IBM Domino Applications on Cloud: A rational approach

How to lower your Domino TCO while moving applications to the IBM Cloud: In one word – rationalize.

IBM Domino applications on cloud

According to IBM, you can expect a 20-60% lower TCO by moving IBM Domino applications to the IBM Cloud. If you take into account some additional benefits such as elastic scaling, reliability, and seamless updates, it is predictable that many companies will consider this option to be a smart move. In this article, we will describe how you can make it even smarter.

“Move your Domino applications to the IBM Cloud. Lower your total cost of ownership by 20-60%”


The appeal of the IBM’s offer lies in its simplicity. You don’t really need to redesign or modernize your apps at first. Your users can continue using the Notes client and all your classic Lotus Notes applications if you want. You can just keep working normally while taking advantage of the IBM Cloud.

With this, it may be too easy to fall into the “lift & shift” trap, that is, simply moving your entire application portfolio from your Domino servers to the IBM Cloud. IBM warns companies to sunset inactive applications instead of migrating them all to the cloud. But of course it’s up to each company to decide whether and how to do that.

The 20% rule for IBM Domino applications

An organization that has been using IBM Domino for years usually possesses a large application portfolio consisting of both active and inactive applications. The latter are normally being kept on Domino servers as read-only databases simply for occasional reference or compliance purposes.

The percentage of those databases that are read-only depends on the usage history developed in the particular Domino environment over the years and the proliferation of applications across the organization. From our experience only one out of five, or 20% of all NSF databases are active in an average organization.

Knowing this, it makes sense to take inventory of your applications and move only the active applications to the cloud and by doing so reduce your costs.

Let’s illustrate this with an example. IBM Domino Applications on Cloud is priced per application (NSF) instance: $22 per month for the Entry Edition and $38 per month for the Standard Edition.

With these rates, your total cost for 200 databases comes to approximately $90,000 per year. But if we assume that only 20% of the 200 databases are active, then you could spend as little as $12,000 per year by hosting only the active databases. Saved: $78,000 per year.

For 500 databases, the initial tally comes to $228,000 per year. But assuming again that you will only host about 20% of those databases, you can bring your annual hosting cost down to $47,000. Saved: $181,000 per year.

Clearly, your cloud TCO will greatly depend on your ability to rationalize your application portfolio. But what about the inactive databases? In our view, the data from inactive databases should be exported outside of IBM Notes and Domino and kept accessible for historical reference in open-standard formats (see IBM Notes Application Decommissioning).

You may ask: why not simply store NSFs or existing backups? The answer is Data Independence, which is an essential prerequisite for long-term archiving, compliance, and information governance.

An archiving tool that makes it possible

In order to rationalize their application landscape, our customers use Seascape for Notes, a cost-efficient solution to quickly export Notes data to open-standard formats, suitable for long-term archiving.

Seascape enables you to maintain access to Notes historical data without IBM Notes and Domino. All you need to access your data is a web browser or a PDF viewer—nothing else! Seascape provides high-fidelity rendering of Notes documents and views, retaining original layout, document hierarchies, links, attachments, and metadata.

Such an archiving tool helps you decommission all Domino servers, leaving only active applications and live databases to be migrated to the cloud. And the benefit of archiving your Notes applications is unquestionable—potentially saving you hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual hosting fees.

To sum up, migrating Domino applications to the cloud is a good move. But if you first take care of your historical data and jettison the unnecessary baggage, you can move to the cloud lightly. Let us help you make the first step.

Please send us your comments or questions, or download the Seascape for Notes trial.

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