Daniel Nashed 23 September 2016 11:49:52
There have been a lot of rumors and IBM is not very good in communicating road-maps since a couple of years.
I hope we will see a clear statement about future functionality soon.
There is already a public statement in the IBM blog that gives some answers and I have been at a couple of events where IBM explained part of the strategy.
Now that the current strategy is more clear and IBM decided to continue with Notes and Domino with incremental releases this support statement was needed.
This support statement has been discussed on some customers and partners draw some maybe not completely correct conclusions from the statement.
Here are some details and thoughts from my side.
I hope this draws some light into the current discussion. And I am looking forward to your comments.
In the last fixpacks and even in interims fixes IBM started to add functionality beside just shipping fixes. The security area is a good example.
We now have full TLS 1.2 support and since 9.0.1 FP7 we have state of the art port encryption -- see previous blog posting for details.
Also IBM shipped a Mac 64bit native client. All this shows that IBM is still investing in Notes and Domino on prem.
There are still many features and requirements that are pending -- like Java 8 support which is really something that should IBM have shipped earlier.
Also NIFNSF the ability to store view/folder index outside the NSF file for I/O optimization, reduced backup and larger database size is an important pending feature.
I saw some draft roadmap slides that IBM is hopefully releasing in public soon with some additional details.
Those features will be delivered via "Feature Packs" instead of "Fixpacks". Some details are not yet sorted out but we can expect 3 feature every year and templates changes are shipped separately in some way (there is no detailed information yet).
This is a smoother way to develop and deploy new functionality. But this also means that customers have to deploy those fixes incrementally.
Usually this is easier to bring into production instead of a major version -- at least on server side.
Having said that IBM clearly states that the Domino server is an important asset in the IBM portfolio and you can see that from the fact that IBM Verse on prem leverages Domino 9.0.1 as the foundation.
The Notes Client gets less and less attention. But it will be still supported and maintained in the Notes 9.0.1 code stream and we will also see some improvements here -- 64bit Mac client was a good example (no I don't think we need a W64 client nor that I think we would get it).
IBM sets the focus on Web clients like IBM Verse and the current strategy is "mobile first" for all their current and future offerings.
IMHO putting more money and energy into modern web and mobile applications is the right direction. A modern and more intuitive Web UI like IBM Verse makes a lot of sense not only for the younger work-force (Design Thinking plays an important role here).
In contrast to other companies IBM still also has an "on prem strategy" in addition to their Cloud first/Cognitive strategy.
The current extended support statement states that 8.5.3 will be still supported for another 2 years from now -- which gives customers another two years to migrate to 9.0.1.
9.0.1 is at least supported until September 2021. "At least" is an important detail here because that does not mean that this will be the maximum time 9.0.1 will be supported with Feature Packs.
(And we don't know yet if IBM does not decide to change the deployment model again and at some point ship a different Notes/Domino version like 9.0.2 or 10.0)
What is clear from other IBM statements now that IBM uses Feature Packs to deliver new functionality you have to be on maintenance to be entitled to download and use those "FPs" in future.
This is also not new. IBM did just not enforce for Notes/Domino and other collaboration software that you have to be on maintenance for fixpack entitlements.
But this is a change for Notes/Domino customers from the current way fixpacks are handled!