A few weeks ago, an updated version of the Lotus Notes Traveler product was made available – if you are not aware of the Traveler product, its basically a free addon for the Lotus Domino server that allows mail, calendars, contacts etc to be synchronised in realtime for users of Apple iOS, Android, Nokia and Windows Mobile devices – and is an incredibly popular product given the explosion of employees wanting / needing to be more mobile.
The new version (v8.5.3 Upgrade Pack 1), introduces some key new features such as :-
- Web based administration
- Updated / New Android client experience
- Enhanced filters and security settings for devices
- Ability to have Notes DocLinks exposed as URL’s
Additionally, and I guess the BIG new feature is the support (finally) for native high availability (HA) – so the ability to have a cluster of Traveler servers and provide a level of resilience for mobile users.
To achieve this HA, Traveler no longer stores device synchronisation history in a local Derby database, instead it now makes use of a backend relational database such as Microsoft SQL Server or IBM DB2.
My experience of working with this new version of Traveler has been great — customers appreciate the flexibility it gives them to provide corporate mail etc to employees and have a level of security around this (via policies), and whilst this is not a full Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution – it certainly provides for the basics (remote wipe, device locks, app sync etc).
Some things that I’ve learned :-
- Whilst there are no published limits to the number of devices or the number of HA service pool members, there is a practical limit governed mainly by the database I/O … so I typically design for a HA service pool to manange upto 10,000 devices.
- Design for number of devices and not users … a user (if allowed) can have many devices.
- The Android v4 client experience – especially on Tablets is starting to shorten the gap with the Apple iPad … the use of the “One UI” is awesome.
- IBM Edge Server works really well for IP load balancing and reverse proxy
- Configuration of multiple LAN cards in servers and segmentation of traffic between service pool members, the database and Domino mail servers is critical
- It works and scales especially well on Linux (Red Hat or SUSE) – and of course avoids the cost of Windows server licences 😉
If you are using IBM Lotus Domino as your mail platform – and need to get mail, calendar, contacts and web enabled apps to your employees, Traveler is the only way to go !