Lotus eyes DMS with Notes, Web offerings

Lotus Development Corp. expects to beef up offerings on the Defense Message System and other contracts with a slew of products introduced last week, including a Microsoft Windows NT-friendly version of Notes.

Last week's announcements also covered Domino, the company's much anticipated World Wide Web server technology, and several new message transfer agents (MTAs).

Lotus plans to add the products to the General Services Administration schedule and to other contracts, including DMS, a Defense Department program that will provide secure messaging to 2 million users. Microsoft Corp. and Enterprise Solutions Ltd. are the other messaging vendors on DMS.

Notes Release 4.5, which will be shipped at the end of September, adds the following:

Single password log-in to both Windows NT and Notes networks.

Directory synchronization with Windows NT.

Windows NT event logging that allows Notes events to be logged and managed.

Support for Microsoft Systems Management Server, providing software distribution and update capabilities from a Windows NT server.

"Features such as the single log-in support have already proven their value with contracts such as the Defense Message System," said Michael Sheehan, director of Lotus' government sales and marketing. "In contrast, [Microsoft] Exchange offers single log-in support to only those NT users who choose not to use advanced messaging features like digital signatures and message encryption."

Meanwhile, Lotus' Domino interactive Web server technology allows users to publish a Notes database directly to the Web by automatically converting the documents into Hypertext Markup Language.

"Domino will enable federal Web developers to rapidly develop applications that provide forums for collaborations, extend the reach of legacy and [relational database systems] and streamline and automate daily business activities and workflow processes," Sheehan said.

Domino enables point and click creation of agents, formulas and forms, workflow automation, advanced scripting capabilities, drag-and-drop page management and hot linking. It also allows Web clients to be authenticated with a name and password managed in the Notes Directory Services. It supports Secure Sockets Layer and uses Notes replication to synchronize mirror sites and distributed intranets.

Lotus also said it is shipping Internet Simple Mail Transfer Protocol/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (SMTP/MIME) and cc:Mail MTAs. A third MTA for X.400-based systems should be available within 30 days and is scheduled to be added to DMS. Lotus said it will move to incorporate all new products into DMS.

MTAs transfer the message and provide a messaging backbone for Notes, cc:Mail, X.400 and SMTP networks and the Internet by extending native protocol and directory support to the Notes Release 4 server.

Sheehan said there are more than 45 messaging systems in the Defense Department and that the new MTAs will help integrate these disparate messaging environments.

"For Notes users, the MTA announcement is huge," said John Head, product manager at Artron Products, a Notes developer and Lotus business partner in Carroll Stream, Ill. "It allows us not to have a gateway to the Internet," which is not as robust, Head said.

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