our IBM Notes client, ICAA and via web browsers
- The data will be encrypted
- Mail agents and scheduled agents will function as they do on your local server
- You can replicate between the cloud and your local servers
- All server upgrades, maintenance and backup will be done by IBM
- You can have a Domino cluster if you choose
- You can have DAOS if you wish
- Domino Access Service is optional
- You pay a monthly license pr .nsf file ($27) and you must signup for at least a year
- You can have more than Domino server if needed
- Monthly reports about all your Domino applications
- A tool that analyse your applications so that you can decide what applications to scratch, which you want to keep locally and which you will move to the cloud
Thus far IBM has only offered a cloud solution for email and calendar, via IBM Verse, så a lot of people began cheering when these news were unveiled.
Here’s IBM’s video presentation of the new offering:
Still in the US, but in a new city, on a new date and with a lot of new things you normally don’t associate with Lotusphere, now known as IBM Connect. The city is San Francisco and the location is Moscone West, a gigantic conference center in downtown San Francisco.
As Roxette said: – Don’t bore us, get to the chorus. So, I’ll get right to it. The first session I attended was the brilliantly named session “Your Mail is in the Cloud, What About Your Apps?”
This is a question that a lot of people are concerned with, because IBM has been heavily promoting companies to move their email to the cloud, and then start using IBM Verse. But most of us have a lot of applications running in Notes, which means we still got to run and administrate local Domino servers. Can these be moved to the cloud? Yes, turns out that they can. And IBM showed us how.
Some important points:
- Files must be moved to the cloud and keep their original file path
- Servers in the cloud have their own naming convention
- SAML is used for authentication
- If you use LADP you got to set up a solution that makes it possible to send requests back form the cloud to LDAP
- You’ll need ID Vault
The process for moving is described in these images (click on them for a bigger version):
Most of us are responsible for gigantic .nsf-files with huge amounts of data. Personally I’ve been responsible for databases with a logical size of 100 GB. This is of course only possible through the use of DAOS, which stores the attachments, since an .nsf-file only can be as big as 64 GB.
How do you move all this data to the cloud? You could use good old fashioned Domino replication. This is going to take time, but it’s stable and very reliable. If you lose your internet connection, it will just continue when you get your connection back.
FTP: Quicker than replication, but it has to be monitored. And if you lose your connection, you need to start all over again.
Physical storage: Moving data via a hard drive, which you then ship off to the data center where they will copy it for you. This will take quite a bit of time, but you won’t have any problems with network connectivity.
Moving data online can take quite a bit of time, days even, so this must be planned in detail. Users will experience quite a bit of downtime if you don’t take advantage of weekends or holidays.
IBM calculates that this will take a couple of days. Before you start moving you must analyse and plan what applications you need to move. Some applications might not be needed anymore, or they could be replaced with other solutions.
When you’ve decided what applications you want to move, you have to go through them and check for stuff like
- Hardcoded server names or databases
- DBLookups and DBColumns that might create problems
- ODBC and OS calls from Lotusscript
IBM can assist with all of these things via specialized tools.
And yes: You will be able to do this, even if you are running DAOS.
Started the day with 10 km run around the lake where we live, in what in Norway would be called a cloudy but very warm and humid summer day.
Even though the general opening of the conference always happens on Mondays, there are still lots of sessions to go to on Sunday as well. They are called jump starts, and here’s a short summary of the ones I went to:
Successful Social Content Migration into the Cloud
IBM is very eager to move people into the cloud, and my company has been looking into it as well. Unfortunately the cost of the moving itself has been way too costly. After this session I got a bigger understanding of why. The key points were:
- IBM’s tools for doing this are note quite finished yet. And that’s because IBM Connections on premise is very different from IBM Connections in the cloud
- The biggest obstacle is the moving of data. You cannot just copy the database into the cloud
- You need impersonating users that gets your data and then inserts them into Connections in the cloud
- There has to be a very strong project management that has to analyse today’s situation, plan what you want to achieve, test, test, test and them migrate
- Almost nothing in IBM Connections in the cloud can be standalone. This means that any standalone wikis, blogs, forums, bookmarks and so on has to be inserted into a community in the cloud
- Likes and the counting of number of downloads will not be transferred to the cloud
- CCM is not supported but nested folders for Files is now possible
There’s also a staggering amount of work that has to be done to perform such a move, and it will involve your ICT department, IBM and/or a third party. It’s a big project and will take weeks.
If any companies reading this are willing to help my company out on this, please get in touch.
IBM Connections Integration with Microsoft
As people who have seen and heard me give presentations of IBM Connections can attest to: I love the plugins for IBM Connections. I know them in and out, and I have made documentation on how to use them, which I hand out to people who ask.
I therefore didn’t learn anything new in this session, but it was nice to see IBM give the plugins a presentation and some love. Several people in the audience knew very little about them, and I hope they run back home to their users and start training them.
We did get a presentation on up and coming plugins for the web version of Connections that makes it easy to interact with Sharepoint and Office 365 in the cloud.
The lead developers of the plugins are well aware of me as I’ve pestered them both during earlier conferences, as well as via email. During the Q & A I asked the following questions:
- Why can’t you tag files when copying them into a community. This happens when you copy your files to your self. The UI is therefore a bit broken as it behaves differently depending on the situation (I got applause for this question)
- The best plugin for IBM Connections in IBM Notes is the Activities plugin. It’s quite simply brilliant. The Outlook client for IBM Connections is way better than the IBM Notes plugin in almost all ways, except that it doesn’t have Activities. I asked if that was in on the roadmap (I got cheers and applause for that one). I got no promises from the developers, though
- I also asked about the possibility to create short cuts under Favourites in Windows Explorer directly to nested folders and was asked to meet up with the developers in the lab later on
My Love-Hate Relationship with IBM Domino Plugins
A very technical session on how to use Eclipse, which IBM Notes is running on, to create plugins that will add functionality to the Notes client. This feature has been available since 2008, and it has been criminally underused. IBM haven’t been very good at promoting them, and Eclipse is a bitch to fight with.
Even so, you can do some great stuff with it. But since people are moving out of the Notes client, I think plugins will be developed more for the web in the future instead of for the Notes clients. Personally I wish I had done more of this kind of stuff, but I’ve only made a few myself.
Solution EXPO Grand Opening Reception
I met up with several other of my Norwegian companions, and we went into the exhibition area to see what vendors and business partners were there. I met up with my friends in Panagenda as well as all the other people you have gotten to know through the years here. That’s always so nice, and all through the day when walking through the corridors of the hotel, you meet an old friend again.
You also get to meet IBM-ers that you have a lot of contact with on email or via phone calls.
The evening ended with IBM Norway taking all the Norwegians out for dinner at the fantastic steak house Texas Brazil. They cut your meat for you at the table, and it’s so tender it melts in your mouth. And of course you have to have key lime pie for dessert.
Happy, content and full I went to bead, ready for the Opening General Session Monday morning.