What Does the Future Hold For the IBM Cloud Customer?

HCL logo

Earlier this year HCL announced that while they have bought all of IBM’s collaboration platforms, they will not be continuing IBM’s cloud services. This has lead many IBM Cloud customers go: “So now what are we going to do?”

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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.

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I Don’t Care About Domino

Utrønna

That’s what my, and I guess most of your customers’ end users say as well. They only care about the apps and solutions they have to work with. What’s under the hood is of no interest to them. So allow me to present two Domino based solutions that does just that.

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IBM Domino is Not Dead – It’s Just Gone into the Clouds

IBM logoI’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:

IBM Connect 2017 #1: Moving your Notes Applications to the Cloud

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):

cloudcloudcloud

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.