New opportunity – moving from Exchange to Lotus Notes

It is not often that I get to talk to companies looking to move from Exchange to Lotus Notes.  Every such conversation is a special treat to me.  So when I had one this week, I felt that I should mention it.

A partner of ours engaged me in a conversation with their client.  The client is an IBM shop (a bunch of AS/400s) when it comes to the back office.  They use or rather used to use Microsoft Exchange for their email.  Apparently, 2 weeks ago they got hit by a Windows virus that effectively shut down their email.  The virus affected them so bad that their email has been down for 2 weeks.  As the result, the words “Microsoft” and “server” are some of the dirtiest words known to the president of the company.  

We are now talking about deploying Lotus Domino and Lotus Notes on a couple of iSeries boxes.  The powers to be made the decision to switch without ever seeing a Lotus Notes client.  I walked them through a demo of Lotus Notes 8.5.  We mainly looked at email, calendar and contacts.  The initial reaction: this does everything we want, it looks good and it works well.  The biggest selling point — if they ever get hit by another virus, the iSeries and Lotus Domino will remain unaffected. 

Right now we are working on sizing the hardware and estimating the effort involved in moving 1000 users from Outlook to Lotus Notes in fastest possible way.  Can’t wait to start this project.

16 Responses

  1. Alex, you may wish to have a look at http://www.eProductivity.com as an extra incentive/value for your customer. We’ve had a small number of clients switch from Exchange/Outlook to Notes/eProductivity just to get the benefits of eProductivity.

    Happy to discuss by e-mail.

  2. That is AWESOME!!! Congrats! I may be a tad jealous. ;o)

  3. Go for it !!! This post is as good as a full “case history” 😉

  4. I heard of the same situation when a company I knew moved from Domino to Exchange and then got hit with something similar…needless to say they are a Domino shop again.

    I wonder what virus they got hit with. I don’t remember hearing about any big outbreak in the news. If it was because they were not on top of updating OS and virus definitions I wonder if they are still at risk if they don’t change procedures.

  5. If you can, please write up a story on it and the company. A company I worked with went from AS/400 and Notes to Windows for the server, then to Exchange. I tried to convince them it was a bad idea, but they just wanted to get rid of Notes at that point since they didn’t have any crucial applications. The grass is always greener on the other side no doubt 😛

  6. Ken, I definitely will when we finish the project. Looking forward to it.

  7. Great story… and they’ll reap the benefits in years to come when they realise that Lotus Domino has a different (and better) definition of the word ‘upgrade’.

    Best of luck with the migration and look forward to the case study.

  8. I am going to make a lot of assumptions as you have provided very little information about the incident.
    Like what virus was it, how did it get in and rather or not they had a DR plan to deal with such issues?

    In reading your post I believe the company is making a decision to treat a symptom and not the cause.
    An environment of 1000 computers should not be down for two weeks if they have procedures in place to recover in the event of a disaster.

    This sounds like a disaster if nothing else. I am going to assume they did not have a solid DR plan and or Good backups, because if they had they had they could have executed it. Recovered the data and been up and running.

    Saying you have Lotus running is not going to protect you. There are still viruses that can get in and attack the mail system from the client side.

    Protection needs to be employed at several locations;
    The front door
    The clients, all clients
    The server side
    The application, in this case Exchange

    I work for a company where we have over a 1000 Exchange mail boxes on just one server alone and we have nearly 15,000 mailboxes. We have lost servers before and have had everything recovered in hours not days let alone weeks.

    If they do not take the time figure out what happened and how to prevent it, they are likely to face a similar situation sometime in the future.
    Learn from your mistakes not say we need a different solution because we think MS and Exchange are bad words.

    Good luck.

  9. I also got a similar requirement. Do you have any roadmap for Exchange to Notes?

  10. Funny, I just got asked if I would do an Exchange to Domino migration too. Looking forward to read your write up of this migration.

  11. I start next week on Lotus Notes Admin classes. We are switching from Exchange to Notes in the fall. Big change as we have over 1000 Exchange users…should be fun!!!

  12. Manny,
    Way to go! Enjoy. I think you will find that from the Admin perspective Notes offers a lot of functionality and has a lot of power in it.

    Good luck with that. Drop me a note, if you have any questions in the process.

  13. Thanks Alex. Just wrapped up the boot camp on Domino and I like what I learned. And, just to make things more interesting, we are planning to do this on vmware esx. we have a large and powerful esx farm and are now starting to size the domino cluster, traveler, sametime, and bes servers. IBM has been great at giving us a hand so far. Any personal experience on this would be a great help, also plan on using CommVault for bakups.

  14. Manny,
    That is awesome. VM is a good platform to run Domino. I have a lot of customers who do just that. And just last Friday finished upgrading a customer to 8.5 and moving all of their servers to VM. They were already running some servers on VM and no issues to speak of.
    Sounds like you have one heck of a project going on there. Have to admit that I envy you and the IBM folks who are involved there. Projects like that are always the best fun.
    If you run into any issues, ping me.

  15. Update…..our exchange to notes migration was pushed back to 2010, from the fall of 2009. the environment is up and running. clustered 8.5.1 domino servers on vmware with daos. also have a samtime, traveler, and tdi vm’s as well. the migration of mail from exchange to domino has been tricky. we are using TDI to integrate AD into domino, creating the person docs, id files, and mail db file via the tdi batch program. once the kinks were worked out, it works well. we are using the transend batch migrator to move messages, addresses, calendar, and tasks from exchange to domino. that portion has been a work in progress, and still is somewhat tricky, but we have about 50 users moved over. our biggest headache has been the exchange mail connector and calendar items. some things have been worked out, but some problems we have to live with, mostly with recurring meetings that have migrated over but span some users on exchange and some on domino. we plan on having the rest of the users moved over by mid april (1000+). that’s it for now…….

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