Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Yes, but what does Foundations actually do?

When talking to clients (and sometimes other IBM Business Partners) I get the feeling that IBM hasn’t really done a great job in explaining what’s in the Foundations box. I figured it might be worthwhile to give a high level overview of the product using the Table of Contents from the User manual as a prompt:


1 Introduction: Just an overview to tell you how wonderful Foundations is and how it will save the world while making your coffee and paying off the US National Debt.

2 First-time Lotus Foundations setup - Net Integrator: How to install Foundations if you buy it with the Nitix hardware bundle.

3 First-time Lotus Foundations setup - third-party hardware: How to install Foundations if you buy the software to put on a non-Nitix server.

4 Connecting to WebConfig: After you boot your server from the Foundations CD#1 you can connect to the Foundations server from a browser and start building your Foundations environment.

5 Configuring Lotus Foundations: Lots of meaty configuration options from picking your server name to doing software activation, enabling ftp/ imap/ pop3, configuring DHCP and network routes.

6 Client access licenses: Setting up users. Foundations uses a "Per User" licensing model. That is, any number of individuals can connect to the Lotus Foundations-powered server; however, you must purchase a Lotus Foundations Client Access License (CAL) for each individual, or "user account," where access to Lotus Foundations services (such as email, file, print, MySQL and FTP services) is needed. For example, if an individual is only utilizing the Lotus Foundations-powered server as gateway or firewall, that person does not require a CAL.

7 DoubleVision: Foundations allows multiple internet connections to the server with automatic load balancing and failover.

8 User & team management: The Foundations email, file, Web, and FTP services are tightly integrated. Every user and team account that is created has instant and automatic access to all of these services. The System Administrator needs to create these user accounts and (optionally) add them to Teams.

9 File services: Foundations provides file sharing services for Windows, Macintosh, and UNIX-style clients. Files created by Windows users can transparently be seen by Macintosh users and vice versa.

10 Disk quotas: Defines the maximum amount of hard disk space allowed for a user's files and email.

11 NT domain services: Foundations can be configured as a domain controller or just as a domain member or can provide Windows file sharing services without a domain.

12 Print service: Foundations can manage the print queues for multiple network enabled printers.

13 Email services: Lotus Domino email and calendaring (including Domino Web Access).

14 Web services: Provides options to configure the inbuilt Apache web server with support for CGI scripts, Perl and PHP.

15 Web filtering: Netnanny for networks. The System Administrator can allow users to access to specific Internet sites, while blocking access to all others.

16 FTP services: FTP is FTP... Watch out for the (ahem…) ‘typo’ in the Lotus Foundations Start Manual that suggests loading the Foundations CD#2 from the server’s CD drive. That process doesn’t work. You have to FTP the files from your System Administrator’s workstation into the \autoinstall folder, and just to make it easy you’ll find that the default setting for FTP on the Administrator's account is ‘Disabled’.

17 Backup & restore: Foundations supports automatic continuous Data Backup as often as every 15 minutes to a Hot Swappable device.

18 Software update: Foundations periodically contacts distribution servers via its internet connection and requests an updated list of available software releases. You can view the list of available software releases and choose when to download and install the updates.

19 Virtual private networks: Extend your network across the internet to users on remote sites.

20 IPsec: Network traffic encryption. Foundations supports PSK keys but not RSA or PKI.

21 Remote access services: Allows users to access your Foundations network across the internet.

22 Firewall services: This service is auto-configuring and you can also choose to restrict outgoing traffic plus view a log of all requests to traverse the firewall.

23 Domain name services: Foundations supports DNS Lookup and Caching (converts domain names such as www.yahoo.com into IP addresses) and DNS Publishing (adds names for your own network such as www.yourcompanyname.com into the global DNS system so that people can find your IP address to access your website or to send you email). DNS Publishing is possible regardless of whether your ISP uses static or dynamic IP addressing for your connection.

24 Workstation viewer: Allows the system Administrator to list the workstations and servers that are connected through the local network. The Workstations screen tells you which computers are on the network, what their names and IP addresses are, and who is logged on.

25 FastForward: A Proxy server. Allows creation of multiple websites on your server with each site mapped to a separate IP address by using virtual network ports on the ethernet adapter.

26 Disk management: Configure the RAID array on your hard disks.

27 MySQL server: Version 5.0 of MySQL is provided with Lotus Foundations.

28 Hardware components reporting: Foundations has the capability to report on hardware that is detected in the server - including processors, memory, Ethernet and hard drives - and verify whether or not that hardware is currently supported by the version of Lotus Foundations being run. Quite a useful tool to confirm that your server hasn’t blown a component.

29 Log messages: Lotus Foundations keeps a log that displays the messages from all of the Lotus Foundations subsystems.

30 Network file system: NFS (Network File System) is a protocol invented by Sun Microsystems that enables clients using UNIX and similar operating systems to mount file systems from remote servers.

31 Rsync: A utility that enables incremental file and directory synchronization from one location to another. This can be used to copy data files from the Lotus Foundations server, to another system which must also support rsync.

32 Spam scanner: The (optional) spam scanner filters all incoming emails received via SMTP before the messages are delivered to the user's mailbox.

33 Virus scanner: The (optional) virus scanner implements Kaspersky virus scanning for files and email.

All of this for USD$849 for five users (plus a free account for the System Administrator) makes quite an attractive bundle. I wonder what it would cost to buy the equivilent services in Microsoft technology?

I'm also starting to ask myself what IT service a SMB requires that isn't provided by Foundations?

3 comments:

Olivier@Dominux said...

I think you can add :

34 IBM support

Lotus Evangelist said...

5 users is the problem.
But that is only for the micro2 box.
You can not really use this for anyone or anything with 5 users, except for maybe a backup box.

Graham Dodge said...

The five-user limit is a hardware related issue and it only occurs with the Nitix Micro2 box. If you install LFS on a server grade box then the problem doesn't exist.

Having said that, five users would be fine (at the moment) to run my company or to take on-site as a demo unit so I guess it's horses for courses.

The Micro hardware isn't going to be released in Australia so we'll get by installing Foundations on to 3rd party boxes and won't need to deal with that limitation.