Google Tuesday set its sights on IBM, unveiling a tool to migrate Lotus Notes users to Google Apps and releasing a whitepaper laying out how to migrate Notes applications to Google's online infrastructure.
Google Apps Migration for Lotus Notes lets users migrate mail, calendar, and contacts from Lotus Notes to Google Apps. The tool is a native Notes application and is free with the GAPE (Google Apps Premier Edition) and the education and nonprofit versions of the Google Apps suite. Google is offering the migration tool as part of the trial version of GAPE so users can try it out.
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"By targeting the Domino base with a server-side migration utility, Google has clearly identified domino as vulnerable to seat share poaching," says Matt Cain, an analyst with Gartner.
IBM was quick to hit back with a response.
"The fact that they've got a migration tool is not materially significant. Migration tools are a very basic part of being in the e-mail/collaboration business," says Sean Poulley, vice president of IBM cloud collaboration. "IBM is very confident in the position and long-term competitiveness of the IBM Lotus portfolio. We have a long-standing reputation for security and reliability and are trusted by the majority of major businesses around the world. We are innovating in cloud computing as well. In fact, LotusLive beat Google Apps in a side-by-side comparison and won the Enterprise 2.0 Conference Editor's Choice Award for Cloud Computing June 22 in Boston."
The Google tool performs the migration completely from the server side so Notes users can continue to work while the migration is in progress. Once migrated, Gmail will open Notes links with the Notes client. The tool also includes monitor, management and logging tools to control the migration.
While the migration tool is fairly straightforward, Google is providing no more than a whitepaper to guide users through the migration of Notes applications.
Vendors like Casahl offer a range of software tools for converting Notes applications to other platforms. The conversion, especially of a sophisticated Notes application, can be a painstaking process that includes major rewriting.
"Application conversion will always be problematiTc," Cain says. "After any Domino shop migrates to another e-mail vendor, the applications live on for at least three more years. For complex Domino applications, there is no such thing as "conversion." Complex Domino applications require a complete rewrite to move to an alternative platform. It is indeed a stretch to think that Domino applications will be converted to Google App applications anytime soon."
Google says former Notes users JohnsonDiversey used Google Apps Migration for Lotus Notes to migrate 10,000 employees. Systems integrator CapGemini used it to migrate 30,000 employees at Valeo, a move that included a number of custom Web applications. The project also included OpenSSO to support single sign-on.