IBM on Monday announced a host of new products from its Lotus Software division at the annual Lotusphere conference in Orlando, Fla.
Chief among the new products launched at the show were the long-expected Notes and Domino 7, which is due to ship this summer. The launch coincided with the 20th anniversary of Lotus flagship product.
Notes and Domino 7 feature stronger ties with IBMs two-year-old Workplace messaging and collaboration platform, including supporting the surfacing of Notes applications within the Workplace client as an Eclipse plug-in.
Domino 7 also supports IBMs DB2 database as an optional data store, though IBM officials concede that the Notes Storage Facility data store remains a better option performance-wise.
Officials said TCO (total cost of ownership) is the biggest selling point for Notes and Domino 7, pointing out that the new version can support up to 80 percent more users using 25 percent less processing power. The greatest performance gains were realized from Domino running on the Linux operating system on an Intel Corp. server, officials said.
“We want to make it so that customers cant afford to not be current,” said IBM marketing manager Art Fontaine.
Domino 7 also includes new domain-monitoring tools designed to consolidate system management for Domino servers. The Notes 7 client includes several productivity enhancements including sort by subject, a basic in-box functionality that Notes had disdained in favor of full-text indexing, integration of presence awareness with calendar and scheduling applications, and multithreaded message views support.
Much of the other news at the conference centered around Workplace, which was first announced at Lotusphere two years ago and became available in May of that year.
IBM announced version 2.5 of Workplace, now known as Workplace Collaborative Services, uniting a number of collaborative capabilities such as e-mail, calendaring, instant messaging, electronic learning, Web conferencing, and document and Web content management around a single interface known as the Activity Explorer.
Company officials billed the new version of Workplace as a “single product for everyday collaboration.”
For the first time, Workplace will offer a per-CPU licensing model, which will allow customers to license as much or as little of the suite as they want without paying separate per-user fees for each product.
Lotus officials said pricing would not be determined until closer to the release date at the end of the first quarter.
Another key product announcement Monday was the Workplace Designer application development tool, which brings the rapid application development and scripting capabilities of the Domino Designer tool to Workplace.
Lotus officials said the tool is designed to make it easy for Domino Designer developers, as well as Microsoft Visual Basic developers, to build J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition)-based applications and components.
“Were allowing our developers to build the next generation of composite applications that go beyond the boundaries of Domino,” said Ken Bisconti, manager of collaboration products at Lotus. Workplace Designer will be available in the second quarter.
Other announcements at Lotusphere included the availability of the IBM Web Services for Remote Portlets (WSRP) Self-Service Validation Site, which lets business partners test their WSRP services to ensure that they can be integrated with IBMs WebSphere Portal; and a hosted version of IBMs Lotus Web Conferencing application.
The company also introduced a new application hosting service based on the IBM Workplace for Business Controls and Reporting (WBCR) application for Sarbanes-Oxley Act document management requirements; and a new partner program designed to encourage and assist IBM business partners to develop offerings built on Lotus Workplace.