A few things I learned in Munich

by Volker Weber

I want you to lower your expectations for cognitive in collaboration.

Speakers from IBM all joked about that they are getting paid to show slides with the word "cognitive". One of them made it very clear that there is a huge difference between Watson in Cancer Research & Treatment (dollars per question) and things like Watson Tone Analyzer (pennies per document). These things run under the same brand, but they are not alike.

IBM Connections is finally on the right path. Connections 6 is available from tomorrow, and it marks the end of the "run everything on Websphere and store social data in relational databases" craze. The future path doesn't have versions. Beginning this September, Connections will be going the continuous delivery path. Once a month it will get new features, then every two weeks, and in the end it may have new things every single day. It's a different stack, built with microservices on top of the Docker container technology. For now, nobody is rebuilding the Websphere stack. It's going to sit there as is, being augmented with new features and functions on Docker. And then, gradually it will fade into the background until you can switch it off. While Connections has some capabilties to integrate "in", the new parts will be all about integration "in" and "out". Everything is an API and you will be able to make use of these parts in your own applications. How does the old Websphere fade into the background? Imagine a new Profiles microservice. That assimilates all of the old profile information. It's like the Borg. The old Profiles application will become stale and then can go up the mountain and die.

This isn't some lofty project. It starts now with the new Orient Me component in Connections 6. And it will scale up dramatically as early as this September. When IBM talks about this future of Connections they call it Pink. I learned why it's called Pink but I must not tell you. I am also sure that I was told I must not tell you so that in fact I would do tell you, but I am not playing along. :-)

A couple of people came forward to tell me that their company is moving off of Notes & Domino. They did not like it, but I was able to tell them that the other side isn't as dark as they were made to believe. This is happening, everywhere. And much like Pink, it's a journey, not a destination.

A piece of advice: learn Docker. Install it today and start playing with it. You will need that conceptual understanding much like you needed to know about file systems, processes and virtualization. You may be running some orchestration software, but you need to understand the instruments in the orchestra.


I know companies who did the move off of Notes/Domino to the "dark side" a couple of years ago who bitterly regret that they did it.

Otto Foerg, 2017-03-30

@Otto, there is no “dark side”. There’s just different technology. Some is appropriate for the use-case at hand, some is not. We owe it to our clients to guide them down the best path.

(Hopefully IT will get to that point someday, rather than consisting of largely political and religious “wars”!)

Thanks for the write-up vowe!

Ben Poole, 2017-03-30

It's often IT, that is clinging to the old order of things. When they try to rebuild the same house with different building blocks they are bound to fail. Those who use a new blueprint are better off.

Volker Weber, 2017-03-30

@Ben: the term "dark" was not introduced by me into this discussion.

Otto Foerg, 2017-03-30

My first thought was "ah, IBM is throwing away another complete Tech stack once again as it did it many times ago and that's the dead of Connections and many Customers will be"very happy" to throw away their recently built up Websphere/DB2 know how".
But the more I am thinking and learning about the new architecture the more do I like it.
Too sad that it is not applied to "addons" in the Domino world like Traveler or IMSMO or the underlying DB Requirements for these addons. No customer does understand that he can use SQL Server for Traveler, but not for IMSMO.
Or rip HTTP from domino and use the same ndinx docker container as used for Pink.
It even might be an alternative for non strategic platforms - like AIX - where
new Functions that are not available natively for these platforms might be provided as docker containers.
But I am afraid that this will never happen...

Christian Henseler, 2017-03-30

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