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IBM upgrade emphasizes cost cutting

Big Blue is set to unveil Lotus Notes and Domino 6, a version of the company's messaging software designed to help customers cut the price of owning and running the software.

IBM will unveil Lotus Notes and Domino 6 on Tuesday, a version of the company's messaging software that puts greater emphasis on trimming costs than on adding new bells and whistles.

IBM said its flagship Lotus Notes/Domino 6 is designed to help customers cut the price of owning and running the software with features geared toward increasing business productivity. The company claims that many of its customers have been asking for help in lowering the cost of ownership because of their constricted IT budgets.

Many of the new features in Lotus Notes/Domino 6 "are focused on the theme of improved cost of ownership as well as enhancement to end-user productivity," said Ken Bisconti, vice president of Messaging for Lotus Software, a division of IBM Software.

"Typically, software acquisition costs less than 20 percent of (the total cost of) operating messaging and collaboration infrastructures," with the bulk of the expense coming from administrating upgrades, and maintaining servers and desktops, said Bisconti.

The upgrade, the first major release of the software since 1999 includes improved server management and monitoring tools, increased security and support for security standards. The enhancements also include higher performance through compression technology and the ability to more tightly integrate with other IBM software technologies such as the WebSphere application server and Tivoli management tools.

The software also comes with stronger server-side anti-spam technology and a feature that lets administrators upgrade desktops automatically.

Notes/Domino competes with Microsoft's Exchange Server software and with other packages in the messaging and collaboration software market.

Analysts said that Outlook Exchange is a more expensive environment to run compared with Notes/Domino because more servers are needed in the network to make up for the connection between the Outlook client and the Exchange server, which is iffy over long distances or poor-quality lines.

"Lotus (Notes/Domino) gives you much better performance from client to servers and much better ways to run over low-quliaty lines so you can run a larger, centralized implementations," which help reduce costs, said Joyce Graff, an analyst at Gartner.