IBM XWork Server ... the cover’s blown, now ... what’s under the hood

Mat Newman  October 3 2011 16:23:45
I was pretty interested to hear more when the IBM XWork server was announced a month ago during AusLUG.  Today Ed Brill blew the covers off the IBM XWork server, and I note his comment "(and you can talk about this new server now, too)", so here it is.

What it IS:
  • A Lotus Domino 8.5.3 server.
  • Restricted to 4 individual "Applications" where each of those applications may comprise up to 4 separate databases.
  • Costs US$2000 per server (ie: No PVU Licensing! No CAL's!)
  • An additional licence can double the number of applications on the same server instance.

What it ISN'T:
  • Notice the Lotus and Domino missing from the name!


As Ed points out in his post:

"I said earlier that the IBM XWork Server is designed to grow the ISV market for Domino."  So before anyone starts shouting "Lotus is dead" (and I would be one of the first to stand on the roof-tops for that!) the IBM XWork server has one specific purpose in mind:
  • To allow an ISV to write an "Application" using .nsf based technology and deploy it within an organisation without having to sell the customer "Lotus" or "Domino".  

The phrase "It runs on an IBM server" will be utilised often and accurately to describe a solution running on this platform.

The icon is even identical to the IBM Lotus Domino application icon, except that it's BLUE instead of YELLOW.

Image:IBM XWork Server ... the cover’s blown, now ... what’s under the hood

And yes, if you look hard enough, you will find a Domino console in there somewhere!

Can it...?

I asked a lot of questions during my preview last week, and all of them were answered to my satisfaction.  What you have here is - for all intents - an "Enterprise" Domino Server, you can send and receive email from the IBM XWork server, you can even create a mail-in database record if your Application requires that functionality.  Be aware, a mail-in database IS included as one of the 4 databases that make up the 4-databases-per-application limits if you use a separate database for that purpose.  What you CAN'T do is host "Mail" on the IBM XWork server.

You can create a self-registration system on an IBM XWork server to host an unlimited number of external authenticated users.  You can even replicate an existing Domino directory to an IBM XWork server and configure it using Directory assistance to authenticate with your application for the purpose of interacting with external users.  IBM did, however, state that they did not expect an existing Domino shop to be the target market for IBM XWork server, instead suggesting that existing shops compare pricing for IBM Lotus Domino 'Utility Server' licensing.

An XWork application is allowed to talk to anything, yes ... ANYTHING (including a Domino database on another system if required).

IBM XWork server (I have a really hard time not putting the 's' on the end of that name!) is Administered via an IBM Domino Administrator client, or through a browser via Webadmin.nsf

You can even cluster IBM XWork servers, since - again - under the hood it's all Domino!  To create an XWork cluster, you simply purchase an additional IBM XWork server licence, do the Domino Seven-Click-To-Cluster steps, and you're away!

So it Replicates like Domino, Clusters like Domino, Routes like Domino, HTMLs and XPages like Domino - but it ain't Domino.

If you are an ISV and you have built a product based on .nsf technology, it just got a WHOLE lot easier to bundle and sell your solution.  It's the new IBM XWork server, and what's under the hood is all Yellow :-)

1Patrick Kwinten  10/03/2011 17:28:37  
IBM XWork Server ... the cover’s blown, now ... what’s under the hood

would be great if IBM provided xwork templates by default

e.g. a blog template that can easily host multiple sites or a wiki that can contain multiple wikis

but this would be a treat to other IBM products.

nevertheless this product may generate a new application development market !

2Christian Petters  10/03/2011 18:32:05  
IBM XWork Server ... the cover’s blown, now ... what’s under the hood

Matt, thanks for this post. It does answer most of the questions I have had as well. I presume the server integrates nicely into AD using LDAP and SPNEGO for SSO?

3Mat Newman

10/03/2011 20:55:11  IBM XWork Server ... the cover’s blown, now ... what’s under the hood

@1, Patrick: AFIK, The XWork server comes with all the standard templates. You would loose a license on them if used individually, since they are all technically 'applications', but that's a grey area. Will have to ask the powers that be. Great question though.

@2, Christian: Yes, you can configure the IBM XWork server however you need, and SPNEGO works the same here as it does on any other Domino server. There were no restrictions mentioned on the number of users and access either internal or external to your company, with one exception; Notes clients can only access the databases on an IBM XWork server as long as that client has a CAL.

Mat Newman IBM Champion

4Keith Brooks  10/04/2011 5:11:43  
IBM XWork Server ... the cover’s blown, now ... what’s under the hood

Update to the last answer, you do not need the CAL. Received an email update about it earlier that said:

"You do not need a Client Access License (CAL) when accessing from a desktop browser or mobile device. You may access an application running on an XWork Server from a Lotus Notes client provided you have purchased a Domino Enterprise Client Access License."

5Mat Newman

10/04/2011 8:46:34  To be really clear on this one...

It's pretty simple. IBM XWork Server allows an UNLIMITED number of Anonymous or Authenticated BROWSER/MOBILE users - WITHOUT individual CAL's. If you open a database on an XWork server using a Notes client, you MUST have a Notes CAL!

Mat Newman IBM Champion

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