Lotus boosts Web services support

In an effort to “unleash collaboration” throughout the enterprise, IBM Corp.’s Lotus Software Group announced plans to add J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) support to its collaboration products and capabilities.

Speaking here at the company’s annual Lotusphere user and business partner gathering, general manager of Lotus Software Al Zollar said the transition to J2EE is a natural evolution designed to give Lotus applications a broader reach in the emerging world of Web services.

Specifically, Lotus collaboration applications “will be a set of applications and services sitting on top of J2EE,” he said. Integrating with a standards-based architecture will enable contextual collaboration, Zollar continued, in which collaborative capabilities can be embedded into any business process or application.

Addressing concerns of customers worried about the future of Domino within IBM’s architecture, Zollar affirmed Lotus support for Domino, saying that Domino is the path to the future.

“The capabilities of Domino will play a major role in this architecture,” he said.

Choosing J2EE may be an obvious path to allow Lotus to tap the power of its parent IBM, but Zollar said the company will keep the doors open with Microsoft Corp.’s .Net architecture.

“J2EE is the model we’ve chosen, but we are not excluding .Net. We are building on the J2EE architecture and will integrate with .Net.” Zollar said.

To further unified messaging in the enterprise, Lotus also revealed alliances with Cisco Systems Inc. and Captaris Inc. to integrate voice with Lotus Notes. Unified communication support will enable users to access and manage voicemail, fax, and e-mail within a single interface.

“Any corporate voicemail can be in Lotus inbox,” Zollar said.

Lotus also unveiled a name and release date for its forthcoming version of Notes and Domino, formerly code-name Rnext. A pre-release version of Lotus Notes and Lotus Domino 6 will be available within 30 days, and the final product is scheduled to ship in the third quarter, Zollar said.

Revealing more of the functionality of Notes Domino 6, Lotus announced that a Tivoli server health management and planning toolset will be included with the final shipping version. The increased integration with Tivoli server management software is designed to provide a performance analysis product that runs seamlessly within Domino and can enhance the performance of Domino server software.

Other news revealed during the opening session include a new learning management system from IBM Mindspan Solutions that can track and manage the delivery of e-learning content; a reorganized Lotus software services group designed to focus on specific Lotus technology; and a hosted version of Sametime instant messaging for use in e-meetings.