The Pipeline

This Domino isn't for games

IBM has announced IBM Lotus Notes and Domino 7.0, a major upgrade for its flagship platform. New features include collaboration tools and enhancements that help administrators, developers and Lotus Notes users alike.

On the administration side, IBM is projecting that this release will be able to support as much as 50 percent more users per server, requiring as much as 25 percent less processing power for the same workload.

In addition, new automatic monitoring tools and the inclusion of Tivoli Analyzer technology can automatically alert administrators to potential performance issues before they happen.

Developers will appreciate the upgraded Lotus Domino 7 toolset that includes a new Web services design element that allows them to use the software as a Web services host.

The product also gives developers the option of using either traditional Notes Storage Facility storage features or IBM DB2 Universal Database as the foundation for both new and existing applications.

With this capability, developers can use open-standard Structured Query Language, if needed, and they can choose the technology that best fits their skills and needs.

Users will also notice changes that include new visual indicators that highlight high-priority messages and differentiate between group and individual e-mail.

New memory functions automatically save and return to open documents when a computer is shut down and restarted, and instant messaging -- including e-mail and calendar items -- has been expanded across the platform.

IBM Lotus Domino server software costs $1,145 per CPU, while IBM Lotus Notes software costs $101 per client. IBM Lotus Domino Web Access 7, IBM's Web-based messaging tool, is $70 per client.

The power of observation

When it comes to networks, there's a lot to observe. That's why Network Instruments developed its Observer line of products, the most recent of which is a major new release called Observer 11.

The core functions of Observer include network management, analysis and troubleshooting. New features in Version 11 include significant voice-over-IP enhancements, a time-based navigation utility, MultiHop Analysis for identifying transaction delays and a native 64-bit platform.

Like all Observer features, VoIP Expert is based on the Network Instruments Distributed Network Analysis architecture, which means VOIP analysis is available across multiple topologies such as local-area network, wide-area network, Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11a/b/g. These capabilities apply across the entire Observer product line for both local and remote segments.

New VoIP Expert features in this release include presenting aggregate statistics for overall VOIP traffic, call summary and quality storing. In addition, VoIP Expert now offers more than 20 per-call metrics, including call status, current jitter, call setup, duration, teardown and quality of service prioritization.

According to Douglas Smith, president and co-founder of Network Instruments, VOIP is hot. "Our customers are really starting to implement VOIP now. If you're a new company or your company is buying a new phone system, you're going to get VOIP whether you like it or not," he said.

If you combine Observer 11 with the company's GigaStor storage appliance, you can use the product's new navigation utility to search network data according to the time an event occurred.

For example, if you want to troubleshoot a problem that occurred on a particular morning, the utility can narrow the search down to that time frame. It also allows you to analyze capture histories as large as 8 terabytes down to nanosecond time intervals.

The GigaStor appliance can perform all of the data processing and analysis locally on the appliance, something most vendors don't offer.

This avoids having to transfer large amounts of data across the network, which can be an extremely slow process that takes one or more days.

"There's a real advantage in the way our architecture is set up, especially if you're using a distributed environment," Smith said.

Another new feature of Observer 11 is called MultiHop Analysis. It tracks conversations as it traverses across as many as 10 network segments, displaying areas of packet loss or delay.

This helps administrators pinpoint network bottlenecks and determine whether they are caused by the network or applications.

Observer 11 also makes a big processing leap. According to Network Instruments, the product is the first distributed, multitopology network analyzer available as a native 64-bit application.

Advantages include network analysis up to eight times faster than on 32-bit systems and capture buffers that can hold up to 128G of data. You can still use the product if you have a 32-bit operating system, however, because every license covers both.

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