Still staying within NDA here until Sametime 9 ships, so please bear in mind there are things I can’t talk about in detail until then. I’m not leaving gaps purposefully but did want to post what is public to help people prepare. So let’s get started on what you need to know if you’re an existing Sametime customer.

As I said yesterday the Community Server, which is still based on Domino, runs on Domino 9 and isn’t supported on earlier versions. This may be the time, if you haven’t already, to move your Sametime servers into their own Domino Domain so their server version and updates can be managed outside of the rest of your infrastructure. For those of you who were happily (!) using the old legacy (yes I hate that word too) classic meetings on the Domino server, that’s been removed in Sametime 9. If you want meetings you want the Collaborate license and the WebSphere Meeting server. In the past few years I’ve made sure to tell customers the the classic meetings were purely there for backwards compatibility and transitioning to the new servers but I’m often amazed how many people complain about Sametime Meetings because they don’t realize they are still using the old, applet based, creaky, non-updated codecs – Domino version. I’m glad it’s gone GLAD I TELLS YA! Hopefully that will cut down on confusion.

For those of you not ready to commit to the WAS Meeting server experience, IBM have deployed it into SmartCloud so you can try it out there first if you want

Sametime will not support SAML but will continue to support SPNEGO. SAML would have been nice to streamline the single sign-on technologies we are using with other products but hopefully that’s coming later, support for SAML is still very new within ICS.

The really good news, If you are already experienced in installing Sametime 8.5x then nearly all the components remain the same. You still have a Sametime System Console, a Sametime Proxy Server, a Sametime Meeting Server, a Sametime Advanced Server, etc. All have relatively the same roles as in 8.5x. The big changes are with the Media components where the Packet Switcher has been replaced by two Video components (more when the infrastructure details are completely public but I’ve had this referenced on public calls so we’re good). One important note is that the video components will only be supported on a Linux platform and there is no Windows solution coming. I do understand that the processing and complexity involved in multiperson video requires a lot of development and support so it makes sense thatIBM have opted to focus that on one OS for that one component. Time to brush up your Linux skills people! Again Linux has been my OS of choice for servers for some time now but for some companies wanting video it will require some internal retraining.

The key takeaway is that what you have already learnt and already manage will set you in good stead for Sametime 9.

As far as A/V is concerned, the announcements have been a bit murky so to make it clear – Audio and Video in Sametime Communicate (the IM license) is for 1-to-1 traffic only. Multiperson / Multipoint Video is only available with the Sametime Conference and Complete licenses and the server components that come with those. The server components you install for Communicate will not allow multiperson video (so no installing and accidentally trying it out….).

Lastly I have had 3 people email me today asking about migration strategies and that’s not something I can talk about yet, not least because I haven’t tried myself with gold and I don’t believe in offering advice until I have failed a few times myself :-). Having said that I’m not planning in place upgrades unless I can help it with the exception of the Community server it’s simply easier for me to build in parallel, migrate the Meetings and Advanced data and change the DNS usually. The exception to that would probably be gateway which I never fancy rebuilding from scratch.

So that’s part 2. In Part 3 we’re going to discuss some of the more exciting new features to get you all ready for the big day that’s coming soon.