LotusLive – Your account has been updated. Really?!

Update 3 March 2011: Apparently being vocal helps. I was contacted by the LotusLive Support Manager and my issue was quickly resolved. Apparently the renewal of our company subscription caused a change in my account that required a technician to fix it. I was assured that they would look into the support process and that IBM understands that their support didn’t live up to my expectations. Although I appreciate IBM reaching out to me and the help I got it still leaves an open question was what happens with support down the road.

Yesterday morning (my time) I received an e-mail informing me that my LotusLive account had been updated. I later found out that this e-mail had been sent to all employees in the company because our LotusLive subscription had been renewed for another year. Later I also found out that at least 5 employees has been affected like this and are experiencing the same cloud fail. Below is a copy of the e-mail from LotusLive.

Hi Mikkel Flindt Heisterberg,
Your user account with LotusLive was recently updated. The
account is associated with the following company :
IntraVision ApS.
The recent updates are reflected in the following
information. Please take a moment to review.
You are currently subscribed to:
eXpresso? | 1 user account(s) | Expires on Feb 28, 2012
Skype? | 1 user account(s) | Expires on Oct 29, 2011
LotusLive Engage | 100 user account(s) | Expires on Mar 11, 2011

Your role(s) for this user account:

Finally, if you have questions, e-mail us at support@lotuslive.com.
This e-mail was generated automatically. Do not reply.


The LotusLive Team

LotusLive offices are located at: 5 Technology Park Drive,
Westford, MA 01886, United States.

Without thinking more about it I deleted the e-mail and continued on my workday as I was headed to Lotusphere Comes To You in Århus that day to present. A bit later when I was in the train heading to Århus I found out that I was not unable to log into Sametime which was wierd as Bleedyellow.com Sametime worked as always. I tried to sign into LotusLive on the web which brought be to a EULA of some sort which I quickly accepted and then boom! No LotusLive for me! I was greeted with an error dialog informing me that I couldn’t access that page and a message saying: “If you have recently registered, you can access LotusLive shortly when we have finished processing your request. Try logging in again in a few moments to start using the services.”

Logging out and back in didn’t do anything for me. Waited 20 minutes but still nothing – bummer!! Major bummer as my presentation for LCTY was in LotusLive so not being able to access LotusLive put me on the spot – and not in a good way. My account had been rendered inoperable and I was unable to access LotusLive at all.

I fired of an e-mail to LotusLive support at 11.23am to have my account fixed. At 11.35am I received a confirmation e-mail back from LotusLive Support telling me that the e-mail had been received. Then I didn’t hear anything else from LotusLive Support until 8.09pm last night! Almost 9 hours later?! Of course I didn’t see that e-mail until this morning so now I have been unable to access LotusLive (web or Sametime) for more than 24 hours and still no help from LotusLive Support. What is worse is that the e-mail back from LotusLive Support simply asks me about the error dialog that I’m getting – WTF! I just logged into their system so shouldn’t they be able to find a log of what’s happening to my account based on username? That’s how it works in most other systems.

So what’s the lessons learned so far? For now I have found a new crucial factor when deciding on which out-sourcing/cloud partner to use – where is the support based. It’s quite clear from this experience that no support personnel is based in Europe. Or they are extremely understaffed.

So now I’m frustrated and we have a couple of employees not able to work in LotusLive (no “Connections” and no Sametime). Not a good day for cloud services from IBM. I will keep you updated as I continue to wait for LotusLive Support to come back to me.

Lotus Domino on Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Via my blog subscriptions I picked this wiki article on getting started with Lotus Domino for Amazon Web Services (IBM Lotus Domino 8.5.1 on Amazon Web Services: A getting started guide) and decided to look into it. The availability of Lotus Domino on AWS was announced at Lotusphere 2010 so this was a good opportunity to look into it.

The setup steps in the wiki article are easy to follow although the Lotus Domino image isn’t available in the Europe region “data center”. I had to choose US East or US West to be able to select the Lotus Domino AMI (read: “image”). For testing that isn’t an issue but for production you need to consider network latency to your server. If you have other existing AWS servers it may also be an issue as data transfer within the same region is free but isn’t among regional centers which can become costly for maintenance operations etc.

Besides that it looks slick and allows you to easily setup test servers based on templates. Also you only pay for servers as long as they are running so it might be a nice way to test big deployment scenarios. As mentioned earlier on this blog there are a lot of other IBM templates as well (for DB2, Tivoli, Websphere etc.).

Note that Amazon is not alone in this space. As you might have seen in the showcase at Lotusphere Group is also promoting their GroupLive platform as a service (PaaS) product. Some European companies might want to partner with a European company than with an American company.