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I don’t think anybody is interested in this information but I give it to you anyway.

IBM Verse Basic Users,

Thank you for your use and feedback of IBM Verse Basic. Now that IBM Verse has been in market for a year and we’ve matured the product, IBM will be withdrawing Verse Basic from service on June 15 2016, after which you won’t be able to log in. To continue to enjoy the benefits of IBM Verse, we encourage you to visit to purchase a subscription to IBM Verse or IBM Connections Cloud S1.

If you have any additional questions please refer to our support forum.

Thank you,
The IBM Verse Team

That was it then. So much for „Taking on Google“ or any other quote about something IBM has never done before. Same old, same old.

Is that the „first 100 days“ Vowe talked about last week? Wow, what a bold move.

I just shut down the last IBM box I had. Probably the last Lotus Foundation box in active service. Now I don’t have any IBM product in use anymore. Kinda sad, but live moves on.

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.

That’s what IBM should have done with Lotus Foundations …

Starting tomorrow, Collax offers it’s SMB solution Collax Business Server and Collax Security Gateway free of charge for up to 5 users. Yep, not just testing. You can actually use it for your company.
OK, support is extra, but the server AND the documentation (!) got high marks in a test from Computerwoche and TecChannel.

It’s not rocket sience after all.

… and BTW. There are several Domino installations on Collax. That works, too.
I think it is about time to throw out LF and get something with a future. LF is making more and more problems here. Collax Business Server runs happily on a LF appliance. I couldn’t make the DOM work, though. Anybody an idea, how to access a DOM?

Going Collax – The next step and a surprise

OK. The press releases are out and we are the new distributor for Collax in Switzerland.
What does it mean for us? We have to concentrate mostly on marketing. No more server installations (Good, very good). We have to recruit new resellers. We will find customers and connect them with resellers. There are allready installations in Switzerland, therefore we don’t have to start at the bottom like we did with Lotus Foundations.
And you know what? Collax is doing many things, what we (I mean all of us in the LF community) told IBM over and over again what should be done with Lotus Foundations, but IBM in its universal wisdom was polite enough, not to tell us, that we are complete morons. Collax does it all different. We got flyer’s – printed ones – on glossy paper! Can you imagine? We get rollups. Cool ones even. They do press releases. They do roadshows (look here, that’s going to be fun … for Collax). You will not believe this, but they want, that people know about their products. From an IBM marketing perspective, Collax must do everything wrong, but Collax products sell.

Stay tuned, there is another annoucement soon. Something else, that would have pleased the LF reseller community (but is completely wrong from an IBM perspective).

Surprise, surprise. Collax is growing and LF is history. They must do something right.

Our next step is to build a hosting offering with a partner and we are in the works for bringing Domino as a standard package on the Collax CBS, preferably alongside Zarafa. Domino runs allready in different companies on the collax platform and as far as I can see, without any issues.
I have a Collax CBS running on a LF Box here. Unfortunately I couldn’t use the DOM, but hey, you can’t have everything. Funny enough, Collax has an interface for the USB display. It’s not activated, but that would not be hard to do. Next step is to move a domino server in there and get the grips with Postfix. Should work soon I hope.

It is amazing, what you can do in a short time, if you actually want to sell a product. BTW, more Collax products have been sold in Switzerland in January 11 then LF in the whole 2010.

The same procedure as every year …

Every year the same old story. On LotuSphere we are the greatest bunch of girls and guys who are the cornerstone of IBM’s success.
But the Lotus Foundations Disaster speaks another language for us BP’s.

Going social, social here, social there, social everywhere.
I didn’t get it today. I wonder if IBM does. The products are cool, but do my customers want it? I don’t think though. Way too complicated. And what the heck do I need social analytics for, if I am a 20 people company? If you want to use the Notes Next client, as they showed it today, you need a lot of additional tools. Where is the Out-Of-The-Box-Value?

Marketing is so important to IBM!
Ahem … sorry … what?

