Lotus Notes/Sametime vs Zimbra/Skype

I’m still having a great debate about should I deploy Lotus Notes when version 8 is released or should I continue to explore Zimbra. This blog is in response to my original blog entry regarding ‘What am I to do with my email system”.

My primary focus will be how do the products facilitate communication with my business partners and customers where ever they are located around the globe.

I’ve put Skype with Zimbra as the Zimbra demonstration shows the ability to click on a phone number in your email and then use Skype Out to dial.

Now there are clients I know of where the end users would love this functionality but they are using Exchange/Sharepoint and Cisco Call Manager.

On a daily basis we utilise Skype for communication internally and with others around Australia and the globe. Today, I actually called someone who was offline through Skype. He had redirected his Skype through Skype Out to his mobile. It was pretty cool, and it was also the first time it was costing him for me ringing, without me providing consulting services :). A lot of people I am in contact with prefer and use Skype, its just a really nice product that we don’t have to worry about supporting a server with. Yes, I know Skype is using a proprietary protocol, its not SIP/Simple or Jabber/XMPP.

As we don’t run any Windows servers, and we have a strict Linux only policy for servers,we can’t deploy Lotus Sametime 7.5 yet. I really did like the fact that presence awareness was built into the same server with Workplace Collabortion Services and Workplace Services Express. Am hearing that a Linux based version of Sametime is imminent.. Lets hope its not reliant on IBM JRE 1.3 which doesn’t run on SLES 10, due to removal of support for Linux threads in favour of NPTL.

If we did deploy Sametime, it would mean then that we would have to run with two IM systems as I do not think that there is a gateway for Skype. Does anyone know if one is planned? If not can the new Eclipse based Notes Client 8 also integrate with Skype?

I have not seen any demonstration yet, where I can contact a person
through either clicking on a phone number or user name in the body of
an email. Will Lotus Notes 8 have this functionality either through
Skype or Cisco Call Manager or both?

Zimbra deploys through a browser using ajax type components and appears to have plenty of hosting partners that could provide a SaaS type service if required. Zimbra can supports multiple domains with some editions.

Lotus Notes has a browser based version and an Eclipse based rich client. The demonstrations I’m seeing are for the Eclipse based rich client, so I’m assuming that a subset of the functionality would be available through a browser. Am not certain if Lotus Notes/Domino has support for multiple domains or if there is capabilities to provide/use a SaaS type service.

Believe both products we could still use our preferred email client if we still wanted to use Thunderbird etc.

Calendar functionality seems to be well integrated in both products.

I have seen that Zimbra has addressed the ability to be able to book calendar entries from dates in email bodies. This seems like a cool feature, that is practical, to allow coordination of meetings with my business partners and clients. Don’t normally have access to their calendars and can take a couple of emails to coordinate.

I think the Lotus Notes model is still that model of using a centrally located within the enterprise calendar. Have not at this time seen functionality to help me coordinate meetings between organisations quickly. I could be wrong though, as I have not fully explored what Activities can give me.

At the moment I’m leaning towards Zimbra…. I think I might have a look at Google Apps for Your Domain as well because the idea of having a SaaS type service is very appealing!


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