Definitely different – a few days looking into the future with HCL (and IBM)

If this blog is tl:dr then here’s your takeaway

I can’t thank everyone at HCL enough for throwing open the doors and leaving them open. Together we will continue to innovate great things for customers

Last week Tim and I were invited to the 1st CWP Factory tour held by HCL at their offices in Chelmsford.  “CWP” stands for “Collaboration Workflow Platform” and includes not only the products HCL took over from IBM late last year such as Domino, Traveler, Verse on Premises and Sametime but also new products that HCL are developing as extensions of those.  These (that I can talk a little bit about) such as HCL Nomad (Notes for iPad) and HCL Places (a new client runnvetaing against Domino 10 and providing integrated collaborative services such as chat, AV , web and Notes applications) will be leapfrogging Domino far over its competitors.

I want to start by thanking HCL for inviting us inside to see their process. We met and made our voices heard with more than 30 developers and executives, all of who wanted to know “do you like this?”  “what are we missing?”.  I came away from the two days with a to-do list of my own at the request of various people to send in more details of problems or requirements I had mentioned when there.  John Paganetti, who is also a customer advocate at HCL, hosted the “ask the developers” impromptu session (we had so many questions so they threw one into the agenda on day 2).  We were told to get to know and reach out directly to the teams with our feedback and questions.  If you don’t have a route to provide feedback and want one then please reach out.

Back in February I attended a Domino Jam hosted by Andrew Manby (@andrewmanby) from IBM in London.  These were held all over the world and attendees were pushed to brainstorm around features that were missing or needed.  That feedback was used to create priorities for v10 and many of the features requested at my session and others have appeared in the current beta and are committed to a v10 release.  At the end of the 2nd day of the factory tour we again had a Domino Jam hosted by Andrew Manby but this time for Domino 11 features – wheeeeeeee!   With the Jams and the Destination Domino blog as well as the #domino2025 hashtag activity, IBM are really stepping up to the products in a way they haven’t in several years.  I want to recognise the hard work being done by Andrew, by Uffe Sorensen, and by Mat Newman amongst others, to make this IBM/HCL relationship work.

So what was the factory tour? It was a 2 day conference held at HCL’s (still being built) offices. I am pleased to say it was put together very informally, we were split into groups of about 10 (hi Daniel, Francie, Julian, Richard, Paul, Nathan, Devin, Fabrice!) and one by one the development teams came and took our feedback on the work they are doing.  We worked with the Verse (on premises) team, the TCO team (looking at the Domino and Sametime servers), the Notes client team, the Nomad team and the Application Development team.  It was an intense day in a good way with so much information being shared with us and questions being asked of us.  It was also good to be told that the majority of what we saw and discussed could be shared publicly.

A few highlights (out of many) from the two days that were new to me:

  • The new database repair and folder sync features in Domino 10 (shame on me for not remembering what they are called). The database repair feature will detect when a database is corrupted and replace it whilst the server is running with a new instance from a working cluster mate (another good reason to cluster).  The folder sync feature will keep any  Domino database files or NLOs in any listed folders in sync.  This stuff is so cool and exactly what Domino clustering needed so we asked for them to extend the sync feature to include any files in the HTML directory such as HTML CSS and CGI scripts and they are considering that (v10 is a tight delivery timeline right now so no guarantees of anything).
  • Some very candid discussions (I think repeated multiple times by everyone there) about getting rid of WebSphere for Sametime in the future and how to better provide Sametime services purely under Domino.
  • HCL Places looking much evolved even in the few weeks since it was first shown at Engage – this is going to be a game changer client when it comes out.
  • The Domino General Query Facility (DGQF) available in Domino 10 is the biggest investment in Notes/Domino code in 10 years. A query language accessible outside Domino that doesn’t require any  knowledge of Domino design by a developer.  Using DGQF you can rapidly query collections of documents represented by any criteria not necessarily views or forms.  Using DGQF a regular web developer would be able to build a Node application, for instance, using back-end Domino data without ever having to learn the structure of the Domino database or touch Domino Designer.  Here’s a sneaky picture I took of the positioning for DGQF.John Curtis who is the lead designer behind DGQF has been very responsive on twitter to questions about how it will work (@john_d_curtis)IMG_0313
  • A lot of stuff Nomad and Node related which is still NDA but you’ll hear more about them at Collabsphere in Ann Arbor – HCL will be out in force as will IBM speaking, showing and listening so if you can you need to get yourself there.   Turn out and turn up – there’s still time to get your voice heard.

