Lotus servers pared down for IBM Express lineup

IBM Corp. on Wednesday added the Lotus Domino server to its growing suite of software targeted at companies with fewer than 2,000 users.

The company introduced Domino Collaboration Express and Domino Utility Server Express as the first Lotus products in IBM’s Express line of software.

Express is the name given to versions of products in the IBM software portfolio that restrict the number of users and offer licensing price cuts of up to 40 percent. There are now eight Express versions of IBM products, including DB2, Tivoli Storage Resource Manager, WebSphere Application Server, WebSphere Commerce, WebSphere Business Connection and WebSphere Portal.

IBM plans to bring other Lotus products into the Express lineup including IBM Lotus Instant Messaging and Web Conferencing and IBM Lotus Team Workplace. A timeframe for those products has not been announced.

“The Express program is designed to tune IBM software for small to mid-sized companies from 200 to 2,000 employees,” says Ken Bisconti, vice president of Lotus Workplace products.

Domino Collaboration Express, which is based on Domino 6, provides support for e-mail, group scheduling, discussion forums, and team workplaces. Client support includes Lotus Notes or Domino Web Access, Domino Access for Microsoft Outlook and Domino Web Mail.

Collaboration Express is the second variant of the Domino platform that Lotus has introduced this year. In May, it launched Lotus Workplace Messaging, a simple e-mail server that runs on WebSphere.

The Express version of Domino differs from the full Domino 6.0 server in that it does not ship with the Domino Designer developer tools, support for clustering or include a bundled copy of WebSphere Application Server.

Bisconti said users can build applications on top of Domino Express but will have to buy a separate Domino Designer license. He also said third-party applications will run unless they require WebSphere and Domino.

Domino Express also differs from Domino 6.0 server in terms of pricing. The per user pricing for up to 1,000 seats is US$89.25 when a company trades up from a competitive e-mail product such as Microsoft Exchange, or $119 per user for new purchases.

The Utility Server Express is tuned for running Web-based applications. The server can not be used as an e-mail server or to run Notes applications. It also is not bundled with WebSphere.

“Users said that other infrastructures were overkill for the types of applications that they want to run,” says Bisconti.

Late last year Lotus introduced the full version of Utility Server, but smaller companies balked at its price of $15,000 per CPU. The Express version is priced at $5,000 per CPU, but users must purchase licenses in two CPU increments up to a maximum of four CPUs.

Both of the Lotus Express servers are available now and are supported on Linux on Intel, Microsoft Corp. Windows, IBM OS/400 iSeries, IBM AIX pSeries and Sun Microsystems Inc.’s Solaris.