Upgrade to Lotus Notes 6.5.2 or Outlook 2003?

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We are considering either upgrading to Lotus Notes 6.5.2 from version 4.6 or changing to Exchange Server 2003/Outlook 2003. I prefer Lotus Notes because of better security, instant messaging, and database/groupware functions. I have to explain to the executives which option is best. One reason for using Lotus Notes is the large conversion cost of changing the Lotus Notes E-mail boxes to Outlook. Which would you choose and why?

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This link will take you to the best explanation of why Notes/Domino is superior to Exchange:

http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&selm=Xns94D3B000FA27Eicantremember%40216.168.3.44&rnum=6

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  • Schalk
    A move to Outlook 2003 now means a painful "rip and replace" when Microsoft comes out with Longhorn. The security of the Microsoft product requires an extensive time and planning investment in patching. Also, if you choose to go to Active Directory you will need a lot of new hardware, and even more later to handle Longhorn. In fact, you will need new desktop OS and hardware to handle Outlook now, and likely an upgrade across the board for Longhorn. I suggest saving your money and upgrading to 6.5.2 The continued reliance of MS on a rip and replace for their own products, instead of a backward compatible, managed upgrade path like Lotus has used from the get go should be a warning in it self.
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  • Jdduff
    The answer also depends on your number of users. Lotus/Domino runs on more scaleable platforms than Exchange will, giving you more flexibility and better ROI. I might be swayed to use Exchange in a very small organization but as soon as you hit thousands, I'd want to rely on Domino's reliability.
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  • Tdoughboy
    We are a subsidiary of a larger company that is Outlook/Exchange. Two years ago I upgraded my user community of 2100 + from Notes 4.6.7 to R5.0.11 and then a year later to Outlook/Exchange 5.5. Both had it's challenges but the conversion to Outlook/Exchange 5.5 was more of a nighmare. It was a very, very manual process on the back end. It also broke every application we had in Notes (doclinks etc) and has essentially put us back to the day I took over as the Sr. Lotus Notes Admin for this company. (everything on paper) Not only that but Sr. management put out in a correspondence as part of the reason we going to Outlook was better anitvirus protection and spam control (laughable) which made Notes look bad. Almost from the start we were over run with virus's and out of control spam even though the Exchange team had been given a budget to put in place third party spam and antivirus measures. I basically upgraded my SMTP servers to 6.0.1 using blacklists/Rules and we running Symantec AV and we have done I'd say a rather good job at keep Spam to a minimum and virus free. Not to be totlly one sided but I would have to believe that Exchange 2003 offers better automation in the conversion process and better antispam/antivirus protection but you have to have ADS in place first. Things to be beware of are any existing ldap servers you may have running (with respect to ADS)and give thought as to how you are going to synch the address book from Notes to Exchange also logging that Notes does by default so you can easily see who is doing what and where mail goes is essentially non-existent in Exchange another huge thing has been how to handle Groups vs DL's in Exchange and resource rooms in Exchange 5.5. Keep in mind the cost will sky rocket. You have to not only by Outlook client licenses but you also have to but exchange CALS. To me microsoft is double dibbing. Suprised about that Huh? Again too much to go into but again I have to beleive that Microsoft has come up with better ways to do this in Exchange 2003 vs. 5.5. Yeah you can turn it on logging but you have to make sure the logs don't grow to big in exchange or they can crash the server. To answer your question. If you have a Notes infrastructure in place you are beeter off staying Notes. I can give much greater detail why but there is to much to put here initially.
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  • Auldbreck
    I am responsible for a small company's IT requirements. As far as I am concerned it has never been any contest as to which one to use. Notes is just so damn easy and we have a very low IT Overhead. For a lot of the last 5 years I have not even been located in our company's office so any admin I have done has been on an ad-hoc pop in at the end of the working day basis. The use of Lotus Notes has been crucial to ensuring the low amount of Virus and other attacks that anyone who has used exchange will be used to. I think I have had one attack and that was sorted within the hour and was at least a year ago. As for Spam we use the SpamSentinel software from Maysoft. If you haven't got it do yourself a favour and try it out it is very effective. No I don't work for Lotus or Maysoft! :-)
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  • AndrewYoung
    Tdoughboy seems to have given you the answer. If you combat that type of a migration battle and feel that it is worthwhile, (is it going to yield great gains for you in terms of ROI and functionality?), then by all means the Microsoft solution is there for you. Personally, I honestly cannot see how that can be justified to any level-headed executive. You are potentially losing, depending upon your existing applications of course, everything that Notes offers beyond email and personal organizers. Why would you want to do that, is it simply because some boss likes Microsoft? Be careful...you will be held accountable if you make the call or strongly recommend what leads to a bad decision.
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  • Bridgeman
    I had a similiar argument with my MD who is a strong Outlook/Exchange supporter from a previous company. I managed to hang on to notes through sheer determination. The MD is now happy as I have him using outlook by using the outlook connector from Microsoft. I am happy because we have notes on site and more development with the application side is securing the need to keep notes on this site. I read a quote somewhere a while a go which said "When will people realise that exchange is just a mail system". This might not be completely true but there is far more potential with Notes than there would ever be with exchange.
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  • Livings
    The company I work for migrated to Outlook 2003 from Notes 4.6 almost 2 years ago. If you have no choice but to move to outlook, you will need to plan out your Active Directory infrastructure very carefully. Investing in consulting services to assist with the planning would be strongly advised. Make sure that the servers planned have enough horsepower to accomodate the anti-virus and anti-spam tools that will also have to run besides email. If you have notes applications that will remain, you'll need to determine how to sync the address books. Do not rely on a manual method. How you route mail between notes and exchange can also be an issue. Migrating group distribution lists, calendaring and individual's emails drained the resources where I work. From my experience it has not been a pleasant experience and there are still many outstanding issues, but I don't believe the planning was well thought out or sized properly. Given a choice, I would have remained with Lotus for email.
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