 

Engage Week & Lots of News

This week was the Engage conference held in Rotterdam – the largest and (IMO) best event Theo Heselmans has given us yet.  Rotterdam is a lovely city and the water taxi that took us from the restaurant back to the boat last night turned a 5 minute ride into a James Bond chase sequence – at several points he took corners by tilting the boat almost entirely on its side (there goes Tim!) and then onto the other side (bye Mike!) before pulling a handrake turn and reversing up to the dock – worth every cent of four and a half Euro.   I don’t usually find time to attend sessions beyond the keynotes because I get caught up presenting and doing other things (I find it hard to think what right now but let’s group it under “meeting people”) but this week I was rushing from presentation to round table to meetup so here’s a summary of my highlights, kept as short as I can so you aren’t tempted to tl:dr

HCL brought the energy, the enthusiasm and a huge team of people showing how far they have taken Domino, Notes, Traveler, Sametime , Verse on Premises etc.  IBM had energy too but their focus was Connections/Workspace and although it continues to develop, we in the ICS community have been starved for progress on the other products.  HCL together with IBM hosted several roundtables on Domino, Application Development, Notes Client, Verse on Premises etc where we got to ask for or complain about what we wanted or felt was missing and answer questions about design priorities.  I won’t go through all of that other than to apologise to everyone else in the Domino/Sametime roundtable who didn’t get a word in once I started.

From that Domino round table we heard about a couple of much needed and unexpected features coming in v10 (both of which I think are so new they haven’t yet been named) around the area of TCO. One is what I’d call a sync feature for Domino where you can tell a server to keep specific folders in sync with other servers in its cluster. Those folders could contain NSFs but also NLOs (DAOS files), HTML files or really anything else.  The server will create the missing files and it doesn’t use replication to do that.  Even better, if the server detects a NSF file corruption it is capable of removing its own instance of the file and pulling a new one from a cluster mate – all without any admin intervention.  Another great tool will be the idea of shared encryption keys for NLO files so that Server B will be able to copy even encrypted NLO files from Server A by decrypting and then re-encrypting them.  Management and maintenance of NLOs and the DAOS catalog was high on my list of enhancement requests.

From the Application round table we heard about how the integration with Node and Domino will work,  there will be a npm install – DominoDB that will allow Node developers to access Domino data via the Node front end. Queries to Domino from the Node server will be using high performance gRPC (remote procedure calls)  – in the same way Notes and Domino use NRPC for proprietary access. The gRPC access used by Node for Domino will eventually be open source.  The front end of the Node server will be surfaced using the Loopback API gateway.

Essentially what this means is that any developer who can program using Node will be able to use their existing skills against Domino NSFs.  That Domino systems will, in one step, become accessible to a much wider group of developers and systems is the main application development goal.

Domino statistics and reporting can be uploaded into and analysed from within the New Relic platform.  If you find this as interesting as I do then you too are clearly an administrator,

HCL Places.  So that was a surprise.  HCL demoed a working (but very basic) prototype of a new product they had been developing in secret (well no-one in the room knew of it).  A lightweight desktop collaboration client that runs against a Domino NSF. It can include mail,, sametime , video, mentions and Notes applications.  All on premises.  Here is a terrible image of the prototype which – yes I know is cluttered – but focus on the features not the look and you can see that HCL are trying to take Domino somewhere we’ve all known it could go but never had the chance.   The image was shared out by Jason Roy Gary who built and demonstrated the prototype and whose role at HCL is (I think)  Vice President Engineering and Innovation, Collaborative Workflow Platforms.

Dd4EspOUwAAwlFb.jpg-large

In a week full of good news the two best were that a beta program for v10 will start with phase 1 in June and phase 2 in July.  June will be a closed beta and July open.  If you want to register for the beta program when it is announced then sign up for the newsletter on the Destination Domino site here

Plus there was this .

IMG_0018

I don’t want to minimise the contribution by IBM themselves at Engage, each of the roundtables included IBM’ers alongside HCL’ers and there was certainly plenty of activity around Connections and Workplace but right now, in this blog, I’m revelling in the fact that Domino is finally getting the attention it deserves.   Plus look at these great pens – they have little yellow highlighters in the top and when I asked IBM if I could buy some for customers they were happy to give me a “few”.

