Is IBM Smart Cloud Really Dead?

Connections Cloud

In short: The answer to the blog post title is yes. However, HCL is committed to Connections in the cloud as well as on premises. It’s just going to be different. Here’s what we know so far.

After HCL announced on July 16th that they would no longer accept orders for any cloud offering regarding Connections, Domino or Sametime, and that end of life for the service would be July 16th 2020, a LOT of Norwegian customers and business partners got in touch with me to hear what was going on. Would they need to leave Connections? What about Domino apps in the cloud?

While being an IBM Champion/HCL Master gives me insight to more stuff than the average customer, user or business partner, I was in this case just as confused as the customers. At that exact time I had also started my summer holiday from my day job, so I wasn’t really in the zone for any HCL/IBM stuff.

But in the past few days I’ve done som digging and asked around. And here are the facts I’ve found:

  • HCL will no longer sell new subscriptions to Connections Cloud or Domino Apps on Cloud (DAC) services.
  • These services will indeed be shut down on July 16th 2020
  • If you are a current customer, you will however be able to purchase additional licenses for this service in the coming 11 months
  • HCL and IBM will offer full support in this period

So, what will your options be if you want to continue using Connections in the cloud after July 16th 2020?

According to an interview with Richard Jefts, Vice President & General Manager Digital Solutions (see the video at the end of this blog posting, which jumps straight to this subject), conducted by Wannes Rams of Social Connections, HCL wants to give customers a choice on which cloud solution to use:

  • This will give customers the choice to use a private cloud, that they can host or manage wherever and however they want
  • A partner led cloud is another possibility. HCL will have strategic cloud partners in the various geographical regions. This is a model HCL believe is going to be important for their customers
  • The final option is HCL cloud. It will be a heavy focus on Connections and Apps in this solution

There are several reasons for this, and one of the reasons is HCL’s goal of having their solutions to be as open and as configurable as possible. This will mean that their aim is to let you be able to run Connections at any cloud provider you like, instead of being forced to use HCL’s cloud.

Another benefit here is that the code for Connections on premise and cloud will be unified. No longer will cloud customers have to sit on the sidelines and watch the on prem customers get all the new good stuff.

What HCL haven’t told us is how they are going to let you migrate from IBM Cloud. Will there be a tool? Will this be a huge project? These are answers that HCL needs to come up with pretty soon. Hopefully we will get some good news at Social Connections in Munich in September, where a session called “Connections Cloud Next” is scheduled.

Jefts promises in the interview that there will be tools for migrating to one of the cloud options listed above. He says they have been in contact with many cloud customers who have stated that as long as its seamless, they don’t have to worry about servers and infrastructure, they are happy.

So, what about Smart Cloud Notes/Domino? Here’s what Jefts says in this blog posting:

“HCL has no plans to provide a like for like replacement for Smart Cloud Notes or Verse on Cloud. Instead, clients will be invited to transition to their own private cloud, or partner-led cloud solution using the latest release of Domino and Verse on-premises. ”

This also seems to be the case for Sametime. I truly hope that this doesn’t mean you have to install and administer Sametime yourself at a third party cloud service, because that’s the final nail in the coffin for that product (anyone who has installed and/or administered Sametime will know what I mean…).

HCL has promised that they will start a heavy promotional campaign in the near future. They also encourage you get in touch if you have any questions. I will be more than happy to do that for you, if you like.

Oh, finally. Don’t believe Microsoft FUD like this!

Here’s the interview video:

8 thoughts on “Is IBM Smart Cloud Really Dead?”

  1. Hello, what we need to know is if there will be an HCL Verse Cloud or it won’t, it is in fact the key question, what do you know about it?

    1. Thanks for your comment. As you can see in the blog posting, Richard says this about Verse:

      “HCL has no plans to provide a like for like replacement for Smart Cloud Notes or Verse on Cloud. Instead, clients will be invited to transition to their own private cloud, or partner-led cloud solution using the latest release of Domino and Verse on-premises. ””

      This means that you will be able to run Verse on prem from other cloud providers. We do that today in my company with some of our customers. We are running the Domino severs in our own cloud, that the customers use. They then log on to Verse via their web browser. This is Verse on prem, and not IBM Smart Cloud Verse.

      So no, there will be no HCL Verse for cloud from HCL. If you are a customer of IBM Smart Cloud, and you use Verse from that service, you will have to run Verse on prem from another cloud provider. HCL will also provide a cloud solution, where you can run Domino apps as well as Verse.

      As for how the migration from IBM Smart Cloud to other cloud solutions has to be done, this is still not communicated out to the customers. Hopefully we will receive more news in the coming weeks.

      Hope that answers your question

    1. Oh, that’s a professional services question. Are you working with a SmartCloud / Notes partner. They should have the answers (and methodologies).

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