by March 9, 2010 0 comments



In the first part of our series, we gave you a brief overview of what’s so
special about Lotus Domino/Notes 8.5 and Exchange/Outlook 2010. In this part,
we’ll get into more details on the key new features offered by both platforms.

IBM Lotus Domino 8.5
Domino has incorporate several new technologies to save storage space like
techniques to manage attachments, use of compression techniques, etc. There are
techniques to reduce I/O, routing optimization methods to reduce latency and
ensure faster mail delivery, etc. Several enhancements have also been done in
group policy management to ease administration, and there are features to
recover lost user ids and passwords. Let’s take a closer look.

Attachment management with DAOS
Email servers are storage hogs, thanks to the ever growing volume of email
traffic on corporate networks. It would therefore make a lot of sense for the
email software to have space saving features. The Domino Attachment and Object
Service, short for DAOS does just this by creating a single instance of a file
that’s to be shared by multiple users. A simple example of this is email
attachments. When a users sends an email to lots of recipients with an
attachment, then every user gets an instance of that attachment. If a 2 MB
attachment is sent to 10 users, then 20 MB of storage space is consumed. With
DAOS, there’s only one instance of the 2 MB attachment stored in the database,
and all users are simply sent links to it. The good thing is that users would
never even realize this is happening. They would continue receiving emails with
attachments as they normally would. The good thing is that DAOS is valid for any
document stored in any database on the Domino Server, and not just for email
attachments. This capability also reduces the disk I/O activity on the server.

Lotus Notes/Domino 8.5 Features overview
IBM Lotus Domino 8.5:

  • Domino Attachment and Object Service
  • Compression of body text in documents
  • Gzip of HTML files in Domino Web Server
  • NotesID to recover lost user names and passwords
  • Dynamic policy assignment
  • Domino configuration tuner to analyze and recommend configurations for
    optimal performance

IBM Lotus Notes Client 8.5

  • New look and feel
  • Context sensitive right-click menus
  • Automatic compression of images in emails vCard support
  • Alternate email id suggestions
  • iCalendar support to import other iCal calendars
  • Google calendar import
  • Lotus Connections integrated with Notes
  • Drag and drop email ids to SameTime to add contacts to the list
  • Calendar support in Lite mode of iNotes
  • UltraLite mode for iPhone and iPod

DAOS reminds us of an interesting IT project that was deployed by ICICI Bank
several years ago, called

mail attachment stripping
. The software did exactly what DAOS does. All
attachments would be saved on the server in one location, and only their
reference was sent to the users.

Save disk space with document compression
Text documents and several image formats like BMP are highly compressible.
Many times, you can compress them up to 90%! Considering that a majority of
emails are just text, imagine the amount of space saving that would be possible
by using compression. That’s exactly what Domino Server has now
enabled-compression of body text in documents. This feature is further extended
to the Domino Web Server, which can even serve files compressed using gzip.
Imagine the space saving you’ll achieve after gzipping thousands of HTML files
used on your corporate Intranet!

Recover lost IDs and passwords
A new feature called NotesID stores all user Ids and passwords in a
separate, secure database. This allows users to recover their passwords in case
they forget them. Users can even regenerate passwords if so desired.

Dynamic policy assignment in Lotus iNotes
The policy management has been improved considerably to reduce
administrative overheads. You can apply policies dynamically to users and
groups. For instance, if you assign a policy to a group of users, and the group
membership changes, then the policy also changes automatically. Likewise, you
can define a policy and then add users to it for whom this policy should apply.
This is much better than configuring individual user policies.

Domino configuration tuner
There are thousands of configuration options in Domino, making it impossible
to optimize everything perfectly. Any setting that’s not optimally configured
can cause performance degradation or other problems. That’s where Domino
Configuration Tuner or DCT comes in handy. It can analyze your Domino server or
group of servers together and generate a report with an analysis of all the
configurations. It flags alerts for configuration settings that have been known
to cause problems, so that you can adjust them within optimal levels. It’s
essentially a catalog of best practices on Domino Server configuration. The good
thing about DCT is that it’s also available free of cost for customers using
Domino Server 7 and above.

IBM Lotus Notes Client 8.5
The Notes client has added several enhancements as well, with streamlined
context menus, image compression, advanced calendaring features, better contacts
management, integration with Lotus Connections, and much more. Let’s have a
look.

Look and feel: You’ll no longer see the same, long menu after right-clicking
on something in Notes. Now, the menu context changes according to the document
being clicked. Notes also enables automatic compression of images, like BMP
files, to reduce the size of emails being sent out with attachments. Another
feature called type ahead has been added, which automatically fills up the name
of a contact after you type enough number of letters for it to find a match.
Moreover, it even shows you alternate email ids if a contact has them. You no
longer have to open the address book to find the alternate ids. Moreover, the
Notes client also allows you to send your contacts as vCards. The Notes client
has improved its login capabilities: When you login to Windows, you can get
automatically logged into your Notes client as well.

Advanced calendering features: The Notes interface now has iCalendar support,
which allows it to import calendars from other calendar products that support
the same standard. Moreover, you can even import your Google calendar into the
Notes calendar, allowing you to manage multiple calendars from a single
interface.

Social Networking support: The social networking software, Lotus Connections,
can now be integrated with Notes. Users can search through the various
Activities, blogs, forums, etc of Connections. Moreover, it also supports
SameTime better. Users can simply drag an email into Lotus SameTime, and 
automatically add its contact into the list.

iNotes: This feature allows Notes users to access their mail, calendar, and
scheduling features through a web browser. Earlier known as Domino Web Access,
iNotes has a new look and several interesting features. For instance, calendar
options are now available in the Lite mode of iNotes, which is meant for
low-bandwidth environments. Earlier, this mode only allowed access to mail and
contacts. There’s a new UltraLite mode available to be accessed from iPhone or
iPod Touch. Now, even external widgets can also be integrated in iNotes.

