Sunday, July 19, 2009

Foundations: Letting the Tiger out of the Box

Did you ever see the cartoon with a man sitting precariously on an energetically bouncing crate with one hand holding onto the wall for balance while the other is grasping a telephone into which he is shouting... "OK, I've got the Tiger into the crate. What do I do now?"

I often think that's a good metaphor for IBM/Lotus and Lotus Foundations Server. IBM has purchased, re-engineered and repackaged Foundations and released it into the market but they are still struggling to find a way to position it within the regular Lotus product line. The big problem is stopping it from cannabalising the standard Domino product line. After all, if you can get all of the features of a regular Domino server integrated with its own firewall, anti-spam, anti-virus, file and print management... yada yada yada ... for less than the cost of that regular Domino server then why wouldn't you go with it? What's to stop the entire installed base of Domino customers from migrating across to LFS?

The strategists at IBM/Lotus wouldn't really have a problem with that scenario. For a start, there's no upgrade path so everyone needs to purchase new LFS software licences and the kicker is that the Windows Server licence for all of those existing Domino servers wouldn't be renewed. More money for IBM/Lotus and less money for Microsoft. I don't think the Yellowverse has a problem with that. My guess is that IBM/Lotus are struggling to develop a sensible pricing scheme that scales from a $300 SMB server all the way up to the $30,000 Domino Utility server, and until they do, they are enforcing technical and licencing constraints with the basic Foundations product to prevent it from running as a fully fledged corporate Domino server.

I certainly don't endorse bypassing the IBM/Lotus licencing restrictions on LFS but I'm all in favor of tweaking the product to make it run more smoothly for the customers. This week I'll be looking at Bob Baehr's LOTUS.PRO Advanced Web Configuration for Foundations. If it does what it says it does then I'll certainly be recommending it to my customers.

Damn it Bob... you've gone and started me blogging again even after I swore off that activity as a waste of my billable time.

1 comment:

Henning Heinz said...

A foundation license (149$), at least at the moment, cost more than a Domino Express license (106$). The Foundation server cost 229$ and afaik you are not entitled to install as many as you like (as with Express). And the Domino Utility Express license cost 2650$ (all US pricing because I am a lazy guy).and fits a bit better than the 30.000 Express package.
Foundations is for a market where there currently is no Lotus. There are only a few 25 people and less Domino shops around so Foundations does not cannibalize much. IBM is no established player in SMB but they are getting some traction in this market (at least more than I expected).I am bit disappointed that a Google search for Lotus Foundations and pricing does not get many useful results. The information is out.
I am very surprised that you consider your blogging a waste of billable time. You just chose a difficult topic in a difficult market. But if we talk about Foundations you have a first class resource of information.