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Daily Digest: January 26, 2009
Messaging & Collaboration

Marshal and 8e6 Technologies Merger Creates Trusted Internet Security Partner for the Education Market  
Comment on Marshal here

Survey of Spam Control Products, and Survey of Archiving Products -- See what others think of these products/services. If you add your own data, we will send you a summary of the findings.

Parallels Operations Automation SaaS Module Delivers Business-Class Email and Collaboration Solution through OX Platform
Hosting and SaaS Providers Benefit from the Application Packaging Standard (APS) and an Automated SaaS Platform

Active Gossip Threads

Most recent buzz .... AXS-One Financials Vicissitudes

Below are various active gossip threads on current events in the industry. To contribute information, follow the appropriate link or see our Gossip page for other vendor threads.

Blog Item(s)

Microsoft's vs. Lotus' Cloud-Based Collaboration

Both Microsoft and Lotus are developing cloud-based collaboration services. Microsoft's offerings are being described fairly clearly, while Lotus' mode of presentation is confusing, to the detriment of Lotus and customers alike.

Microsoft Services

In late 2008, Microsoft announced the availability of a number of cloud-based collaboration services. These were based on cloud-hosted and cloud-managed instances of a number of Microsoft's existing, on-premise, Windows Server-based services:

  • Microsoft Exchange Online (email, calendaring, contacts)
  • Microsoft SharePoint Online (shared spaces)
  • Microsoft Office Communication Online (real-time: presense, IM, audio, and video communication)
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online

These were augmented by a number of existing cloud-based Microsoft service offerings:

  • Microsoft Exchange Hosted Services (anti-malware and archiving services)
  • Microsoft Live Services (Web conferencing)

Using the taxonomy introduced in an earlier posting, Cloud Computing - A Taxonomy, the first four are Virtual Private Services (VPSs), while the latter two are Public Services (PSs).

The above have been augmented by a key piece of Windows Live infrastructure--namely, Identity Federation. Identity Federation allows an organization's users to log on to a Windows client using the organization's Active Directory (AD)-based credentials, and to then access either on-premise or cloud-based services transparently. It also allows for users whose identity is established in the cloud (via Live Identity Services) or using another organization's AD-based credentials to be granted access to an organization's on-premise or cloud-based services. For more on Identity Federation in the cloud and on-premise, see our earlier postings: Microsoft's Identity Roadmap: In the Cloud and Microsoft's Identity Roadmap: On-Premise.

In summary, Microsoft's "Online" and "Server" offering allows an organization to host and manage its Microsoft collaboration services on-premise at whatever it costs, or to outsource the hosting and management of these services to Microsoft at $15 per user per month. This is a very attractive price.

Lotus Services

In January 2009, Lotus announced the availability in mid-2009 of LotusLive. There is currently no pricing available from Lotus for LotusLive. LotusLive targets a very different market segment than Microsoft's "Online" offerings (see above). LotusLive is aimed at supporting organizational extranets. As such, an organization's LotusLive services will be distinct from its on-premise services and will not be federated with those on-premise services.

While LotusLive will employ some existing Lotus on-premise servers (Sametime and Connections) to deliver cloud-based services, Domino is noticeably missing. And while there will be a Hosted Notes offering in LotusLive, it will, as currently announced, support (iNotes) Web clients only. This is a major mistake. It may not be intended to signal IBM's lack of strategic commitment to Notes/Domino, but as with Lotus' introduction of the now-withdrawn Workplace, it cannot help but do so.

A similar message is being delivered by the bundling of Outblaze's Web-based email and calendar offerings into LotusLive. Microsoft offers Hotmail Web-based email PSs in addition to Exchange Online VPSs and Exchange on-premise servers, but it doesn't confuse them either operationally or in marketing messages.

IBM, in its LotusLive announcements, has just done so with its alternatives. Its on-premise offering is Notes/Domino. Many people will naturally draw the conclusion that IBM's cloud-based offering is Outblaze. Is this what IBM intends? If not, Ferris views including Outblaze in LotusLive as a significant faux pas. ... Nick Shelness


Cloud Services After the Economic Storm Passes

Cloud services--including Exchange Online and Hosted Notes email--would seem well positioned in light of the current economy. Customers are looking for areas to cut operating expenses; and what enterprise service is better suited for commoditization than email? Hosting providers that demonstrate high availability and reliability stand ready to reap the benefits of a down economy, replacing unpredictable insourcing costs with a predictable, fixed monthly cost.

