If you have I'm interested in the user experience and admin experience. Did users prefer Outlook over Notes? Did the sysadmins prefer Exchange over Domino? If so why?

closed as primarily opinion-based by HopelessN00b Dec 5 '14 at 10:34

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.


The key difference between Notes and Exchange is that Notes is not an email system first and foremost.

It is a platform for database development. It happens to also be an email and calendaring package.

Long established Notes shops often have no idea how many custom databases users have built and rely on for day to day business.

I know of one large Notes shop that is contemplating a switch to Exchange but they have so many line of business applications that slowly fell into use as Notes applications, that the task is monumental.

In fact, they will likely continue to run Domino/Notes as a database and application platform. while at the same time transitioning to Exchange for mail and calendaring.


Most of the time in my experience it has been relatively straightforward and users generally hate Lotus because Lotus admins insist on running a 5 year backlevel client. (Having working with Tivoli before, I could understand that philosophy.)

The key is to rip off the bandaid. The products that help you run Notes/Exchange simultaneously are fairly mediocre, so you don't want to "co-exist" any longer than necessary. That said, it's much easier to absorb Lotus than Groupwise.

Sysadmins usually don't like change, especially since Domino admins tend to be contractors. I've also seen a few situations where the security folks flip out, because they are very comfortable with the security model and the way Notes works within the network or like running key infrastructure on Unix platforms.

If the team is transitioning to an Exchange admin role they have difficulty adjusting to Microsoft documentation, which tends to suck. One thing that IBM does right is manuals, redbooks, etc.

  • Our Domino admins are fulltime. Plus they love it. Well, it's all they've ever known, poor things. – PowerApp101 May 20 '09 at 5:54
  • The way Domino/Notes does everything with certificates and signing is really powerful. Annoying, but powerful. Loosing that, really can be hard to get used too. – geoffc May 20 '09 at 13:42
  • Yes, very annoying. It's overkill IMHO and just leads to frustration with expired certificates. Keeps the Domino admins in a job I suppose. – PowerApp101 May 21 '09 at 0:46

Out of the box outlook user experience is much better than Notes. However, as Geoff said, Lotus Notes is a development platorm. The Mail system is just one application already given to you. If you want you can design on that Mail template your own customization.

Notes (/Domino) is a very stable environment and a very good Rapid Application Development platform. Outlook is just a mail client.

As for servers - my personal experience with the servers was on Domino 6.5 and Exchange 2003, and Domino is by far easier to handle.

Long story short - if all you need is a mail client, you should definitely take Exchange-Outlook. If you're looking for an application platform, you should look into Notes.

As for Migrating - There are quite good tools for migrating from lotus notes basic mail template to exchange. I migrated couple of thousands users, with no real problems.

  • One good thing (bad thing?) about Domino is that you can backup the NSFs by just copying them live while the server is running, as they are not locked. I know this is not ideal and could lead to db inconsistancies but I know for a fact that this is how many Notes shops do backup (caveat, only works for non-logged databases I think). – PowerApp101 May 21 '09 at 0:52
  • No Notes admin worth his salt would stand for that kind of garbage. A proper backup agent is a must. Transaction logs are very nice to have as it allows point-in-time recovery (as in, I got this email this morning, deleted it 10 minutes later - can you restore it - YES). – Peter T. LaComb Jr. Jun 19 '09 at 14:02

One should never look at notes unless company is already hooked on that piece of software. I don't care how powerfull this platform is. It belongs to win 3.11 era. And the way the things go it will never ever become a modern product. It is 2009 and latest version of notes does not work with clipboard user friendly. It should burn in hell.

additional info

  • your post is somewhat sympathic to me, but it does absolutely not help in terms of an answer. I am more tempted to flag it, than to upvote it. – lImbus May 21 '09 at 0:35
  • The Notes 8.x client is a vast improvement over previous versions...but still lacks the polish you'd expect from a modern app. – PowerApp101 May 21 '09 at 0:49
  • 3
    @limbus, I know i'm biased. But i have to work my day with lotus and i have no positive emotions from this at all. Nobody i know likes it from user perspective. – Alexander Taran May 21 '09 at 6:44
  • I can't bring myself to upvote the post (for the reason limbus listed), but I absolutely agree with the sentiments. – J.T. Grimes Jun 4 '09 at 18:03

Well... nobody likes change. Outlook users won't like Notes and Notes users will not feel compfortable with Notes at the begining. Is the same in both directions. Depends a lot on the version you a.xre migrating from (Notes 8.x is much more user friendly) and if you have Notes applications (users miss those a lot, generally what happens is you have to keep the servers for a long time just for those and you duplicate your infrastructure). Admins hate the change, since Notes is much more stable and predictable, and things are more exposed for troubleshooting.


Microsoft Exchange provides lots of convenient, easy to handle and very simple Graphical user Interfaces with its latest version Over Domino Lotus Notes. For more info read the link:




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