IMG_0126

So – long story (it could have been sooo much longer) short.  A great week , I learnt a lot, my session on Docker was standing room only in boiling heat, I had the chance to talk to people I rarely get to talk to and Engage was in another great location.  I don’t know how Theo will match this next year but I look forward to finding out.  Plus I got chocolate as a speaker gift.

Now don’t go messing with my high.

Don’t Miss This Amazing Opportunity

In three weeks’ time I’m off to Rotterdam with over 400 other people to attend the Engage conference so in preparation I went through the mobile application (thank you Paul Harrison) and created my agenda.  Holy Heck .. I’m not sure how I’m going  to fit even the highlights in as well as my own sessions, seeing what the sponsors are doing and talking to friends (that bit may have to hold for the evening).

So at the bottom of this post are my DNM (do not miss) items.  Every one of them worth travelling to Rotterdam for.  The eagle eyed amongst you will notice I have already badly double booked myself but that I have also been smart enough to add my own sessions to my agenda so I don’t miss them.

I have three sessions, a technical one on Docker for Domino, a strategic one on creating your own personal brand and how to change that brand and one on managing the noise by filtering, limiting and controlling how and when people can reach you.

IMG_2251

  • If you want to stay ahead of ICS product strategy and the fast moving developments happening this year.
  • If you want to start planning your v10 deployments and upgrades.
  • If you want to connect with IBM and HCL and feed back about a feature or functionality that’s important to you.
  • If you want to see presentations from leading independent IBM< Champions on administration, development, strategy and new technologies

Get registered and get yourself to Rotterdam

IMG_2247IMG_2248IMG_2249IMG_2250

An Introduction Into Configuring Domino for Docker

9.0.1 FP10 brings support for Domino on a docker platform.  You may know that docker is a container solution but what does that mean and how could it affect your Domino infrstructure?  In this session we’ll review how to install and run Domino in a docker container, whether it can support external clustering and the decisions to consider when designing container architecture.

The following presentation was meant to be given at the Swiss User Group on April 18th.  Unfortunately I was throwing up with a stomach bug from April 15th – 19th so had to cancel the day before.  I have never had to cancel an event I committed to before so thank you to Andrew Magerman and the team for understanding.  I sent Klaus Bild my presentation which I believe he gave a version of in my stead so thank you to him as well.

DMARC, GDPR & Social Connections

Last week I was at Social Connections in Philadelphia.  The Social Connections team once again put on a great conference around IBM social software and extended this time to include security content.  I presented two sessions – one around security and specifically SMTP DMARC deployment which I am increasingly being asked to deploy..  My second session was about how to approach GDPR as the regulations come into force in less than 1 month. I tried in this session to speak to a US audience who may not be aware in what ways GDPR will impact their business.

Both sessions are shareed below and I hope you find them of interest /use

An Introduction To The DMARC SMTP Validation Requirements
DMARC is a SMTP security standard being increasingly requested by customers to protect against email spoofing. It uses a combination of SPF (Sender Policy Framework) records and DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail). Using DMARC you would publicly specify how your outbound mail is sent and the receiving server would verify that the mail it receives matches your requirements. In this session we’ll discuss DMARC deployments and what to do if your mail server (like IBM Domino or SmartCloud) does not yet support DKIM?

How To Approach GDPR Preparation & Discovery
In this session, presented as a workshop outline, we will walk you through your GDPR responsibilities and how to assess your risk. We’ll give some recommendations on high priority but easy to fix issues and how to discover, secure and take ownership of existing data. At the end of the session we will share the workshop outline to help with your own planning.

Up Next: Zurich (SNOUG) & Philadelphia (Social Connections)

Over the next few weeks I’m pleased to say I’ll be presenting at two very different events and both with new content.

At the IBM Center in Zurich on April 18th I will be presenting on configuring Domino for Docker as part of SNOUG (the Swiss Notes User Group).  This is a new presentation that both introduces the concept of Docker and details the architectural decisions for deploying Domino along with some design suggestions.

Later in the month on the 26th and 27th of April I’ll be once more presenting with the Social Connections team in Philadelphia.  I’ll be doing three very different sessions, one technical, one business and one social.

Technical: An Introduction To The DMARC SMTP Validation Requirements

Business: How To Approach GDPR Preparation & Discovery

Social: Reaching Across The Aisle To Become A Different Kind Of Champion
jointly presented with Wannes Rams

My trip to Zurich is only a few hours but I have much more time in Philadelphia and hope to get some museum visits in – the Museum of Art, the Barnes and the Rodin are all on my wish list.

Now back to finishing these presentations…