Domino 12, Sametime 11.6, Nomad Web – Get Your Goodies Early

Today HCL made available for download major releases of their core products plus some new products that have been in beta. There’s a lot to be excited about and before I go any further I suggest you first register for the big launch event on June 7th at

Then login to Flexnet and download Domino 12, Sametime 11.6, Traveler 12 and take a look at Nomad Web 1.0 with SafeLinx 1.2.

As an administrator there are many reasons to upgrade to Domino v12 and I’ll be blogging on those individually. I started to type my favourites things in Domino, Sametime etc but that was getting really wordy so I’m going to do separate entries. Some highlights for me which I’ll go into more detail on in the coming days:

1. ID Vault enhancements enabling us to upload IDs manually and a new “queryvault” command
2. Groups populated by LDAP search
3. AD integration including password sync with both Notes IDs and HTTP passwords
4. ID lockout for internet services based by ip address
5. Using PEM keys instead of KYR for SSL
6. New certificate process to automate requesting and processing TLS certificates
7. .New built in backup and restore functionality

There are lots of new features including an entirely redesigned and more efficient search interface in the Notes client and an entirely new client in Nomad Web – a web application that can be deployed on any desktop as simply as a browser. It behaves so that side by side an application in the Notes client and the same in Nomad web are almost indistinguishable making it a great option for deploying a lightweight, low touch, low maintenance “Notes client”.

Glad to be back blogging and I have a lot more to say about the flood of new products HCL have brought us over a week early and in most languages on release day as promised. See you here for more updates and online on the 7th to hear directly from HCL.

An Amazing Engage

Last week I was at the Engage user group event in the Netherlands.  Theo Heselmans and team put together people, sessions and entertainment for over 400 attendees and this year (by my count of hands) nearly 30% were attending for the first time.  There are only a few IRL (in real life) conferences I can manage to get to each year and I’m always pleased by what I get out of them, but this year’s Engage was for me the best event for several years primarily because of contributions from HCL and all their news about what they have been working on. Oh, and the location!  Theo always manages to choose a special location and the Burgers’ Zoo conference center in Arnhem that had us walking through a rainforest with the sound of birds each day was certainly that.

This guy walked me in on the first day, giving me side-eye pretty much the whole way.


The only thing that confused me was the milk that was put out for the tea and coffee.  I’ve never seen milk of that color before and since we were in a zoo there was a debate about the animal that produced it.  Maybe Giraffe…?


On the closing night Theo organized a trip to a pub/brewery in Arnhem called Taphuis for us speakers.  They had over 100 beers and a contactless card you tapped as you poured out your choice.  I’m not a big beer drinker but I “tapped” a lot of 5cl tastes and then came up with the not very smart idea of everyone choosing a beer that matched their age.  Let’s just say it worked out for some better than for others.  

An idea that I think really worked was having an open speaker’s area where people could gather and catch up with each other, with other attendees and with HCL.  I had several informal meetings there and having no doors encouraged everyone to come and take a seat.  The unlimited Belgian chocolate and waffles didn’t hurt either.

So, at this point, with major updates to Domino, Connections, Sametime and new products like Nomad for mobile, the question for me was: Where are HCL taking things next?  The theme for the conference was “Evolve” and although I didn’t get to attend as many sessions as I would have liked, there were lots of “a-ha” moments for me where the work I’d been hearing about for a year suddenly clicked into place as solutions for customers.  

I could write a lot more on what I came away excited about, but these are my highlights.

Let’s start with Sametime.  The biggest issue since v9 of Sametime (we’re now on v10) was the IBM-driven design that was dependent on the WebSphere and DB2 architectures.  I do a lot of Sametime installs and a clustered environment would be in the region of 30 individual server elements.  When HCL bought Sametime and asked for feedback on what we all wanted the biggest request was to simplify the install and get rid of WebSphere.  Since then, HCL have released v10 and v11 of Sametime, which were primarily the Community (chat) servers and new web and mobile clients, so this time at Engage we got to see and hear about the v11 Sametime Meetings due in the next few months.

Sametime v11 already has user-side integration with any conferencing provider, but Sametime Meetings will now be delivered as a single Docker container (instead of nearly 20 servers) with everything needed to deliver its own meetings, audio, video and screen sharing in one single install.  The entire architecture for Meetings has been replaced with open source servers, removal of java, and a fast, lightweight browser client.  The focus for v11 has been ease of use for clients and simplification for administrators and it looks like they are delivering.  

