Usability - Productivity - Business - The web - Singapore & Twins

Let's ditch IBM Notes and Domino

Finally you decided it is time to move on, legacy no longer means " tried and tested" but " we need to move one" to you. After all you never really liked Cher.
Notes data is available via LotusScript, dotNet (through the COM bridge), in Java, Corba, C++, XML, REST, MIME, so how hard can it be? Actually not very hard, you just need to:
  1. Find sutiable replacement application platform(s)
  2. Rewrite the applications (don't dream: there is no such thing as "migrate an app")
  3. Migrate your users
  4. Migrate your data
... and then live happily ever after. Probably the easiest part is migrating the users, after all directories are more or less the same when you look at the LDAP side of them.
Migrating the users' encryption keys and secured documents could be considered "an application function", so you dodge a potential problem here.
Getting the data out, short of that pesky RichText content (yeah, the one with sections and embedded OLE controls), is easy - never mind reader and author access protection.
The transformation into the target format happens in a black box (the same the local magician uses for his tricks), you buy from a service provider, so that's covered, leaves platform and applications. (Bring your own <irony /> tags)
Lets have a look at the moving parts (Listing OpenSource components only, you can research commercial ones on your own):
What Domino does for you
  • Directory : OpenLDAP comes with most Linux distributions and is well understood. It doesn't take you down the propriarty extension hell (and you can remove obsolete schema parts) - it requires an RDBMS to run (not a blue one)
  • PKI : PrimeKey
  • Sync Server : For the database you could get away with the database, but you need one for mobile: Z-Push
  • Document Server : Pick any - or go with: Dropbox, Box, Copy etc.
  • Database Server : Notes is the mother of NoSQL, so you want to pick one of those: CouchDB, OrientDB or you go with DB/2 PureXML
  • Application Server : XPages is full fledged JSF, you you might opt for TomEE, but you will need some extra libraries. Or you ditch Java and adopt the cool kid on the block
  • Mail Server : the venerable SendMail does, as the name implies, send mail. Goes nicely with Mozilla Thunderbird
  • Web Server : That's easy. There's NGinX or Apache
  • Enterprise Integration : Might be quite tricky. Domino's DECS and LEI shuffle data from all sorts of sources. OpenESB might do the trick
  • Task scheduling : You can use OS level CRON (Just find a nice UI) or application level Quartz
Keep in mind, this replaces one server - Domino. Each of the tools needs to be:
  1. configured
  2. hardened
  3. populated with data
The ease of clustering you had with Domino, gets replaced with different methods and capabilities for each of the tools. Today Cloud is the new infrastructure, so you might get lucky with someone else configuring all of the above for you.

Once you got all the moving parts in place, you need to redevelop your apps. Don't be fooled, but run the analysis, to see the full magnitude of that task ahead.
As usual YMMV

Posted by on 29 May 2014 | Comments (7) | categories: IBM Notes


  1. posted by A.R. Skurka on Friday 30 May 2014 AD:
    another very good summary Emoticon smile.gif

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  2. posted by Nck Halliwell on Friday 30 May 2014 AD:
    Brilliant and very true.

    Why would anyone want to migrate away from Notes, M$ can only do mail, you will have a big job integrating applications into the M$ mail system. With Notes its just happens right out the box.

    All this cloud stuff, yes it works if you have really fast and 100% reliable internet, in SE Asia (except Singapore) we dont. In Thailand we have just had a coup, one of many we have here, there were problems with the internet, bits got cut and the rest was really slow for about 3 or 4 days cause every was on the internet trying to find out what was going on. Doing work on a cloud was close to impossible and took forever.

    Call me old fashioned, but I prefer an application to run on my desktop, with a server that I can control, and yes use the cloud to back it all up. Emoticon laugh.gif
  3. posted by Patrick Kwinten on Monday 02 June 2014 AD:
    Another requirement I hear that is often lacking is: BUDGET.

    I have heard multiple stories about companies who throw away millions on Office365 licences for some years already, mainly because they haven't calculated to reserve budget to migrate.

    Not sure if they are so happy Microsoft campers?

    Emoticon shocked.gif
  4. posted by Brent Henry on Monday 02 June 2014 AD:
    I've been working with Wakanda lately (www.wakanda.org). It greatly reduces the number of pieces you need to architect something that resembles Domino. They have a new object data type in the dev stream that should make it even easier to migrate data. The UI and logic still needs to be rewritten but much of the code lives In the data model AND it's a full stack JavaScript environment so only one language to deal with.
  5. posted by Stephen Bailey on Tuesday 03 June 2014 AD:
    Stephan, what are you trying to say? ;)
    Moving away from Domino apps is tough?
    Yep, I think most of us get that. However, as the technology has evolved, it's much easier to put the apps on a single server (or cluster), and serve them over http for access using the Notes plugin. Hey presto, a bundle of server costs and no headache to manage Notes clients, and there's even a low-ish cost licensing model that supports it. Thanks IBM! :)
  6. posted by Giovanni Vildacci on Wednesday 04 June 2014 AD:
    And then....... Long life to DOmino, should be less expensive for any user license, just asimple as in the past, but with everything new there may be.

    Integrating tecnologies and plataform are interesting but very time consuming, And now the real cost of the application is the cost of time man.

  7. posted by Stephan H. Wissel on Sunday 15 June 2014 AD:
    @Stephen: I'm trying to say: This is the list you need to take care of. Not more, not less.

    Finding the list long, short, easy or daunting is in the eye of the beholder.

    What is remarkable: When Notes started, there were often no practical alternatives, now you have choices for the individual aspects, but not the sum.

    Reminds me of Hifi: do I use a compact stereo or buy best of breed individual components? Pros and Cons on both sides.