LotusLive Has Different On-Prem vs. Extranet Platforms

We recently summarized IBM's LotusLive brand. One question that arises is how the use of a separate hosted platform will affect customers.

Microsoft has built its online offerings atop its cloud platform (Windows Azure) and is exploiting Active Directory federation. However, IBM's initial LotusLive offerings are not based on IBM's Blue Cloud platform, and will initially operate in silos:

  • LotusLive Notes atop a multitenanted Domino platform
  • LotusLive Engage atop a number (due to the Outblaze acquisition) of different multitenanted (?) platforms

While subscribers may not care, IBM's lack of a common platform is likely to result in higher operational costs and lower margins than Microsoft's.

Because of Notes replication, Notes administrative role delegation, and Notes Active Directory synchronization, partitioning responsibility between IBM service administrators and enterprise user and group administrators should be relatively straightforward, though not as seamless as in Microsoft's approach. It appears that at least initially, LotusLive Engage will be a closed system maintaining its own directory and requiring user authentication via submission of a user id and password.

Thus it remains to be seen which of the following customers want:

  • A seamless choice between functionally identical on-premise and cloud-based services as is the case with Microsoft's on-premise server and online service offerings, and IBM's Domino server and LotusLive Notes service, or
  • A wholly new and functionally different offering on-premise and online. This will be the case with IBM's on-premise servers (Domino, Sametime, QuickR, Connections), and LotusLive Engage.

The jury will be out for some time on this one.

... Nick Shelness

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