Sunday, June 29, 2008

Bundling your own software with Foundations

The newly-rebadged Nitix site says "Lotus Foundations is a family of software appliances ..." which raises some interesting points.

Family: The IBM blurb says that Foundations Start is the first installment in a series of Nitix-based software bundles that IBM is planning for release over the next few years. The name should make it fairly obvious though - Start . So what comes next?

Appliances: Appliance means hardware. I'm betting we'll see bundling of Foundations with IBM X-Series hardware as an easy introduction into network computing for those SMB who still don't have a network file server. This offering will rapidly expand to tempt those companies who are still running on an ancient Windows NT server because they found Active Directory too much of a technical or financial challenge. After that Foundations will settle in for the long battle with Microsoft's Small Business Server and start nipping at the heels of Microsoft's Essential Business Server.

The Other Sister: Another route to market share for IBM comes through tempting software developers to write or port their applications to the Foundations platform. A low overhead generic or specialty business application could open up a whole new market for IBM and they're more than happy to talk about that. Remember that Foundations is Nitix is Linux and that's an open development platform plus it's more attractive than SUSE or Red Hat in the small marketplace because of its low technical overhead.

So if you're an ISV who has a Domino or Linux application already written for the SMB marketplace then give Kevin a call. I'm sure IBM will fall over themselves to $upport you while you rewrite it so that it runs on Foundations.

In January this year Tech Republic reported that "According to Lotus general manager Mike Rhodin, a Foundation communications server is also in the works, incorporating software from ISV partners."


IdoNotes said...

This was all talked about before. Kevin C was talking about appliances on the podcast we did (Episode 50 I think). It will be a step but they cant make multipleones until they let the software talk across them

Graham Dodge said...

You're right in saying that those issues have been discussed before. My point is I think that IBM's next move will be the hardware bundle rather than expanding the software library. Were you thinking that I was posing the plan for the hardware bundle as breaking news? That wasn't my intention.

This does raise an interesting point about the objective of a blog. Which part of a newspaper should a blog most closely represent? It could be:
* the deadline-driven front page always seeking the latest information and hoping to blog about a point before anyone else.
* an agony aunt seeking to answer reader's questions.
* the special supplement concentrating on particular topics - some old and some new.

There's room for all of these styles of blogging though I'm probably leaning towards the third of these options. It means I will occasionally blog on old news (today's upcoming post being a notable example) with the objective of aggregating all of the relevant information about Foundations in a single location - this blog. Consultants at the bleeding edge (such as your good self) will probably have read it all before but I'm aiming at a different audience, namely the SMB owner who has heard about Foundations once or twice and wants to hear more.

There's room for all of us.