While the ROI seems attractive, we believe customers need to look beyond the economic downturn and consider what their infrastructures will look like in five to 10 years. Without a systematic and well-planned approach, it is conceivable to envision customers with a dog's breakfast of solutions; for example, hosted email provided by Microsoft, client-side applications hosted by Google Apps, storage provided by Amazon, server-side applications hosted by IBM, and email archiving provided by LiveOffice. This poses at least two major problems.

First, operational efficiency necessitates that customers maintain a central view into end-to-end operations of all their IT systems. What does this "single pane of glass" look like in a Web 2.0 world? Most hosting providers we have spoken with are solely focused on the race to market dominance, and provide only a black box when it comes to remote manageability. Fear of financial penalties for any breached SLAs only further adds to hoster paranoia of letting the customers access data center performance and availability metrics. We believe customers need to drive hosters to both standardize on manageability metrics and expose those to customers who want to "keep them honest."

Second, compliance regimes necessitate that certain customers need to have a clear handle on their data, be that for retention, legal discovery, search, or other purposes. Customers, then, need clarity on both data location and data access. Hosters need to be worked into customer policies and procedures around compliance. Sole sourcing, or minimizing the number of hosters a customer deals with, will also help keep things manageable. SLAs need to be defined in a manner that addresses what will happen should compliance-related inquiries require the hoster to act in any way. Hidden costs will quickly come to the forefront when faced with legal discovery scenarios, for example.

We believe SaaS and cloud services have a lot to offer, especially in this economy. But we think customers should be proactive in their implementations, holding hosters to task to provide the services needed for customers to ensure compliance, and have a clear picture of what is going on in their ever-expanding IT realm. ... David Sengupta



Upcoming Reports & Events

Ferris 2009 Predictions: Immortality, Mobility, and Staying Put
Thursday, Jan. 29, 2009
8:30 a.m. Pacific, 11:30 a.m. Eastern, 4:30 p.m. U.K., 5:30 p.m. CET. One hour.

David Ferris, Richi Jennings, and other Ferris Research analysts gaze into their crystal balls and present their predictions for 2009, focusing on the worlds of messaging and collaboration, content control, archiving, compliance, e-discovery, and data leak prevention. Among other fascinating insights, you'll learn why babies born in 2009 will be immortal, spam will get better in 2009 yet also get worse, SaaS will break through in 2009 but not for all types of customers, Microsoft is well placed to capitalize on 2009’s challenges but is also being overly optimistic, Notes/Domino is not about to disappear, someone will lose out in the mobile phone platform war, and organizations will become less compliant with some regulations.

To register for this webcast, click here. For more information, click here.

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About Ferris Research

Ferris Research studies messaging, and the control of electronic information. More specifically, we help IT staff evaluate and implement products and services that:

  • Provide messaging and collaborative technologies
  • Archive electronic information
  • Ensure compliance with corporate policy, industry regulations, and laws
  • Facilitate e-discovery, and contain its costs
  • Reduce the dangers of information leaks

Email is the most important type of electronic information that requires control today. Other important types include instant messages, Sharepoint teamspaces, images, voice, video, and miscellaneous desktop files.

We've been in business since 1990--longer than any other analyst firm in our field:

  • Clients include 300 of the world's 1,000 largest organizations, and computer vendors from the largest corporations to small startups
  • While other analysts have come and gone, we've published more than 200 formal reports and 1,100 short bulletins
  • Our news service covers more than 2,000 highly specialized announcements annually
  • We have nine experts in our research team, sharing many decades of experience in our core competencies

In short, our technology and industry depth helps you understand today's products, where they've come from and where they're going.

Have news you want to share with us or product or interest area that you would like us to cover? Send press releases to releases@ferris.com.

Copyright © Ferris Research 2008.


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