We could start a fun thread. IBM’s marketing is … (like, … the solution of the drug problem, if they are legalized and IBM is doing the marketing)

More Information from IBM on Lotus Foundations … yeah right.

This morning I found an announcement from Bob Jewell, Director of Business Development for Smart Business, about LF:

More Information from IBM on Lotus Foundations

I would like to make this community aware of announcements regarding Lotus Foundations made late last year. They were posted elsewhere but we apparently neglected to highlight them in this forum. Enzo Frati did add some information in this forum in November, so I refer you to his comments. I will try and clarify what we announced on October 26, 2010 and November 9, 2010.

The Lotus Foundations hardware appliance is no longer available for new orders. The Lotus Foundations software products will be removed from Passport Advantage and will not be available for new orders after February 8, 2011. We will continue to make Foundations software available for partners in North America with the Lotus Foundations VAR agreement in place. Of course we will continue to provide support for existing customers through the end-of-service date for their support contracts.

IBM received substantial feedback pointing out that the Foundations specialized hardware was attractive, but limiting and often not worth the premium price. Likewise, although the Foundations Linux operating system was attractive, the focus of small and mid-size organizations is on solutions, not core technologies. IBM has shifted focus to complete solutions that include the operating system and middleware capabilities of Foundations and run on a wide range of Intel based servers.

Our solutions will be branded Solutions for Smart Business. You can find out more about them at

More details on what I described above are available on the Foundations Portal ( or in the two IBM US Announcement Letters below:

– For Lotus Foundations Appliance (

– For Lotus Foundations software products (

Several members of the Smart Business team will be at Lotusphere. We will be happy to discuss this topic further with you there.

Now isn’t that funny. The hardware was too expensive. That’s the reason.

What happened? Nitix was less expensive, why? One reason was probably there was no specialised hardware. Go figure, the latest release of LF runs on a variety of Intel servers. They fixed that problem really quick. Wouldn’t be a factor anymore today … hmmmm.
Another factor was certainly that most companies would like to keep Outlook as their mail client. Killing DAMO was blow for LF but IBM could at least have kept ExchangIt. I thought it was a Nitix product anyway. But there are other possibilities like Zaraffa and OpenExchange out there. With a little bit of work, they could have run Domino and -Enter your preferred Non-MS-Mailserver here – on the same machine and make everybody happy … oh yes, sure, IBM strategy (Oh, did I tell you that we are working with Collax to do exactly that, sure I did. No? Now you know!)
If IBM would want to make it less expensive for the markets outside the US, they could have respected the real exchange rates. IBM still uses 1.6 Swiss Francs for 1 US Dollar. Right now the real exchange rate is about 0.95 Swiss Francs for 1 US Dollar. Would have made quite a difference in my market. But you know what, the people we talked to always thought it was a very good deal with all the bells and whistles it had.

LF will only be available for VARs in the US/CA after February 8th. For all those LF Partners who thought they could continue to buy LF licenses through the LF desk, this will come as a shock.

When I remember the time I spent to figure out how to integrate something on LF to become a VAR. The time I spent writing mails and talking to people to get the technical information I needed … and never got. The money I spent for a completely useless telephone marketing campaign organized by IBM and for catering at an IBM facility for presenting LF to IBM partners (we got the bill AFTER the event, quite a surprise). Sure we made mistakes, too. We thought, Notes/Domino isn’t that big of an obstacle, as long as you get a good value with other applications, but SMB don’t want a very sophisticated DMS or CRM system (and PAVONE has excellent products but they need a bit of training).

Something that really annoys me is that they just changed their mind so fast. At LotuSphere 2010 Ed Brill announced Traveller for LF. Will not happen. IBM could have at least given us and our customers the latest 8.5.x Domino/Notes releases and Traveller. Would have been a nice „We are sorry but we have to say goodbye“ gift. Would have been easier for me and others, but hey, I am just a lower life form for IBM (within IBM there is certainly a discussion going on, if partners are actually an intelligent form of life).
BTW, I tried to upgrade the Domino Server on my test box. No complete success yet. I was able to install Traveller on top of it, though, but it has been a while, since I had time to play with it.
Anyone else working on it?

