Lotus Offers a Safe Harbor for OV/400 Users

The original AS/400 e-mail and document management solution-OfficeVision/400 (OV/400)-may be nearing the end of its days. IBM's Lotus Development Corp., however, has mapped out a migration path that will bring OV/400 users into a Notes/Domino environment as painlessly as possible.

As part of a recently unveiled campaign called Super.move, Lotus will promote several mail migration products to move customers from their current messaging services, whether it's OV/400 or cc:mail, to Lotus Notes/Domino. "This solution offers OV/400 customers the ability to migrate to Lotus/Notes without losing valuable data," says Deni Wilson, senior product marketing manager of migration for Lotus. Migration assistance will be provided by Lotus' business partners and the Lotus Professional Services (LPS) group.

IBM announced in February that it was withdrawing support for OfficeVision/400, which provides capabilities ranging from e-mail to document libraries. The reason to discontinue support was simple. "We would have had two competing product lines," says Wilson, referring to Notes/Domino. The growing popularity of Notes/Domino also contributed to the decision, as the number of OV/400 customers steadily decreased from its peak of 100,000 users to its current state of 30,000 users.

"Some OfficeVision/400 customers weren't happy when we discontinued support," says Wilson. "But we're trying to make migration as easy as possible and ensure that data will move easily and cost-effectively to Notes/Domino." Despite discontinuing support, OV/400 customers do not have to change to Notes/Domino. They can continue to use OV/400 or switch to another product. "They don't have to move if they don't want to and they can choose a product other than Notes/Domino," explains Wilson. "However, we know we can migrate data in a usable form [to Notes/Domino] and that's something people should look at before choosing a product other than Notes/Domino."

There are a variety of options for OV/400 customers, ranging from migration to co-existence. Lotus has also trained more than 200 business partners worldwide to assist in the transformation to Lotus Notes. "We look at Notes/Domino as an upgrade. It has a low cost of ownership and has a lot more capabilities than OfficeVision," says Wilson.

The primary migration tool being offered as part of the campaign-OfficeVision to Lotus Notes Migration Tools for AS/400-enables customers to move their OV/400 users' mail, calendar and document management data into Lotus Notes. The tool also contains coexistence tools which allow users who've upgraded to a Notes environment to exchange mail with OV/400 users.

There are also coexistence options for the various components of OV/400. For instance: Lotus Calendar Connector for OfficeVision/400 (LCCOV) enables Lotus Notes and OV/400 users to exchange meeting notices, perform free time searches and view calendar details.

IBM's AnyMail SMTP MTA and Directory Synchronization provide e-mail and directory options. Directory Synchronization provides seamless mail and calendar addressing while SMTP MTA provides industry standard SMTP/MIME e-mail connectivity.

Some third-party tools are also being promoted as part of the campaign to provide integration between OV/400 and Notes/Domino applications. One such tool, BNDW for AS/400, enables access to OV/400 documents from a Notes client through AS/400-based shared folders. BNDW, developed by Typex (UK) Ltd. (Newcastle, England), maintains documents in AS/400 folders and subfolders, which are still available to OV/400 users in the traditional manner.

EverGreen/400, from Inventive Designers (San Diego), gives customers 5250 access to Notes/Domino. The built-in OV/400-like text editor and the ability to import or use RFTDCA and RFTAS400 documents during the creation of e-mail messages simplifies the use of EverGreen/400 for OfficeVision users.

The enterprise size and market will determine which direction OV/400 users decide to take, according to Wilson. "One customer has more than 50,000 users. With all that data it's impossible to move directly to Notes/Domino. So, the customer will coexist both products while they're migrating."