Exchange Isn't Only Messaging Platform for Windows 2000

Many reports detail the intricate ways Exchange Server 2000 will use Windows 2000 to provide a robust messaging infrastructure. In the enterprise space, however, it's doubtful that organizations are tying themselves into the Windows-only world in which Microsoft Corp. (www.microsoft.com) would like them to live.

So what about the companies that enjoy the use of powerful messaging servers such as Domino Server from Lotus Development Corp. (www.lotus.com) and GroupWise from Novell Inc. (www.novell.com)?

Their moves depend on the level of tie-in that each organization wants its messaging infrastructure to have with Windows 2000. On the furthest end of the spectrum is GroupWise. "We'll be taking advantage [of Windows 2000] through eDirectory," says Terry Ulanch, GroupWise product manager at Novell.

Novell, with its own stake in the directory market with Novell Directory Services (NDS) eDirectory, won't be writing to Active Directory. Novell expects its large NDS customer base to continue using NDS to store user information.

The Lotus Domino team, on the other hand, is engineering a version of Domino that takes more advantage of the advanced features of the new Windows platform. Domino has had its own directory at the core since the 1.0 version, but many Lotus customers are asking to manage less directories, says Ed Brill, senior product marketing manager for Lotus Domino.

Currently, with Domino 5.0, users can perform either one-way or bi-directional synchronization between Domino and Windows NT. With Windows 2000, Lotus will continue the same support. The Domino team is also fleshing out ways to adopt the Kerberos security features in Windows 2000 since customers are asking for that.

Domino will use the Windows Installer API to make sure DLL files are placed correctly and support installation rollback. Lotus is working to get the next release of Domino certified for Windows 2000 by the time Windows 2000 ships.

Brill says the advantage of using Domino or GroupWise is that users are not tied to the Windows platform. "The first point is Domino is designed to be a cross-platform server product," Brill explains. "There's no core service that we're going to take out and adopt toward Windows 2000."

"Moving forward, it's up for [users] to decide," says Mark Levitt, research director for collaborative computing at International Data Corp. (IDC, www.idc.com). "They will have to decide whether they have to enable customers to move to Active Directory, synchronize with Active Directory, so they can administer with Active Directory."

Levitt says Lotus and Novell have tried to bridge the gap between Microsoft and its ability to leverage Exchange with Windows NT. They provided as much integration as they can because NT is the most important server and operating system for enterprise collaboration.

On the other hand, Levitt asserts that the threat/opportunity of the Active Directory tie-in has been around for several years. With the market share Novell's attained with NDS, Microsoft will still need to work with other directories to work inside enterprise organizations. "There should be seamless synchronization so you don't have multiple logons and points of administration," he says.