Book Review … 22 Years later

Recently I was in Munich for some training with Collax. In the evening we walked through the city center and I found an old book shop. Since I am a book junkie („My name is Christian and I still don’t have an iPad“) I spend some time looking for second hand books and found the following: „Who’s afraid of BIG BLUE?“ by Regis McKenna. The author is still known as an IT marketing expert. The book was printed in 1989. It talks about IBMs role in the computer market and there are a few, no, a lot of things, I did not know and are quite interesting. For example: I didn’t know, that IBM used FUD very, I mean very heavily to keep the competition out. When I think how many times we complained about Microsofts FUD strategy against Notes, I can only come to the conclusion, they learned from the best, from IBM. But, FUD wears of. The longer you try it and it does not come true, the less people are going to believe you. IBM’s FUD strategy failed in the end and Microsoft’s will fail, too.

There were some things I asked myself, if they still stand true today.
„Entrepreneurial and independent thinking have always been discouraged among the blue-suited army of IBM managers.“
When I recall what I had to go through with most IBMers that I worked with during the Lotus Foundations era, I would say, they still hate to take decisions.
If there is not a process for it, they can’t do it.

Another interesting part was the story about the PC and PS/2. Apart from the logo there was nothing from IBM in the first IBM PC’s and many believed that the Micro Channel in the PS/2 was a marketing ploy. And I thought IBM invented the PC.

In chapter 3 McKenna talks about „Big Blues for Big Blue“* and mentions a few points, where IBM has problems.
Problem #1 – A Mind-Blogging Bureaucracy. YES, still valid today, Passport Advantage was invented by a sadistic bean counter and process manager and the lead management tool must be from another century. They certainly run it with a steam engine.
Problem #2 – Installed technology. Nope, that isn’t a problem.
Problem #3 – Incompatible Products. I don’t think that this is a problem today.
Problem #4 – The Arrogance of Success. Interesting. What do you think?
But what is certainly still true, they only fight for the Fortune 1000 accounts.

The book reads, as if it wasn’t written 22 years ago. McKenna mentions many things, I was convinced they came much later. I talked about electronic mail and a lot about networks and sharing information. Somehow I have the impression, we haven’t made a huge progress since then. Sure, the word „Internet“ wasn’t mentioned in the book, but something like that was looming on the horizon. We are still using Folders to organise data and we still use the mouse and a keyboard. I am a bit disappointed about our achievements in the last 22 years. Look at Notes. Ray Ozzy had such a wonderfull idea and everything we have today called social software has been here for two decades.

Can we have something revolutionary please!

*BTW did you know that IBM does not want you to use the term „Big Blue“? Their marketing departement found out that this is too close to „the Blues“, meaning depression.

A short history of a failure. The Lotus Foundations Story!

