Pressure from the cloud

No, we’re not talking meteorology here!

I have been keeping an interested eye on some of the developments from Amazon with their Amazon Web Services, so when I saw the following tweet from friend/colleague/troublemaker @MasterMark, it made me sit up!

Oh, dude! It’s a war, and cloud is a battlefield. #orcl swallows #sun, and days l8r, #ibm announces the end of licenses.

He is referring to this article, announcing the availability of IBM technology in the cloud, running on AWS’  EC2 platform, with an innovative approach to licensing.

On Amazon EC2 you can run many of the proven IBM platform technologies with which you’re already familiar, ….. By choosing Amazon EC2, you can get started in either of two ways. You can pay by the hour only for what you use, through Amazon EC2 running IBM. Alternatively, you can bring many of your own IBM licenses to run on Amazon EC2.

This got me thinking of the impact that this could have on certain internal applications that suffer from performance and scalability issues. For example, global instances which see spikes as people come online across different timezones. Do you scale for the spikes, or the average load and take the performance hit during peak use?

Amazon’s EC2, combined with applications such as IBM’s Websphere Portal, is now giving the enterprise an interesting choice. Do we put the application server out in the cloud, and have the flexibility to scale up and down according to demand?

Yet many corporations are still wary of the cloud, preferring to keep things on the inside, under their watchful eyes. So how would a large organisation replicate and offer something capable of this internally? I imagine virtualisation would be at the heart of any attempt, but the investment required would be significant, if not exorbitant, both in infrastructure and software. Could they even get close to competing on cost, ease of administration, billing…?

When will we see new expectations – I’ll call them “cloud-induced” –  take hold in the enterprise, where factors such as flexibility, agility, almost-zero required investment, take an increasingly higher priority? It strikes me that it will rapidly become harder for IT departments to provide and manage internally-hosted solutions that meet user expectations, as awareness of the cloud’s capabilities grows in the business.

Think about it. All Amazon ask of us is a credit card number….

IBM External Sametime working in the Notes 8 embedded client

I noticed this yesterday, the embedded Sametime client in Notes 8 is now able to connect to

If this is actually new to anyone, IBM has an externally facing Sametime server, to which anyone with an IBM registration can login, and chat with IBMers internally.

The server to connect to is using your IBM username and password. It should work from behind a firewall or proxy over port 80.

Good news, and watch out all the IBM peeps!! 😉

IBM Lotusphere Comes to You 2008

Warning, this is a bit of a gripe post!ls08-443x120.jpg

Why is it that the dates for Lotus events in Spain always seem to be the last to appear!? Spain isn’t even on the list for the Lotusphere Comes to You events, which I hope that is just temporary!

It could go quite some way to explain why the Lotus community here in Spain has struggled for so long. I just hope that all the effort of late from those behind Spanish Lotus User Group –, are matched by IBM Lotus. » Dear Lotus; c/o: Mike Rhodin, GM of IBM/Lotus

Kevin Hansen in an open letter to Mike Rhodin:

You have the world’s attention at the moment. For the sake of all of us who live and breath Lotus Notes/Domino, please make full use of this brief and rare opportunity.

Out of a strong belief that Notes 8 is the most important release of Notes in the last decade this blog has frequently been a location where I can beg and plead anyone at IBM/Lotus to do more advertising and marketing to get that message out to new audiences. Yes, there have been a number of activities on that circulated around Notes 8 … but its not enough. And, what is out there doesn’t get to the right people. And when it does, it leaves them confused asking “what does an animal hybrid have to do with my company — or Lotus Notes?”

My point is that it is frustrating to believe so strongly in a product and have to frequently respond to questions like “is Lotus Notes still around?”

It is. And it has a great story to tell.

More >

Well worth a read.

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IBM warming to Ubuntu?

Tell me its true!

Glen on his blog lets on:

So it was a big (and welcome) surprise to find not one but two groups within the company putting together distributions of the IBM desktop products for Ubuntu.

This was also picked up by Julian over at nsftools:

Ooo, that sounds tasty. A package of IBM products specifically for Ubuntu. I know it’s internal to IBM and not-for-the-public and unofficial and all that, but very interesting to hear. Maybe that’ll get us one step closer to official Debian support.

Lets hope so. I know it would make a lot of people happy, and would get IBM products in front of a lot of linux users. Imagine Dell flogging laptops preloaded with Ubuntu + Notes + Sametime + Symphony! That’d be nice!

This also gives us a glimpse of the power of social software tools behind the firewall. Without them, Glen would have found it extremely hard, if not impossible, to locate this kind of virtual community within such a large organisation. The truth is though that all organisations have these kind of dispersed groups with common interests, and tools like Sametime and Lotus Connections can allow them to unite and achieve results.

It would not surprise me to see this made available in some form at some point in the future. Please IBM!

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IBM support for Ubuntu

James Governor of RedMonk raised a question that has come up a few times in the Lotus blogsphere, on the subject of Ubuntu as an IBM supported OS.

I mentioned the fact that DB2 is supported on Ubuntu, a fact which doesn’t really fit with some of the justification for not supporting Lotus Notes and Domino, that Ubuntu is not an “enterprise” operating system.

James followed up this morning, and wonders whether

Ubuntu really just isn’t seeing much in the way of enterprise adoption as yet

Sounds like a chicken and egg situation to me!

Ubuntu is an extremely popular desktop distribution, so in my opinion, chances are support for software like Lotus Notes on Ubuntu would go a long way to opening the door to further enterprise adoption. I realise this is not an adequate cost justification, but if we’ve managed to get the Notes 8 Beta running on Ubuntu by ourselves, my guess is there isn’t a hell of a lot that IBM would need to do to get this sorted.

One other point I have mentioned before (can’t remember where!) is that with Ubuntu support, could IBM Lotus not look to provide more of an “appliance” (along the lines of Nitix), if not for production, at least for testing or demonstration purposes?

With a consistent support for Ubuntu across the IBM portfolio, they could potentially provide a serious offering to the SMB market. Taking the appliance approach and therefore “hiding” the underlying technologies somewhat, certain barriers to entry could be eliminated, at least from an install / admin standpoint.

Good luck trying to get more on this one James, there are lots of us very interested in where it could lead!

Anyone else noticed’s updated wardrobe?

I really struggled with the title for this post given Stuart‘s dismay at some of the vocabulary used recently to describe the new Notes 8 UI!

“I’m with you on that old chap, we can’t be having with these god-awful abuses of the language!” spoken in the appropriate accent!! 😉

Lotus website detail Anyway, what I wanted to mention was what appears to me to be some pretty subtle but interesting changes I have noticed on the IBM website lately, or is it just me? I may well be late on this, but it looks like the design team have been busy giving things a more crisp and modern look, complete with glossy effects and new icons.

Good to see IBM really showing they are getting this “Web 2.0 thing” in so many ways!

Oh, and me likes!