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What are the strongest aspects of Lotus Domino?

I was asked recently to sum up the strongest points about Lotus Domino. This is what I came up with:

Lotus Domino is an integrated communication platform, that features email, instant messaging, collaboration and an application development platform. Its strongest points are self-containment, robustness, scalability, freedom of platform choice, security, extensibility, low cost of ownership and IBM's commitment.

Self-containment: Domino is not dependent on external applications other than the operating system and the network. While MS Exchange depends on Active Directory and Novell Groupwise on Novell's eDirectory, Domino provides it's own directory that also can serve as an LDAP directory for other applications. Due to the lack of external dependencies Domino servers can be moved from one platform to another with ease and low effort. More important: Running Domino does not require a bundle of different products and product skills. When comparing Domino's capabilities with Microsoft's offerings, you would need multiple Microsoft products to cover all Domino functionality: MS Active Directory, MS Exchange, MS Sharepoint, MS Life Connection Server and MS SQL.

Robustness: Domino uses individual databases for every mail user. The databases can synchronized ("replicated" in Notes lingo) between multiple servers and clients. Therefore Domino is very resilient against failures on one server or in one database. Combined with the active clustering and the choice of platforms a Domino system can be build with practical no perceivable downtime.

Scalability and platform choice: Domino is available on multiple platforms from Windows, Linux, Unix to z/OS. It provides cross-platform clustering and load balancing. An investment into a Domino cluster for high availability is paid back with better response times due to the load balancing functionality. IBM has provided benchmarks on notesbench.org where a single iSeries server supports 100,000 concurrent mail users.  However the most interesting aspect of the multi-platform availability is the possibility running Domino servers on different operating systems than the clients, thus providing a natural infection barrier for viruses and maleware. The platform choice doesn't stop with the servers. eMail and data stored in Domino can be accessed by a wealth of clients and protocols, giving the customer the freedom to pick the desktop (email) application of their choice: Lotus Notes Clients, IBM Workplace, MS Outlook, POP3/IMAP4 clients like Mozilla Thunderbird or web mail via a browser.

Security: Domino's granular access control to email, calendar and Domino applications is unique in the industry. Furthermore Domino provides digital signatures and encryption both in Domino's propriety format as well as the industry standard X509. Domino serves as the corporate PKI infrastructure, eliminating the need to invest into and introduce another technology for that. But there is more: Domino enables by design the lock-down of sensitive information, so even the system administrators could not retrieve it, so the data owners can be assured of data confidentiality.

Extensibility: Domino's mail design is completely open and can be customized to specific corporate needs. The OpenNTF open source community provides an free alternative to IBM's own design with enhanced functions putting pressure on IBM to constantly innovate. Besides eMail Domino features a platform for collaborative applications like discussion boards, blogs, wikis, CMS, CRM and a huge selection of open source or commercial applications. The latest version of Domino makes all this available as web services, in fact turning Domino into a pilar of a SOA strategy. Since the application share the platform with messaging they integrate well with email and allow the creation of an corporate unified information backbone.

Low cost of ownership and IBM's commitment: a well configured Domino platform takes advantage of the policy based administration, that minimizes administrative efforts through a set of comprehensive rules. In the latest release IBM also added a comprehensive domain monitoring capability. All this frees up valuable time for administrators to manage their environment more proactive. IBM is the single vendor with the most detailed roadmap for it's messaging platform. The current version Domino 7 has been released a few month ago, nevertheless IBM has outlined plans for Domino version 8 and 9. This assures users of the Domino platform, that they are not in for any rip and replace upgrade any time soon.

Posted by on 02 March 2006 | Comments (14) | categories: Show-N-Tell Thursday


  1. posted by Stephan H. Wissel on Saturday 04 March 2006 AD:
    Well, then Oracle is cursed too Emoticon wink.gif
    You have even more languages you can access it. Including PHP, Python, Eiffel, Haskel and others. As said before (see: http://www.wissel.net/blog/d6plinks/SHWL-6KWKZ3 ) the real curse of Domino is not the multitude of interfaces, but the little knowledge you need to get 'something' going.
    Emoticon smile.gif stw
  2. posted by Alan Lepofsky on Monday 06 March 2006 AD:
    Bravo!!! Really well summarized, may it reach the ears of all the collaboration purchasing decision makers out there. Emoticon biggrin.gif
  3. posted by David Bailey on Monday 06 March 2006 AD:
    Thanks, Stephan. This is a great summary.
  4. posted by Ragnar Schierholz on Tuesday 07 March 2006 AD:
    Hm, how come "Low TCO" and "IBM's commitment" are merged into one?
  5. posted by Hynek Kobelka on Tuesday 07 March 2006 AD:
    Hi, nice list.
    But you should add Replication.
    Lotus Notes as a development environment still offers the unique functionality that any application which you develop with it can be used easily offline (or in several locations).
    This can practically not be achieved with ANY other development platform, and with Lotus Notes you get it nearly without any efford.

    Bye Hynek

  6. posted by Asheet Makhija on Tuesday 28 March 2006 AD:
    A good succinct summary! I think strong collab platform needs a larger mention. Domino is much more than just a mail platform. Emoticon cool.gif
  7. posted by ... but what about the Pitfalls? on Wednesday 29 March 2006 AD:
    Very good summary of the strenghts. But when mentioning the positive aspects of Notes/Domino, you should also keep eyes on the 'minor issues' Notes/Domino still has: Still no native support for mobile Devices or a very scary application administration for tons of smallest apps, etc.
    I'm still a Notes/Domino enthusiast, who's just trying to see things with no "pink painted eyeglasses".

  8. posted by Stephan H. Wissel on Sunday 23 April 2006 AD:
    @10 -- Check the title! It says: What are the strongest points. It doesn't say: Balanced account of Domino pro and con.
    Emoticon smile.gif stw
  9. posted by Tony Austin on Friday 03 November 2006 AD:
    Good post, Stephan!

    Unfortunately you only said: "Domino is available on multiple platforms from Windows, Linux, Unix to z/OS." You should add the AS/400 (oops, sorry. I meant the "iSeries" -- oops again, I meant the "System i").

    Anybody who knows my background (going right back to the great grandfather IBM System/38 in launched 1978) would understand why I get peeved whenever this, the best Domino platform of all, isn't mentioned! Emoticon rolleyes.gif
  10. posted by eyeglasses online on Wednesday 17 March 2010 AD:
    good article Emoticon tongue.gif Emoticon tongue.gif
  11. posted by Sunny lin on Thursday 25 March 2010 AD:
    Thank you, it is so helpful to me
  12. posted by Toni on Tuesday 08 June 2010 AD:
    thanks alot. good written
  13. posted by Adriano on Friday 15 October 2010 AD:
    Thanks, Stephan. This is a great summary. Emoticon wink.gif
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  16. posted by mobil apps on Saturday 29 October 2011 AD:
    Thanks, Stephan. This is a great summary.
  17. posted by iPhone 4s cases on Tuesday 24 April 2012 AD:
    There are many platforms have came into the market because very talented programmers. And I have been reading about this platform for the first time and it is very well summarized which I have got new information
  18. posted by galaxy note 2 cases on Wednesday 16 January 2013 AD:
    Really fantastic article regarding the project. I just really love it. Thanks for making a wonderful share!
  19. posted by Appsta on Tuesday 25 June 2013 AD:
    Good summary about this platform. I got new information from your post. I want to give thanks to the developers who created this platform ans also wigh for good luck.
  20. posted by robert bob lalas on Wednesday 21 August 2013 AD:
    Stephan very informative article you discuss it very well. Emoticon biggrin.gif