AS/400 ISVs Equally Dedicated to Domino

While IBM has made an earnest attempt to point out to the AS/400 community that the new AS/400e Dedicated Server for Domino is exclusively for Domino applications, this category of solutions covers much ground.

Calling this new box a "dedicated" server for Domino is perhaps misleading, particularly when one considers the abundance of Domino ISV software available, says Laurie McCabe, senior analyst with Summit Strategies, a Boston-based market strategy and consulting firm. "The server is actually dedicated for Domino and third-party Domino applications, and for that I think it's a great solution and has a great market," she says.

Of the customer segments IBM is targeting with the new Dedicated Server for Domino--specifically, customers new to Domino, customers counting on Domino's reliability, customers who run multiple Domino applications within a single server and customers who use Domino for distributed and/or remote workgroups--perhaps the most successful will be the segment that uses Domino as a business-critical messaging platform, according to McCabe. "In these instances, when Domino isn't working, the effect on productivity is severe," she says, adding, "It's not mission-critical in the sense that, if it goes down, no one knows what's happening with their transactions."

Those who use the AS/400e Dedicated Server for Domino as a multiple application server will likely represent a good size of the market, according to McCabe, who is quick to point out that IBM has not overexerted itself in positioning the new product. "IBM might also want to go to market in more of a high profile way with some of their business partners," she adds.

Mark Mendelson, director of channel sales for Binary Tree Inc., a New York-based Domino ISV, could not agree more. "The overall announcement is extremely good news because the performance of the box compared to the pricing that you would have had to pay for an AS/400 prior to the announcement is just a huge difference," he says.

The price/performance aspect of the new dedicated Domino server is the most important because it makes the AS/400 more accessible as a Domino server. As a result, the bulk of Binary Tree's focus will be on the dedicated server, according to Mendelson.

"Since Domino is platform-agnostic, when you develop a Domino application, you are somewhat insulated from the underlying operating system," Mendelson says. "Most Domino products that I know of run on all platforms. But there are some features that you need to address [for the individual platforms]. For e-business applications, for example, credit card processing may be different across platforms. They may use one credit card processing vendor on the AS/400 and a different product on NT."

Products that reside outside Domino but still interact with Domino applications are most affected. "The major benefit to us [as an e-commerce ISV] in having an affordable AS/400 Domino server is stability of the platform," Mendelson says. "When you put a Web store up, it needs to be up all the time. The AS/400 manages multiple Domino servers extremely well and in a very fault tolerant fashion."