If you’re interested in the new Sametime v11 mobile clients, you can register for the beta here.

As development continues on Domino, including making it the backbone for many of the other products, it was tremendous news to hear that they are now extending the investment in its function as a mail server.  The news that Domino continues to be updated and enhanced, such as adding 2-factor authentication for both web and Notes clients in v12, is what many of us had been hoping to hear from HCL.  For on-premise customers, Domino continues to be the only strategic mail solution and the only one currently being extended.  

HCL Nomad Web
Hopefully you already know about and are using Nomad for mobile, available for iOS, iPadOS and (as of last week) Android.  The Nomad brand delivers the Notes client experience through a mobile OS allowing you to access your existing Notes applications on your Domino servers without installing any server-side software or making any programming changes.  The next Nomad product is Nomad Web which is truly a new option as a Notes client.  It’s not a replacement client but it will be a go-to for many people who want to access Notes applications without managing a client infrastructure.  

Nomad Web is based on browser technology so it will work on any operating system (Windows, Linux , Mac) that can run any standard browser, giving you a “Notes client” with a small install footprint (they are aiming at less than 100mb) and running anywhere.  This is all very exciting; it looks like a Notes client, it doesn’t require a client install, it can run on multiple platforms, and since there is no server-side installation it will work against older versions of Domino as well as current.  

That’s innovation, offering an easy-to-maintain-and-deploy client as an option to both existing and new customers.  HCL Nomad Web will be going into public beta in the next couple of months.

Domino Volt
Volt is a Domino-based, visual, low-code development environment that is delivered through a browser.  What does that actually mean? I attended a workshop at Engage to learn how to develop an application using Volt because I’m absolutely not a developer and so consider myself a good test case.  After logging in to the Domino server I can click to create a form, drag and drop to position all kinds of fields, images and text, and even click for simple workflow.  It provides a way for anyone to create simple applications that can be extended for more complex work by a developer who can still use all the Domino programming tools, integration, and reporting technologies.

The introduction of an entirely new development tool aimed at non-developers and delivered through any standard browser is really interesting and I recommend attending the upcoming webinar as well as signing up for the Volt beta that is now publicly available.  Working with the beta allows you to feed back to HCL on what features you think might be missing and to contribute into getting the product right.

Register for the Domino Volt beta here.
Register for the Domino Volt webinar here.

If you go to the Engage site, you can already download many of the presentations. It’s not the same as being there in person, but there’s a ton of valuable content even for those of us who didn’t get to as many sessions as we wanted.

Looking forward to Engage 2021 already!

It’s Not Dead – It’s Evolving

The most revelatory thing I saw at Engage was a presentation from Doug Conmy and Thomas Hampel on HCL Nomad Web. I’d been aware of its development but it was only from watching the presentation that I realised what it means for customers. What it means in the future is that you will be able to deploy an application through any browser and then run it as a standalone desktop application. It should give you access to your Notes applications as if it were a Notes client but without being a Notes client. It’s not intended to replace Notes but for many customers who want to access their mail or some Domino applications, they simply don’t need the full feature set of a Notes client.

Here’s the thing though,

  • It looks just like a Notes client
  • The target download size will be under 100Mb
  • It still uses a Notes ID downloaded from the vault like any other client
  • It can run against any older Domino server since it uses port 1352 and there’s no additional server configuration (although you will need to have up-to-date licensing)
  • Since it supports most common browsers it can be deployed on Windows, OSX, Linux or any platform those browsers can run on
  • Multiple Nomad applications opened as separate desktop entities will be aware of each other as if they were in the same client window
  • It uses 1352 encrypted traffic but has a Nomad web proxy you deploy that will tunnel over 443 from the client so you won’t need to have a Domino passthru server or open any 1352 ports from the outside

Mind. Blown.

For companies struggling to deploy or maintain the full Notes client this is a huge deal. Having a centrally managed, low impact, multi-platform client that can access any Domino database on a Domino server without either the application or the server needing to be upgraded is something no other software company is doing. I hate to overuse the word but this is true innovation and it goes into public beta in the next few months with a beta timeline of at least 4 months.

HCL are taking getting this right very seriously because if they can get it right it really is a game changer.

All About That Volt (v11 launch)

We are still a few hours out from the v11 launch event for Domino and Sametime live from Tokyo ( but there is already much talk about “Volt” a low code (maybe no code) development tool.

