Why we shut down our Sametime servers

I have been getting shocked looks the last couple of weeks when I told customers that we shut down our Sametime servers as part of the move to our new offices. Why would we do such a thing? Well it’s not like we didn’t utilize Sametime heavily in our day to day work and it’s not like we haven’t touted the benefits of Sametime far and wide.

So why did we do this? Well it was a simple calculation of hours spent on maintaining our own environment vs. the benefits of having our own environment.

After installing Sametime 8.5.1 internally and getting it to run we realized that it didn’t make any sense for us, a 25 person company, to operate our own Sametime environment. A community server maybe but then what about meetings? (and yes we know about “Sametime classic”) It made sense from a training and test perspective but that’s about it and as we don’t mess with the production system for testing purposes we needed multiple systems. So it was actually an easy decision. So as of 3 weeks aro we drew a line in the sand and shut down all the Sametime related servers (all 5 of them).

Instead of running our own Sametime environment we’re now mixing it up by combining on-premise and in-cloud services by signing up for LotusLive Engage. We’ve registered all employees with our company account and we’re now using Sametime as part of LotusLive. As an added benefit we also get access to communities, activities and meetings as part of LotusLive and it’s great. We’re loving it.

Making the switch from on-premise to in-cloud hasn’t been without issues and questions that needed to be addressed. Some of what we’ve been discussing internally has been

  • what do we do now when there are no central groups for departments within the company?
  • what password do I use?
  • what does it mean to be part of a bigger infrastructure such as LotusLive?
  • what does it mean to be a network contact?
  • who can I contact on Sametime in LotusLive?
  • how do I control my visibility within the greater LotusLive network?

While some of these questions have easy answers some of them also highlight key weaknesses. For instance when moving from on-premise Sametime to in-cloud Sametime you loose public groups – there’s no way of adding all from Sales to my buddy list. You loose privacy controls in Sametime (who can see me online when). You loose the ability to see Sametime awareness in Lotus Notes applications as you’re known by your e-mail address in LotusLive and not your Notes qualified name.

Some of these points can be worked around and some can be addressed by training but some are more serious and needs to be addressed. The lack of awareness in Notes applications is severely limiting and frustrating – I hope something will be done about this. As to the groups thing I’m working with IBM and a Dutch business partner on addressing this using plugin technology.

Overall however we’re happy with the move and although there has been bumps along the way our server room is a lot quieter and we’re drawing fewer watts. As of now we’re one happy on-premise/in-cloud customer and we’re still chatting away in Sametime.

See it wasn’t as bad as one could have thought… 🙂

6 thoughts on “Why we shut down our Sametime servers”

  1. Mikkel, Good for you. While we have not dropped our ST boxes yet, we have been using the LL versions more and more.

    Bleedyellow is not a private site, so for business it is only used as a backup option.

    Greenhouse is better but same issues, plus QoS is unknown.

    I think some of the items you list are config issues.

    But yes, you lose certain "admin" benefits but as you point out having a few servers to provide for 25 people or so is not what most companies want.

    Now if they would just host the apps…..

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  2. You are also losing policy controls over your users (I know you know this is for readers) of what other features they can have or not have) when you make that switch.

    You basically become a chat user with a specified list of capabilities. They have not moved policy control to the granular level of each enterprise. They would need to build a new policy for each company that joins, write the interface and give control over.

    Plus the shared aspect adds another layer of complexity in security models with Sametime the core code does not support

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  3. Out of curiosity – how many customers use policies for anything else than restricting features to entry, standard or advanced? I see the need to policies when you have Sametime Gateway but besides that how much control do you really need – aren’t they mainly used to limit the size of files sent or configure content scanning which is hardly something the user sees.

    I would like to see us having control over the Sametime policies but I would much rather have privacy controls and the option to define groups.

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  4. I think more use the policies that we think, but not enough do overall. If that makes sense. The policy gets into not only what size files, but P2P and allowed extensions. Audio and video controls and more. I know I always teach policy management in any Sametime class/session

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