LotusLive Notes is Live… and it's Notes!

Ed Brill announced this morning that LotusLive Notes will be available on August 24th. In addition, Lotus Notes 8.5.2 will eGA the same day. So some really good stuff coming to the table for Lotus in the typically quiet late summer months.

For those that don’t know, LotusLive Notes is a cloud based version of your Lotus Notes email. It includes calendaring, contacts, instant messaging, a 25GB mailbox quota, antispam & antivirus, and is hosted in IBM’s data centers. You can hit it via a web browser, OR you can use the full featured Lotus Notes client. And the kicker? It’s only $5 per user, per month. If you include LotusLive Engage (which has activities, file sharing, online meetings, forms and surveys, shared contacts etc.) then the price jumps to $10 per user, per month.

So that brings it in line with other cloud offerings that you can find today, but gives you the power of the Lotus Notes client. A client that can work offline, in Windows, Mac, SUSE or Red Hat Linux. To me, that’s pretty huge.

Now there are caveats. The LotusLive licensing only doesn’t allow you to hit apps on local app servers, you still need an Enterprise CAL for that. Also, Traveler support is not yet there, and when it does arrive it will cost some additional money per user. At the same time, there still is no BES solution either. RIM and IBM are hard at work on making that happen however.

What IBM sees happening (and as an IT Director of an SMB, I do too) is that if companies do go to the cloud, they will end up using a “hybrid” model of computing. Basically certain tasks or people will be relegated to the cloud while others remain on premises. What IBM is trying to do is tie it all together and make it work seamlessly. I haven’t really seen the hard core details of how they are doing it, but I can’t wait to see how it plays out.

There are going to be two additional offerings that bundle “Enterprise” support which means the ability to run apps will be included (off your local servers.) So it will be like an Enterprise CAL, and it’s only going to cost an additional dollar per user per month. So if you go LotusLive Notes, it becomes $6 per user, per month, and if you add Engage, then $11 per user, per month. Lotus will even work with you during your renewals to renew via this method instead of an Enterprise CAL. All the details aren’t finalized yet, but that’s the plan. And the fact that they spelled out the pricing in today’s blogger call was pretty cool to me.

The first feature upgrade is to take place in early October, and that should include Traveler support, and tools to help you convert users from on-prem to the cloud.

I think this is definitely a place that IBM HAS to be in order to compete with Google and Microsoft, and I think they’ve got a very good offering. Now we just need to see if the market agrees. Let’s hope so!