I found this great short demo video which shows what it is better than I can explain having not touched it myself. Very smart stuff that enables rapid simple application development that can work on mobile, be extended with more complex programming if required, and easily integrated with other systems such as sharepoint or salesforce.

Looking forward to hearing all the news in only 6 hours.

HCLs New Licensing Model

Today at Let’s Connect (previously Socal Connections) in Munich, Uffe Sorensen from HCL presented the outline of the new licensing model HCL plan to adopt from v11 of Domino onwards. HCL are looking for feedback on this as they plan to bring all other products into line as things progress.

I apologise in advance for any misunderstandings on my part from Uffe’s presentation but I wanted to highlight the key points as I see them.

HCL, as some of you know, are using Flexnet now for software downloads. If you have a license agreement you now download all software and patches from the Flexnet server. In the future (as of v11), you will provision software from the Flexnet server and it will maintain a count of your company’s active sessions.

The cloud-based Flexnet server will be able to track and make visible to you the number of user licenses you are currently consuming. It is not HCL’s intention to disable your services should your license usage exceed what you bought, but they will count “overages” and, after a month’s grace, the plan is to auto-bill those. That would give you a month to bring your licensing back down to the purchased level or be invoiced.

Let’s come back to that in a bit…

IBM’s licensing model for Domino and Notes was fairly complex. Although there were CEO licenses which were per-user, they had limitations. There were Express licenses which were limited to having only 1000 users in the directory and restricted the number of clustered servers you could have, there was a Utility Server license which allowed unlimited web application access but required you to track your processor usage or be charged for “full capacity”. I could go on but I won’t, let’s leave that in the past.

HCL have committed to two things:

  1. A simpler pricing model
  2. No “sticker shock” for existing customers who will be able to transfer their licensing to this new model.

Model 1: Per User
In this model you buy a license for every user or account that will access your servers. Regardless of purpose or client. That’s what Flexnet will track. The user license will allow access to any servers or applications you need. There is no limitation on server use or processor use.

The Per User model can be licensed as a monthly cost or as a persistent license with a S&S renewal. The monthly price was something previously only applied to cloud licenses so that’s now an option for customers who prefer to license that way and maybe have a more dynamic user count.

Model 2: Platform
In this model, still very much evolving, instead of licensing a user, you license a server based on its usage and that allows unlimited users access to it. For example the usage may be measured by number of NSFs on each server and the license could be based on a tier level for buying these licenses (such as x hundred NSFs, 1000 NSFs etc) but those haven’t been published (or even decided) yet. In the platform model you pay for server usage not user activity but the measure won’t be around hardware as it was with IBM who measured processor usage, it will likely be by NSF instance, so if you do have 3 servers each with 5 NSFs then that is 15 NSFs out of your license pool.

The platform license will be able to be billed monthly per NSF tier or as a persistent license with annual S&S.

So in summary HCL have attempted to streamline the previous license model to just two options , remove the need for any audits and ensure that you are aware of your license consumption whilst removing the need for you to track things like individual server or processor usage. It’s not a bad approach by any means, and I’ll certainly be glad to see the back of the express licensing and the limited licensing models we had previously that just led to confusion.

Like you I had about 1000 questions, including how the Flexnet licensing monitoring will work for customers that cannot support a cloud connection to the HCL licensing system. For those customers there will be an on-premise Flexnet offering that allows licenses to be tracked internally and subsequently reported to HCL.

The plan is to deploy the cloud-based Flexnet license engine in v11 of Domino and Notes Q4 2019 for per user licensing. As an initial launch this will be cloud tracking only and there will be no overage support / charges. The more fully realised Flexnet licensing including the platform license model and overages will be in 11.0.1 due in Q1 2020.

If you are an existing customer you can today continue to renew your existing licenses on new HCL part numbers but under the same terms you already have.

HCL have emphasised many times that this is an evolving license strategy and they are keen to hear feedback and especially use cases that they may not have allowed for. The details of the licensing including the pricing are still being formulated but this is a sincere attempt to remove previous barriers and confusion around the wide variety of license options, plus the commitment to maintaining license parity (“no sticker shock”) is a good one.

Here we goooooooooooooooo

I’m delighted to finally see the completion of the HCL deal to acquire all of the previous IBM Collaboration products including Notes, Domino, Sametime and Connections. This means that as of today IBM no longer has any ownership of these products and any current and future licenses and support have been transitioned to HCL.

