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Lotus Domino Applications vs Microsoft Exchange&MOSS

I work in SMB company ( 70 computers in one LAN and 15 in 2 remote remote offices, 5 very mobile users, all using Microsoft Windows), until now we didn't need any groupware solution, so we used free one's like postfix, apache, firebird etc.

I'm doing research what groupware soultion to choose.
Except all the groupware goodies like calendar sharing, task lists, etc.
I need a possibility to "easily" create or buy database applications on the chosen platform,
like DMS systems, integration with some legacy systems, custom forms.
I'd like everything to be accessible from one application,
so I think I narrowed my research to two solutions I've heard about :
Lotus Domino with Lotus Client and Microsoft Exchange with MS Outlook .
I there is anything else please let me know.

ASAIK I know that all of my requirements are supported by Lotus Domino, but I have never used one from administrative perespective, neither as advanced user.

On the other hand is MS - correct me if I'm wrong - the prefered way of integrating solutions with MS is Sharepoint ? Or like in Lotus databases can I  access data using advanced custom forms directly from MS Outlook.

And the question about the future - I've been reading some forums, talked to people and what I can see that people that has been using Lotus Domino are moving to MS Exchange solutions, I don't know anyone that does the opposite. Why is that happening?

Another question is licencing, but I think it's too complicated for now to start a discusion about it, so let's just forget about licences for now.  

I'd like to hear Domino and Exchange(and MOSS) experts,but also regular users, so maybe I can clear my mind and make a right choice.  



4 Solutions
I vote for Domino. You cannot really compare the two...
Hi shlafrock,

Exchange with MS Outlook is not really an option if you are wanting to create/buy databases for the chosen platform and run them all in the same environment (Sharepoint is something different entirely.)

I would probably have to agree that outlook and Sharepoint will integrate more easily together since they are both MS products. However, there are ways of integrating Lotus Notes with Sharepoint and there are 3rd parties out there that specialise in this.

You are also right that most companies seem to be moving from Lotus Notes to Outlook and not the other way around. However, again, there are companies that are still moving to Lotus Notes... Take a look at the IBM Case Studies below for examples:


I guess really, it all depends on what you want out of it all. From your description it sounds like you want more than just email, and in this respect Lotus Notes is the winner. If however, you are also looking at Sharepoint solutions then you may want to consider a MS solution for email so that you have easier integration with whatever you do with Sharepoint in the future.

Maybe I read too fast, but where did you read that shlafrock needs to integrate with SPPS?
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Sjef BosmanGroupware ConsultantCommented:
Now there's a difficult question: compare Notes/Domino and Exchange/Sharepoint. And then you ask us to be unprejudiced? Very difficult...

There are studies about the mail-only aspects of both environments. A good and fairly unbiased one:

Applications is something entirely different. I'd rather not be accused of saying the wrong things about MS software, so I can only indicate Notes+Domino's strong points:
- security
- reliability
- integrated development environment
- high level application integration
- distributed database, with replication between servers
- clustering
- compatibility with older versions (databases created using earlier releases will usually run on newer systems)
- portable (Domino and Notes 8.5.2 will run on Linux)
- licensing! (Notes + Domino are usually cheaper than Exch + Outlook + SQLserver + + + + +)


And an interesting, albeit dated, discussion:

Often heard: it is easier to find a MS admin than a Notes admin, although IBM and MS more or less agree on the number of installed systems (40-60). Yet there seem to be 10 times as many admins. Why is that? Could it be that Domino requires far less administration? I know of Domino servers that haven't been restarted for ages. Study the total cost of ownership, and licences are not the only element in it.
shlafrockAuthor Commented:
Ok let's assume that email, caledars, contacts and todo lists work great in both solutions. So let's forget about this part.

Now when it come's to database driven application development.
Using MS infrastructure it's quite easy ( mostly because I'm more familiar with ) to develop using .NET and Visual Studio or even Sharepoint, having single sign-on, and Outlook integration features, etc.
and in result, assuming sharepoint applications I can access everything using just a browser ( ASAIK OWA works with sharepoint ), which is good for me because I have remote offices connected with not too fast links and mobile users who are using mobile internet.

I know that Lotus Domino has it's web client, but I'm not quite sure how Lotus Applications work, can forms and data be accessed from both Lotus Notes and web interface ( is Lotus Portal something like MS Sharepoint ? ), and how hard is it to create my own applications - is IBM's Lotus Developer Tool programmer friendly or as friendly as creating J2EE applications ?
Does Lotus work with some integrated database or do I need DB2 or anything more than Domino ?


So is Sharepoint here to stay or not, in the future deployment?

Lotus Domino databases do have the ability to be accessed by web clients, but you have to develop them in a way that supports that (see XPages).
And yes, Lotus Websphere portal is something like SPPS (but it doesn't have anything to do with exposing Lotus applications to web clients).

Lotus Domino Designer is friendly, but you'll need to go through a few tutorials to get acquainted with the IDE.
Hmm, for me, creating JEE applications is far "friendlier" then using Visual Studio to develop .NET apps, so it's all relative.
But yes, you can generally say that, although they both run on top of Eclipse, Domino Designer is easier to learn then learning how to create JEE web apps.

Each Lotus application is database by itself. Not relational db, but non-sql, document-based db.
So, if you're asking whether you need additional db to work with Domino, no, you don't. But it all depends on your business case.
If you need to, you can easily synchronize data between RDB and Lotus db using IBM Lotus Enterprise Integrator (LEI).

If I'm not clear somewhere, ask...
shlafrockAuthor Commented:
If your question is if I need to integrate with Sharepoint - no I don't.

I'm going to do Domino test drive, so I'll be back with some questions later.
For now thanks.
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