Microsoft Exchange 2010
Having seen the new features in Notes/Domino, let’s now focus on what the
new Exchange 2010 has to offer.

Archiving, retention, and discovery
Just as Domino introduced features to save disk space, Exchange 2010 has
added archiving, retention, and discovery features. In these, every user gets a
personal archive folder, which is directly associated with the user’s mailbox.
Users can directly drag and drop email from their primary mailbox to this
folder. This keeps their primary mailbox light, thereby helping improve
performance. The process of moving emails to archives folder can also be
automated through policies, to make it easier for users to manage their
mailboxes.

MS Exchange 2010

  • Automate email movement to archives folder through policies
  • Legal Hold feature to preserve emails, appointments, etc
  • Multi-mailbox search to look through emails, mail attachments,
    calendar appointments, tasks, contacts, etc.
  • Role based access control to delegate specific tasks
  • Web-based Exchange Control Panel
  • Automatic failover to different Exchange database in case of failure
  • Move mailboxes to different databases without downtime
  • Lower Disk I/O by up to 90% over Exchange 2003, and up to 70% over
    Exchange 2007

Outlook 2010

  • Every user gets a personal archive folder along with main mailbox
  • Drag and drop emails from mailbox to archives folder to keep primary
    mailbox light
  • Call answering rules to give users more control over how should they
    be reached
  • Better voicemail management, with voicemail preview to navigate
    through voice messages Protected voicemail to control which voicemails to
    forward
  • Auto Attendant in Voicemail to quickly find people in your
    organization without knowing their extension numbers

Outlook Web Access

  • Conversation view to group messages from a single conversation
    together
  • Support for Internet Explorer 7+, Firefox 3+, and Safari 3+
  • MailTips to warn users of activities that might cause a negative
    impact
  • Scroll through email in a big mailbox, instead of accessing multiple
    pages
  • Nickname cache to let users quickly find contacts
  • Save your favorite searches
  • Share calendars with people outside the organization
  • View multiple calendars side by side
  • Set colorful presence indicators for your contacts to see the best
    mode to communicate with them.
  • Instant Messaging and presence capability (requires Office Comm.
    Server)
  • Manage SMSs from your inbox

There’s also the Legal Hold capability that would preserve all mails,
appointments, etc from a user’s mailbox and the Personal Archive. As the name
suggests, this would preserve the users’ mailboxes even if anything is deleted
from it. Moreover, the administrator can also define the duration for which to
hold deleted and edited email. On top of this, multi-mailbox search has been
added, which allows somebody like a compliance officer to search through a
user’s emails, mail attachments, calender appointments, tasks, contacts, etc.

OWA
Outlook Web Access now has a conversation view to group messages from a
single conversation together so that the user can quickly go through a long mail
trail to understand the sequence of events. The interesting part here is that
the conversation view is always preserved even if your individual mails are
lying in different folders of your mailbox. You can move or delete an entire
conversation if required. OWA now supports Internet Explorer 7+, Firefox 3+, and
Safari 3+. Another useful feature called MailTips warns users of activities that
might cause a negative impact, such as sending out an email to a huge senders
list with a huge attachment, etc.

If you have lots of email, then you won’t have to go through pages. Users can
now scroll through their email, no matter how big their mailbox. There’s a new
Nickname cache, which allows a user to quickly find a contact. As the user types
an email address, Nickname cache suggests names, and this list gets narrower as
the user types more letters in the address.

Mailbox searching has become more powerful in OWA, wherein you can search
‘from’, ‘to’, ‘has attachments’, etc, and even save your favorite searches. A
feature called Favorites let’s users save things they need to access frequently
from their mailbox. OWA allows users to share their calendars with people
outside the organization. Moreover, they can even view multiple calendars side
by side, and fix meetings with both internal and external contacts. You can set
colorful presence indicators for users in your contacts list to see the best
mode to communicate with a user. Instant Messaging is also possible through OWA,
and this together with the presence capability we just mentioned requires an
Office Communications Server at the backend to work. SMSs can also be managed
through the users’s inbox.

Voicemail
Better voicemail management has been introduced in Exchange 2010, with
features like voicemail preview to help you easily navigate through voice
messages, protected voicemail so you can control which voicemails to forward and
which ones not to; Another useful feature called Auto Attendant lets you quickly
find a person in your organization even if you don’t know his/her extension
number. Call answering rules can be set to allow users more control over how
should they be reached.

Easier administration
Several new management features have been introduced in Exchange, like role
based access control that allows an administrator to delegate specific
management tasks to people without sharing the entire Exchange Administration
panel. There’s a web-based Exchange Control Panel, which provides users with
certain self-service features to reduce calls to the helpdesk for common
problems. For instance, if a user isn’t sure whether a message he/she sent was
actually delivered, then the user can check the delivery reports to confirm
this, instead of asking the administrator to provide this info.

Mailbox resiliency
Several features have been built in Exchange 2010 to minimize server
downtime and failures. Automatic failover to a different database is one such
feature. Online mailbox move is another, wherein you an move a user’s mailbox
from one database to another without the user even knowing about it. Apparently
the new Exchange server reduces Disk I/O by up to 90% over Exchange 2003, and up
to 70% over Exchange 2007, allowing for more efficient storage.

These are some key enhancements in both platforms. We’ll start comparing
specific features present on both platforms in our future series. Do let us know
if you have any specific requests.

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