Vic Health dumps Lotus Notes

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Vic Health dumps Lotus Notes

12,000 users move to Office 365 over a year, but apps to hang around for ages.

Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has commenced a project to migrate from Lotus Notes to Office 365.

The move sounds the death knell for the one of the last and largest known hold-out enclaves of the once mighty and celebrated fax-era platform.

A post by Victorian DHHS CIO Steve Hodginkson revealed that the department started the move a few weeks ago, with around 400 users moved to the Microsoft platform already but another 12,000 plus waiting to migrate “over the next year.”

iTnews understands that Notes has been present at the Department since 1998 after it was adopted across much of the Victorian public service. That gives it three decades on the clock.

As is often the case, the DHHS implementation hosts both messaging and many bespoke applications. Hence Hodgkinson’s observation that the migration “is a complex undertaking.”

So complex, indeed, that the CIO said Notes-based applications “will be around for years to come, I suspect … we are just going to have to work our way through them over time to replace or retire them.”

Hodgkinson wrote that the project was jointly-planned by the Department, Microsoft and government tech services provider CenITex.

The Notes client and Domino server have not been state of the art for years, even including security howlers like allowing any Java applet to run in the email client until the year 2013.

IBM and HCL (which will take over development of Notes in future) recently outlined a roadmap for the product.

That plan included adding tablet computer support, adopting node.js to offer a more modern development environment and adding IBM’s “Verse” collaboration client that can be cloud-hosted and is light-years ahead of the Notes client.

Many of those features are present in a Beta of Notes 10 that is running now. IBM and HCL have also planned a version 11 in the year 2019.

The companies’ joint roadmap is called “#domino2025”, suggesting they’re in for the long haul.

The two have even suggested that Notes’ data represents the original NoSQL tool, an ultra-optimistic description of the peculiar databases underpinning the product.

IBM and HCL have hopes that their renovation efforts could see Notes rise again, or at least keep it alive in some accounts.

The DHHS migration suggests the latter scenario is not entirely fanciful, but iTnews has not heard of a greenfield site acquiring Notes for years.

Perhaps even decades. But then. who’s counting?

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