This is the story, how I witnessed the rise and fall of Lotus Foundations.
3 Years ago, I heard the first time about Nitix Blue. I looked at it and liked it. No OS administration and a network server that suited perfectly my needs.
I started to look at my home market. More than 300’000 companies.
About 260’000 micro companies and roughly 40’000 small and medium companies.
 About 70% of the employees use PC/Mac.
 More than 30’000 start ups every year.
 Nice! (And just to bust the „the US has more bigger companies“ myth, Switzerland has more Fortune 500 companies per capita then the US.)
I wrote a business plan. I presented my business plan to the-would-be-sole-distributor for the then announced Lotus Foundations and somebody from IBM.
They thought it was one hell of a good idea and presented me to some strange guy (Hi Serge), who had ideas in the same direction. That was the start of a new friendship and Informica.
Of we went.
 What happened at IBM when we contacted them?
 IBM came up with … nothing. Somehow they were never able to explain a marketing strategy. I think they never even had a concept. I met a few global and worldwide (what the heck is the difference?) sales, but nothing ever happened. I mean we showed our marketing plan and tried to explain what had to be done. We as BPs can not build the awareness. We tried to tell them, that cheap email and web marketing would not work. You have to talk to people. Face to Face. Get out. Spread the word. Contact start-ups. Get involved with associations. They did not even join an organisation for SMB and start-ups, where Switzerland’s biggest telecom company, the second biggest bank and one of the biggest assurance companies joined forces and Microsoft wasn’t there… yet. I had half a dozen meetings with different local and international people and the only result was. „Yes, we should look into things … we should … we should  …“ and … you expected this … nothing. We don’t live on the same planet.
Then IBM announced that hundreds of MS partners joined as Foundations partners. Unfortunately most of them wanted Outlook as mail client and they were not familiar with Domino. DAMO was dropped two month later. Despite what IBM said, Domino/Notes knowledge was essential to make users happy. The discussions on LinkedIn started with a lot of misunderstanding, what Notes/Domino is. I wished IBM had kept ExchangIt as an option.
 At the same time, they started to make the old Nitix partners mad. We couldn’t order through the Nitix/Foundations desk anymore. We had to go through Passport Advantage. This is hell for a product like that.
Then came this TCO tool. I mean it was a nice idea and it showed that LF was far less expensive then SBS, but that was not what anybody needed. I fought about this tool for quite a while with IBM but suddenly there were a few month of deafening silence and then the distributor was kicked out as the IBMs leading project partner. Some key personnel left IBM. We decided to write a letter and got attention. Unfortunately that new team wasn’t able to make the turn around. We had that deafening silence in September 2010 again. And now it is over and this is exactly at the moment when our new strategy kicks in and SMBs in Switzerland start talking about us.
Until today we had to rewrite several times our strategy. We had to do all the marketing ourselves. Nobody in IBM Switzerland was allowed to touch LF (Some did it anyway and I have to thank them. You know who I mean. A special thanks goes to Stephanie).
What killed LF?
Marketing was non existent. In IBM, those products who make the most money, get the most marketing funding, at least, that’s what I was told. I ask you IBM, how do you ever want to launch successfully a product with that kind of thinking? Egg – chicken / chicken – egg?
Technical training was nice but not sufficient at all. We never got enough technical information’s to really take advantage of the NVS. Somehow my requests for more information’s and training got lost in the mail or something like that.
DAMO was one of the biggest advantages that platform had. That IBM dropped it, wasn’t the foundations teams fault, but really bad for business.
Constantly changing the strategy isn’t a good thing.
Constantly changing key personal isn’t a good thing either (they call it blue washing).
Making an existent customer and partner base mad is plain stupid.
Bad communication with partners (or is there another name for this kind of lower life form) isn’t very clever either.

I really wonder, if IBM realizes how much damage they have done to quite a few businesses? Probably not.

Dead or not dead, that’s the question…

Doctor: I am sorry, but your friend will not survive the next few days.

Friends: Oh my god, why? What happened? He always looked healthy. Two years ago he got a new job and was really happy. What went wrong? Can’t you do anything? We are his friends and we really need him. It is hard to believe, that everything is over.

Doctor: Oh, have faith. He will not disappear completely. His internal organs are in perfect health and we have lot of people waiting for his heart, his lung, liver, kidneys and we probably even can give somebody his hands and legs. Isn’t that nice. Your friend will continue to live.

Friends: I am sorry, but that is not the same thing. What about his character, his soul, the love he gave us. You can only have that in the original body.

Doctor: Yes maybe, but imagine how many people he will make happy. You must see it more like a transition. His soul will go to a better world.

Friends: But we will not have our friend anymore. And if all his organs are still OK, what is he dying of?

Doctor: His health insurance is running out.

Dead or not?