As you can imagine this has been a huge undertaking (well I can barely imagine much of it) and so I expect a few bumps before everything settles in but HCL have already been working hard to get everything (and most everybody) moved over and let’s all give then a chance. They believe in the products and are committed to them in a way we haven’t seen in many years and it’s great news that some of the most well known names in the industry are moving over to HCL to join their Domino and Sametime colleagues including Maureen Leland, Mat Newman, Wes Morgan, Adam Gartenberg and Dave Kern. There are plenty of other people I could mention but since they haven’t personally gone public I don’t want to do so.

I’ve been working with the HCL teams for over a year and I can’t say enough good things about their approach, it is something very refreshing to those of us who have been jaded by the past few years.

I (Truly) Know Nothing But….

I have no idea the status of the HCL/IBM deal nor what will happen once the deal is signed and IBM no longer have any ownership of the (former) ICS products BUT….

I will be spending the rest of this week downloading any ICS software and fixes I might potentially need over the coming weeks from the IBM Software Access Catalog and Fix Central sites.

I am sure both HCL and IBM have plans for transitioning the downloads and all the data but this is a huge deal and personally I’d like to be self sufficient on day 1 (whenever that is).

Sametime v10 – Technology Changes Galore

Sametime v10 Limited Use shipped last week and later on this week I’ll be posting a step by step guide to my install but for now I wanted to talk about the technology changes that it brings. This release focuses only on the Community server elements, the other components such as Meetings will be part of the v11 version which is due to be released along with Domino v11 towards the end of 2019.

My thanks to Mat Newman who posted this updated roadmap on his blog where he also shares more detail about the licensing

20190601 Sametime Roadmap - Current

“Entitlement” is part of your Notes licensing and enables you to use the chat features of Sametime inside the Notes client, the browser mail cilent , a web client and the standalone mobile client.

The largest changes for the clients in v10 are the support for persistent chat (and chat history) across multiple devices, an improved conversation UI, a new lightweight web client, and the removal of the System Console as a requirement for the Community server install.  Those are all great changes that justify an upgrade to your existing Community servers by themselves.

Starting with the biggest technology change, the System Console (which itself required WebSphere and DB2) is now optional and it is possible to install and manage a Community server entirely on Domino. However if you want to use either the browser client or mobile client you will need to still install the Sametime Proxy server which does still require WebSphere and DB2.

To maintain the persistent chat across devices, a server-side storage solution is required and in this release it is MongoDB.  HCL have committed to replacing that in v11 and having a data migration solution out of Mongo so it’s a temporary solution.

You may have heard that Sametime 10 will be 64 bit only on Domino but in fact this first version still requires Domino 32bit and at least 9.0.1 FP10 version.  Domino 10 is 64bit only so right now Sametime 10 cannot be installed on Domino 10.  That does however make it suitable for an in-place upgrade to your existing servers which will already be on 32bit Domino.  This is still very early in the release and the technical requirements are not yet published but will eventually be here .

Last week HCL hosted a webcast where they introduced Sametime v10 and answered questions, I’d recommend looking at the Q&A and watching the webcast here

I have been documenting my own install this weekend – I opted for an in-place upgrade as I assume that’s what the majority of people will be doing on this release, and will be publishing that in the next couple of days.

Domino Server Health – Monitoring and Managing @ Engage

This is my session on Domino Server Health given at Engage in Brussels last week.

If you’re a Domino administrator how do you decide what to monitor on your servers and how to manage them ? What are the key things to monitor? How do good practice management tools such as statistics reporting, DDM, cluster symmetry, database repair and policy settings make your work lighter and faster. Finally we’ll talk about some of the “must dos” in the day, week and month of a Domino admin.

Face/Off Domino vs Exchange On Premises @ Engage

Here is my presentation discussing how Exchange and Outlook on premises differs from Domino and Notes given at Engage in Brussels last week.

I hope you find it useful, this was my first presentation pulling together my ideas from the past few years of working with Exchange on premises integration projects.

How do Exchange on premises and the various Outlook clients line up against Domino on premises and its clients? In this session we’ll look at the configuration options and management interfaces for each server as well as the client options and client behaviours. We’ll also discuss the general ecosystems, considerations for migrating or co-existing and lessons learned. A great session for Domino admins who want to know more about the other side.