Collax Partner Event … Virtualization for SMB or the stuff you allways wanted from Lotus Foundations.

It was a good event. Collax is growing. Adding jobs constantly. The products are mature and the coolest thing they have, is the V-Family (Click on the German flag on top/right for the English version).
It’s based on KVM (Collax, IBM, Redhat and 120 other companies are active here) and it looks like Collax is one of the few companies which actually made an easy to use product of it.
Collax partners presented a few reference projects where customers moved to high availability clustered solutions, all with less the 40 users. Some had highly critical software still running on machines from the stone age, which needed replacement as fast as possible.
It does makes sense to give the latest and best to small companies and Collax solutions are due to different reasons, just more cost effective.
Everybody should just love the pricing. One machine, one price. No POV, no memory counting, no „the more you use it, the more you pay“. It looks like some competitors realise, that there is a new kid on the block. Collax is mentioned in white papers of competitors together with Citrix, VMWare and so on (made the Collax guys very proud).
And … you need less hardware. The embedded SAN makes this possible, for example.
And all you need for administering the whole setup is a browser. The UI still looks a bit old, but this is going to change soon, because some lazy admins want to take their iPad/iPod/iPhone/Smartphone to the beach and work while waiting for wind or waves (Boris Nalbach, the CTO is an avid wind surfer, must be his idea).
One of the best features is the graphical representation of the „virtual network“. Even I can understand what’s going on in there. They really do their best to make the setup as easy as possible. During a presentation earlier this year, a non IT person was able to install a cluster with two nodes in about half an hour. Hard to beat (but she did read the manual first) and with the new managing possibilities, you have your customers server under constant surveillance. Reminds me of the time with the AS400, where IBM technicians walked into offices to fix something, before the customer even realized, that something was wrong. Yes, I know, others can do that, too. But everything in a browser?
The whole setup screams for XWork Server installations. Or imagine Connections on it. You could set it up once and reuse the VMs every time you do a new installation.
Collax now has all the products a hoster or anybody else needs, starting at the virtualization technology with the new server managing tool, the security stuff, anti virus, surf protection, gateways, small business server, groupware and we are soon adding a bookkeeping tool for Switzerland and Germany. If you want just one vendor, Collax is your friend. I don’t know another vendor with such a broad portfolio for infrastructure that all fits together seamlessly.
Another aspect is the evolution of the legislation. It looks like, that many cloud provider will have huge problems and right now the data protection officers are homing in on them. Anybody who thinks that Office 365 or Google docs is the way to go, could be in for a surprise.

Remember Lotus Foundations? This is Lotus Foundations NG (kind of) and I will get one in a few weeks. It’s the Office Entry Server from Collax. It’s cheap, it can run out of the box everything I will ever need, including Zarafa and installs almost as easy as LF. But it does 64bit.

First I am going to play around with it – V-Cube and different servers – and then it will replace the Lotus Foundations Box. I am going to connect a Time Capsule to it and the whole power of Lotus Foundations (or whatever I am going to do with it) will sit on my bookshelf. No noise, less power consumption. That’s the thing I always wanted. I could build a high availability cluster with two of them (not supported, but Collax did it for the fun of it). Does it make sense to virtualize on a small box like that? Who cares. Sometimes I just need a new toy. I probably need two, because of 8.5.3 … or the beta stuff that hopefully comes out at LotuSphere…. oh wait, I could install 8.5.3 and Connections … or XPages Server and use the DB2, too … or … or…



While I was sitting there, some MS admins startet to talk about Exchange and the Zarafa rep explained MAPI. Zarafa uses the nativ MAPI interface and stores in the correct format in MySQL. It looks like, the whole MAPI stuff is quite a bit of a mess (and will be replaced by web services). Everybody living in the yellow bubble, should just be happy. Our data model is straight forward. We just don’t know the pain our collegues from the dark side are living in, because of the lousy not so ideal architecture of Exchange.