Lotus Wireless Server Getting In Synch With IBM

By porting the WebSphere Everyplace Server synchronization engine to the Lotus Domino Everyplace Server, Lotus will its wireless server to interoperate with non-Domino applications.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – IBMs Lotus Software division plans within the next year to port the WebSphere Everyplace Server synchronization engine to the Lotus Domino Everyplace Server.

Doing so will enable the Domino Everyplace Server to interoperate with non-Domino applications, such as to allow a mobile sales application to interact with the calendar or contact lists in Lotus Notes.

Currently, customers must use Domino Everyplace Server in combination with the WebSphere Everyplace Server to deliver this interoperability. Including the synchronization will simplify the system administration for wireless access, Lotus officials said at Lotus headquarters here this week.

"We want to simplify the [system] administration for wireless access," said Bob Norton, senior manager for middleware products at Lotus. Norton said Domino Everyplace and WebSphere Everyplace use "similar technologies from the same labs."

"We want to package them so they become more consistent."

Adding the WebSphere Everyplace synchronization to Domino Everyplace would extend the Web capabilities of the Domino wireless server, Norton said.

He said the wireless Domino applications are typically used in offline mode and then synched with the server when the user is connected. Adding WebSphere synchronization capabilities could not only add interoperability but also promote more real-time use for wireless access to Domino applications beyond the Lotus Sametime instant messaging client.

"From the front-end users point of view, theyll log in and wont notice whether its a WebSphere or Domino database," Norton said. He said the Domino applications would still maintain the same look and feel and wouldnt switch to a Web browser interface.

Allowing wireless Domino apps to integrate with other wireless apps "makes a lot of sense" since wireless applications have evolved beyond messaging, analyst David Marshak with the Patricia Seybold Group.

But Marshak warned that the integration of IBM and Lotus businesses has been painful for many customers and partners.

"Its a double-edged sword. If IBM does it right, then its greater than the sum of its parts. But so far, they havent and you can feel the weakness of one of the parts," said Marshak, in Boston.

"Is [merging Domino and WebSphere] the right thing to do, yes. Am I fully confident that IBM will do it the best way, no."

WebSphere synchronization engine support will be added to Domino Everyplace "sometime next year," Norton said.

"[Domino Everyplace] is still early in its life cycle, its still a new technology," he said, noting that Domino Everyplace just started shipping in June of this year.