Microsoft Corp. released a set of tools Monday that allow Lotus Notes users to assess what applications they have running on their servers, a key step in helping them migrate to competing products from Microsoft.

The Microsoft Application Analyzer for Lotus Notes consists of two tools that enable users to take an inventory of the applications they have built for the Notes platform. Such information is useful for customers to help assess what resources it would take to migrate to Microsoft’s competing Exchange server, said Jim Bernardo, product manager with Microsoft’s Exchange group.

“Sometimes people build Lotus applications for short-term projects and don’t get rid of them or archive them,” Bernardo said. “What ends up happening is that you have literally hundreds or thousands of these types of applications that are still living out on the server someplace and aren’t being used.”

During the migration process, customers would typically only want to move applications that are used regularly, he said. One of the analysis tools, called the Data Collector, is designed to scan a Lotus system and deliver a summary of the applications running on it. The Data Collector details information such as when the last time an application was used, how often it was used, how big the applications are and which server they are located on.

Microsoft’s goal is to lure customers over to its Exchange server software and its SQL Server database in place of products from Lotus Development Corp. and its parent company IBM Corp.

“Customers could be moving their Lotus applications to Websphere or DB2,” said Earnie Glazener, product manager with Microsoft’s Exchange group. “It’s going to be a big change anyway, so we say, Doesn’t it make more sense to change to .Net instead?”

Microsoft also made available Monday a more advanced tool for analyzing Lotus server applications, called the Data Processor, which it is offering to Microsoft Certified Partners that work with customers to migrate from Lotus to Microsoft. Microsoft Consulting Services will also make use of the Data Processor, which can deliver detailed information about individual Lotus applications.

Additionally, Microsoft said it was retiring a product called the Microsoft Application Connector for Lotus Notes, which was designed to allow users to synchronize an Exchange database with a Notes database. Users who migrate from Lotus to Microsoft typically use the tool to move data. Instead, it is referring users to a similar product available from a company called Casahl Technology Inc.

Microsoft will continue offering a similar connector software for synchronizing mail and calendar data between the two software platforms, Bernardo said.

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