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I have a client who is using Lotus Domino for their web application/server platform. The client has two "web developers" who are more comfortable with Lotus Domino than more mainstream tools and technologies and are not enthusiastic about making a switch. I have been asked to provide an assessment of why it may be prudent to migrate to a different web application platform.

I would be particularly interested in understanding deficiencies related to the platform as I have very little knowledge of Domino but am very familiar with other platforms.

In addition to the fact that Apache has over 70% of web server market, IIS over 21%, and Lotus almost 0%, what other reasons would you give for moving away from this platform?

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closed as not constructive by Ben Pilbrow, Scott Pack, coredump, Iain, Sam Mar 20 '11 at 17:35

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Also, I'm assuming you're getting your numbers from Netcraft? That's for public sites. I imagine most Lotus apps are either internal-only and thus not on Netcraft's radar, or if they're public, have an Apache reverse-proxy or other security layer in front that masks the server identity. All of our public apps, whether they're IIS/ASP or Websphere/Java, have an Apache tier in front of them. –  mfinni May 28 '10 at 15:02
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I think this really depends on why you want to switch. Is there a specific problem you're trying to solve? Or do they want you to develop something and you aren't familiar with Domino/Notes? –  Jack M. May 28 '10 at 15:05
    
Everyone I know who has used Lotus (in the last 10 years) hates it. I don't have enough experience myself to know why. I use Apache and IIS, and Apache is by far my preferred platform for most things. –  Chris S May 28 '10 at 15:10
    
Duplicate of serverfault.com/questions/146592/… –  Cristian Ciupitu May 30 '10 at 0:04
    
Much of your arguments must revolve around the web applications the client is using. Sometimes it's anything but easy to migrate them to another platform, so you need to do some serious investigation in that area. It may be that the platform is the least of the problems. –  John Gardeniers Mar 18 '11 at 22:08

4 Answers 4

One reason to keep Domino is the security is significantly better than any technologies I have ever known or heard of. Combined with the Lotus Notes client it is just about impossible to break.

Most of the technology being dreamed up now to address web growing pains have been in Lotus Notes since 1993.

Biggest negatives are that the programming of the system is so easy bad developers can get away with putting systems into production that should have never been put in production. Second biggest negative is that since it is a workflow enabled document based paradigm most programmers don't understand it. Third biggest negative is since it has such broad functionality it takes better quality of administrator and developer to do a good job with it.

To completely replace Lotus Notes/Domino with say Microsoft products would take Windows Servers, MS Sharepoint, IIS, SQL Server, Exchange, Outlook and Internet Explorer and all of this would need to be redundant since Lotus Notes / Domino is already fault tolerant. Not to mention an army of administrators and developers to program and maintain the systems. Therefore you would have a large constituency to defend the new bureaucracy.

So when you look at it in that light, maybe there is much more "wrong" with all the technologies it takes to replace it than the three biggest negatives I know of with Lotus Notes/ Domino.

FYI: Lotus Notes / Domino data storage and programs have been forward compatible since 1989. In other words, an application or database in production in 1989 will still work with today's technology so you aren't always having to rewrite and convert so my guess is the ROI over a long time is extremely high.

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Market share is the only compelling reason I can think of: It's easier to find Apache/{PHP,Perl,Ruby,etc.} developers than Domino developers, and ditto for admin staff. If you're looking to bring in more developers or admins (or your current admin team isn't thrilled with Domino from an admin/management standpoint) that would be a motivation to switch

That being said, Domino will happily run PHP/Perl/Ruby CGI scripts so there's not much of a disincentive on the development side, and if your admin team isn't against Domino for good technical reasons my advice would be not to start pulling threads. Changing web servers (& changing/testing everything else riding on top of them) is a lot of work, and without an immediately obvious gain I wouldn't want to do it.

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Many years ago I selected LN as the mail and intranet app for a bank. Our main concerns at that time were security and bandwidth.

We didn't care about:

  • Flexibility (We just needed what LN offered)
  • Availability of free apps/frameworks
  • Availability of educated programmers & administrators
  • Time to Market
  • Support for the app life cycle
  • Availability of Testing tools
  • Costs

Our decision proved a good one for almost ten years. Then things changed and we migrated to an "open" platform.

So ... as always ... "it depends". Perhaps you can share with us some insight on the strategic plan so we can provide more specific input.

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Well, one of the reasons not to move to something else is because the existing web developers like it. A reason to move would be because the company wants to be able to use other developers.

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